Pacquiao receives outpouring of support after loss to Ugas

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2021 02:35 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2021 03:13 PM

Manny Pacquiao (right) fights Yordenis Ugas
Manny Pacquiao (right) fights Yordenis Ugas in a world welterweight championship bout at T-Mobile Arena. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

MANILA (UPDATE) - Boxer-politician Manny Pacquiao will always be the People's Champ despite his loss to Yordenis Ugas, Philippine officials said Sunday.

Pacquiao's defeat would "not diminish the honors he bestowed to our country and the joy he gave to our people," Malacañang said in a statement.

"Senator Pacquiao will forever be etched in the hearts of Filipinos as our People’s Champ. Mabuhay ka, Manny!" Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

"Public support to Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao's boxing career has always been unwavering, including his latest fight with Yordenis Ugas."

Pacquiao brought honor and world renown to the Philippines, said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

"Thank you, Manny; if called to testify in the Senate will do it face-to-face to make Mano to you by pressing your fist on my brow. The Philippine national hero. Jose Rizal was shot; you fired pretty good shots yourself. The score testifies to your fighting skill but Ugas's prime," he said.

Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan, a former colleague of Pacquiao in the Senate, also sent his support to the boxer.

"Nananatili ka pa ring tunay na kampeon sa puso ng bawat Pilipino. Mabuhay ka aming People’s Champion!" he said.

(You remain a true champion in the heart of every Filipino. Long live the People's Champion!)

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said Pacquiao was still his champion.

"He is still my champion! He made the Filipino proud!" he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said Pacquiao would always be the "champion we always love and admire."

"Manny Pacquiao is and will always be the People’s Champ who has brought unprecedented honor to our country. I don’t think there will be another boxer in the world who can equal his feat. At least not in 100 years. That, plus his big heart for the poor and the downtrodden," he said.

Senator Joel Villanueva echoed Lacson, saying the Filipino people remains proud of Pacquiao.

"Anuman ang tala ng scorecards, ikaw pa rin ang aming People’s Champ, @mannypacquiao 🙏 Mahal ka namin at proud pa rin kami sayo! Maraming maraming salamat lalu na sa karangalang iyong binigay sa ating Inang Bayan 🇵🇭 Mabuhay! 🥊👏🙏 #PambansangKamao #LabanPilipinas," he tweeted.

(Whatever the scorecards show, you're still our People's Champ @mannypacquiao. We love you and we're proud of you. Thank you very much for the honor you brought to our country.)

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Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he was proud of the Filipino boxer as his "kumpadre, as a colleague, as a Filipino."

"Sen. Manny Pacquiao may not have brought home this title, but he has once again proved himself a legendary fighter—the best athlete we have ever had, and the world has ever seen," he said.

"After decades of victories in the ring, he continues to improve and to challenge himself, and to fight with the same spirit and humility he had as a an amateur boxer... I am so proud of him, as his Salamat, Sen. Manny!"

The boxer-turned-senator had "fought a brave fight & he can hold his head up high anywhere," according to Senator Richard Gordon.

"He fought a 25 month layoff and vs a taller hungrier Ugas. He has already and truly earned the eternal respect of the world. We are ever proud of him," he said.

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel, meantime, lauded Pacquiao for a "gallant competitive world championship fight."

"Pinakita niya ang katapangan at kahusayan ng pusong Pilipino sa larangan ng sports na puwede din natin magamit sa ibang aspeto ng buhay. Siyempre congratulations din kay Ugas na ipinakita sa mundo na siya ay isang tunay at deserving na world champion sa kanyang weight division," he said.

(He showed courage and greatness of the Filipino heart in sports, which can also be applied in different aspects of life. Congratulations also to Ugas who showed the world that he is a true and deserving world champion in his weight division.)

"Salamat Manny sa 20+ years ng pagpapakilala sa galing ng Pilipinas at Pilipino sa buong mundo."

(Thank you Manny for 20 plus years of showing the greatness of the Philippines and the Filipino to the whole world.)

Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said "nobody can ever beat his record at least in our lifetime" despite Pacquiao's loss to Ugas.

"He is forever our legendary champion," said Dela Rosa.

Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz also paid tribute to the Filipino boxer. "Legend ka pa rin para sa amin, Senator Manny Pacquiao. Salamat po!" she wrote in her social media account.

Cuba's Ugás claimed the biggest victory of his boxing career on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), as he outpointed Pacquiao in their welterweight showdown at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Ugás, who took the fight on just 11 days' notice after Errol Spence Jr. had to withdraw due to an eye injury, made a successful defense of his WBA "super" welterweight title.

Scores were 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112 for the Cuban, who was by far the more accurate boxer in the bout. Ugás maximized his reach advantage, using his jab to great effect and repeatedly clobbering Pacquiao with right hands.