MANILA, Philippines – Now more than ever, Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao deserves a hero’s welcome when he returns to the Philippines after showing remarkable grace and class in defeat, according to boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz.
Pacquiao was sensationally knocked out by his greatest rival, Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico, in the sixth round of their fourth encounter last Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
But Pacquiao readily accepted his defeat and congratulated Marquez, whom he has drawn once and defeated twice in previous bouts.
“Ganoon talaga,” Pacquiao said in an interview on Umagang Kay Ganda Monday. “Pwede ka bang pumunta sa isang larangan ng paligsahan na walang natatalo? Dumadating ang panahon na natatalo ka.”
“Pag dumating ang panahon na natalo ka, buong puso mong tanggapin, dahil pinasaok mo ang trabaho na yan,” he added.
On ANC’s Headstart, Nathanielsz commended Pacquiao for his display of class and said Filipinos should honor the former pound-for-pound king even more.
“He has done so much for our country, and he is such a humble person even in defeat. He’s got class... he’s decent, he has integrity,” Nathanielsz said.
“I think... I would want to see our people give him a hero’s welcome even more now,” he added.
“Sometimes, when you lose, you are the victor.”
Despite the loss, Nathanielsz does not believe it is time for Pacquiao to retire from boxing.
“What he should do, in my humble opinion, is fight (Timothy) Bradley. He needs an easier fight,” he said, pointing out that Pacquiao can also avenge his unpopular split decision loss to Bradley.
“If he does impressively against Bradley, then fight Marquez. Then after that, for Jesus Christ’s sake, quit.”
But Nathanielsz said that if Pacquiao loses to Bradley, then the Filipino icon should hang up his gloves.
“You don’t wanna see anything happen to him,” he said.
Pacquiao plans to fight on and has made no mention of retirement. He said he will some time off to rest and will be back in the Philippines on Wednesday.