MANILA – Well-wishers and family members gave Manny Pacquiao a warm welcome when he arrived in Manila Friday morning. Pacquiao, in turn, shared his victory with them, saying that he did not single-handedly make boxing history when he won his seventh world title in seven different weight divisions.
“Sa tagumpay ko, hindi lamang sa sarili ko, kundi proud ako na tayong mga Pilipino nakagawa ng record,” he said in a speech during his Thanksgiving Mass at Quiapo Church.
“Tayong lahat, hindi ko sinosolo, kundi lagi nating pasalamatan ang Panginoon at tayong mga Pilipino ang napiling makagawa ng history sa boxing,” he added.
Pacquiao achieved such feat after defeating Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto via technical knockout in Round 12 on Sunday (Saturday in Las Vegas).
He went on to say that he found success in boxing because of God. He said he has always trusted and believed in God.
“Sa kanyang kalooban, isinusuko ko ang fight na ito at alam ko naman at sabi ng Panginooon, sabi sa ating lahat na hindi tayo mabibigo 'pag tayo ay nananalig sa kanya,” he said.
He added: “At nakita niyo gusto ko lang i-example sa lahat na kung makita niyo hindi ako nabigo kay [Oscar] de la Hoya, napakalaki. Sino mag-akala na matatalo ko si de la Hoya? Napakatangkad, malaki. Kay [Ricky] Hatton, puro malalaki. Kay Cotto, last fight ko, pero lahat nagulat na ako maliit tinalo ko silang lahat. Why? Because I believe [in] God, I believe [in] the power of God, 100%.”
Pacquiao said he always has a huge smile on his face minutes before his fights because he believes God will not fail him.
“Kaya ako naka-smile lang ako. Kung matalo ako, okay lang basta ako nagtiwala sa kapangyarihan ng Panginoon,” he added.
He also mentioned that he wanted his supporters to idolize his religiosity more than his excellence as a boxer. “Gusto ko idolohin na lahat ang pagiging madasalin at pagtitiwala ko sa Panginoon kung gaano siya kabait, kung gaano siya talaga masusubukan. Gusto kong maipadama sa lahat ng mga tao na because of God kaya ako nag-succeed sa mga laban ko.”
Pacquiao also cited how the power of prayers helped him get through tough fights.
“Alam ko lahat ng Pilipino nagdarasal so malakas din ang loob ko dahil maraming nagdadasal sa akin lalong-lalo na sa pamilya ko, mama ko, at kayong lahat. So malakas talaga loob ko, ako, nagdadasal ako tapos plus milyong-milyong Pilipinong nagdarasal sa akin so bakit pa ako mag-alinlangan? Bakit pa ako mangamba? Bakit pa ako matakot nandiyan ang Panginoon sa atin?”
Retirement not in mind
The pound-for-pound king arrived from Los Angeles, California around 5:30 a.m. onboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 103 with wife, Jinkee and his mother, Dionisia.
He happily greeted his children, supporters and the media at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2. He immediately hugged and kissed his three children, Jimuel, Michael and Princess. His youngest child, Queen Elizabeth, was not there.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng sumuporta ant nagdasal sa nakaraan laban ko,” he addressed his fans during the short press conference at the airport.
He also answered questions regarding his plan to retire from boxing: “Wala pa naman. Siguro sa ngayon ay bakasyon muna, pahinga, ang makasama ko ang pamilya, okay… malaking bagay na.”
“At saka mag-relax muna kasi pagaling muna sa tenga kong namaga,” he added. He suffered a right ear injury after receiving blows from Cotto. There was a blood clot in his ear.
He also responded to his mother Dionisia’s call for him to retire: “Pinag-isipan ko, di nag-isip din ako kasi magulang ko ‘yan. Nirerespeto ko ang magulang ko siyempre lahat tayo ginagalang natin ang mga magulang natin.”
The newly-crowned World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion said his team is still studying the prospect of clashing against former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, Jr. of the United States.
Asked if he is ready to face Mayweather, Pacquiao said he is willing to fight the American.
He added in jest: “Kailangan siya din ang maghamon dahil siyempre, kailangan siya ang maghamon kasi mas mataas naman ang pay-per-view ko sa kanya kaysa as laban niya.”
Outside the ring
Meanwhile, Pacquiao said he is in no rush to file his certificate of candidacy (CoC) for the 2010 elections.
He has made known his desire to run for a congressional seat in Sarangani province. He is also being considered by the administration's Lakas-Kampi-CMD in its senatorial ticket.
The period of filing of CoCs at the Commission on Elections is from November 20 to December 1.
The press conference at NAIA was brief but media members did not forget to tease Pacquiao and Jinkee amid rumors linking the Filipino boxing sensation to young actress Krista Ranillo.
Pacquiao was even teased by the media to kiss Jinkee, and the couple obliged.
From the airport, Pacquiao went to the New World Renaissance Hotel to rest and have breakfast. He then heard Mass at Quiapo church.
He proceeded to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Quezon City where his motorcade kicked off.
From the DENR office, the motorcade passed through Quezon Avenue, España, Pritil, Moriones, Roxas Boulevard, Pedro Gil, Taft Avenue, Buendia, Ayala Avenue, and Makati Avenue. The motorcade will end at the PAG-IBIG Building.
DENR Secretary Lito Atienza revealed that Pacquiao requested for a shorter motorcade route so that he will have more time to rest because he has not fully recovered from his right ear injury.
Unlike his past homecomings, Pacquiao will not go to Malacañang but will instead head to the Quirino Grandstand for the “Parangal Kay Manny Pacquiao sa Luneta.”
The event will be highlighted by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s conferment of the Order of Sikatuna with the Rank of Datu (Katangiang Ginto) on Pacquiao for having won an unprecedented seventh title in seven weight divisions.
Arroyo has designated Philippine Sports Commission chairman Harry Angping as head of the official ceremonies. The event is organized by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metro Manila Development Authority, and the Office of the President