Manny Pacquiao’s arrival in the country on Nov. 21 was met not only with warm cheers from family, friends, and fans but with controversies relating to his recent match with Juan Manuel Marquez.
The actor-boxer nonetheless appeared cool when asked about having been displaced by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. from the top spot of the pound-for-pound rankings of ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo! Sports.
When asked the same question in a live interview on GMA News TV’s “News To Go,” Pacquiao said, “Alam mo… kung anong sabihin ng mga tao, kung anong ilabas… okay lang, paniniwala ng mga tao ‘yan.”
He nevertheless keeps hold of the number one pound-for-pound boxer title in The Ring magazine, which is regarded as the “bible of boxing.”
Pacquiao doesn’t harbor ill feelings toward those who are not convinced of his win against Marquez last Nov. 12 in Las Vegas. He, however, directed to the skeptics: “Magpakatotoo ka. Maging Pilipino ka.”
Prodded to elaborate on this statement, Pacquiao told “News To Go,” "Alam ko inggit lang ang naramdaman, hindi talaga ‘yung puso ng Pinoy at ng totoong Pinoy. Siguro may kasamang inggit at selos sa achievements ko pero okay lang, naintindihan natin ‘yan. At alisin natin ang crab mentality.”
Speculations abound that Pacquiao will have a fourth face-off with Marquez next year amid the relentless clamor for the former to finally fight Mayweather, Jr. The Sarangani congressman, however, was non-committal over what’s next for him in boxing.
“Matagal-tagal pa naman tayong lalaban ulit, mga May pa siguro so mahaba-habang pahinga pa. Focus muna ako sa pamilya ko at sa nalalapit na birthday ko at siyempre sa trabaho ko bilang congressman,” said he in another interview on GMA-7.
Retiring from boxing is still far from Pacquiao’s mind in spite of his mother Dionisia's constant pleas.
“Kaya pa naman,” he quipped.
“Siguro darating din ang panahon, maga-announce ako at ipapaalam ko sa buong sambayanan na ako’y magre-retiro na… Hindi tayo puwedeng magpakatanda dito sa boxing,” he added.
On a lighter note, Pacquiao is just happy to be back to the country and bond again with his four children.
“Dalawang buwan ko ring hindi nakikita [sila] at masaya rin ako sa mainit na pagtangap ng mga tao rito, mga media, mga taong nakaabang, salamat,” he said in the GMA-7 interview.
Pacquiao, who turns 33 next month, verbalized his birthday wish.
“Bigyan kami lagi ng malakas na katawan, ang aking pamilya, mga anak ko, asawa ko, at sa mama at papa ko at sa side ng asawa ko. Lahat kami ay bigyan ng masaganang buhay at malakas na katawan sa araw-araw at siyempre magpasalamat sa Panginoon,” he said.
Before resuming work in Congress on Tuesday, Pacquiao heard mass at Quiapo Church on Monday. He will also visit the Manila City Hall, as well as the Malacañang Palace in the afternoon of Nov. 21 to pay courtesy call to President Noynoy Aquino, reported the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).
By ROWENA JOY A. SANCHEZ