MANILA, Philippines — Their hometown hero may be nursing his wounds, but Manny Pacquiao fans in the Philippines are already calling for a rematch.
“We are not satisfied,” said Gel Bucani, 19, a Manila shopkeeper. “Rematch!” she added.
“For all of us Filipinos it’s disappointing. He did everything, but nothing happened,” said Mike Camenza, 23, who insisted he was still proud of the Philippines’ most famous son.
Love for the “Pacman” runs deep here, even after his loss to American Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.
Pacqiuao is a huge star in his home country, where his rags-to-riches story connects to locals.
He is not just a boxer, but also a congressman, singer, basketball coach and owner of everything from a bottled water brand to a shopping mall.
Millions in the Philippines watched the fight, which was broadcast on all major television networks, shown in stadiums and parks, and even in movie theaters. Even a heat index of upwards of 40 degrees in some parts of the country wasn’t enough keep the fans away.
Some 10,000 gathered for a free screening in a basketball stadium in the Manila neighborhood of San Andres.
The crowd responded boisterously when Pacquiao entered the ring to a self-recorded song, entitled “I will fight for the Filipinos.” They cheered every time Pacquiao landed a punch and rarely missed an opportunity to boo his opponent, at times breaking out into chants of “Manny, Manny.”
Celebrity attendees at the match in Las Vegas — including Mark Wahlberg and Michael Jordan — were also popular with the crowd, though they didn’t have much time for Justin Bieber, who had thrown his support behind Mayweather.
Near disaster struck for the San Andres viewers in the 8th round, when the local satellite feed cut out and the big screen at the end of the stadium broadcast the message “no signal.” Some frustrated fans started to leave the stadium, before the signal was restored to a reception of joyous shouts in the 10th round.
“It was just a technical problem,” explained Sally Ramillo, duty officer of the San Andres Sports Complex.
After twelve rounds without a knockout, fans held out hope that the judges would rule in Pacquiao’s favor, but it was not to be.
Disappointed after the unanimous points decision in favor of Mayweather, they quickly shuffled out of the stadium.
Less than two hours later, fans on the street were not eager to talk about the blow to their idol. But they were sure of one thing: they definitely want a rematch.