Monday, 14 November 2011 11:10
GENERAL SANTOS CITY - A grand hero’s welcome awaits world-boxing champion Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao here and in Sarangani province anew, where he is the congressman, officials said after his fight with Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.
Sarangani Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez lauded Pacquiao for his performance in what he deemed as a close fight.
“Manny won a very close decision bringing pride once again to all Filipinos,” Dominguez said.
“Two great fighters proved themselves and [Pacquiao] prevailed,” the governor said.
It was the third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez, the first ending in a draw and the second the former won by a split decision.
As usual, the streets were largely deserted as people stayed in their homes while tricycle and jeepney drivers paused from their routine to watch the fight.
The fight beamed live over cable television was close, with some predicting a Marquez win.
But the judges gave the fight to Pacquiao, who retained his WBO welterweight championship belt.
Alfredo Hebrona Jr., regional governor for Southwestern Mindanao of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he considered Sunday's fight between Pacquiao and Marquez as more controversial that their first two fights.
“I was surprised that Marquez was more competitive at the higher weight. Maybe team Pacquiao failed to anticipate that,” he said.
Hebrona said “the judges may have given the fight to Pacquiao being a resident welterweight that to a transient visitor like Marquez.”
Dominguez pushed for another fight, hopefully to silence critics doubting the decision of the judges.
But for now, he said the Sarangani government will be preparing for a grand hero’s welcome for its congressman.
He said the hero's welcome is slated on Nov. 25, which is also the opening day of the province’s Munato Festival.
The festival celebrates the foundation anniversary of the Sarangani, which was carved out of South Cotabato in 1992.
Meanwhile, Avel Manansala, media liaison officer of the city mayor's office here, said a grand hero’s welcome would also be feted for Pacquiao, who owns mansions and several businesses in the locality, by the city government.
Manansala said they would arrange with the camp of the boxing champion the details of the grand welcome.
Pacquiao’s mother, Dionesia, failed to go to mass early in the morning at the Our Lady of Peace and Voyage Parish as had been her tradition every time his son fought.
Mrs. Pacquiao, who surprisingly did not give interviews prior to today’s fight, was reportedly advised by doctors to just stay at home due to an illness.
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