BACOLOD City and Negros Occidental officials on Sunday celebrated the victory of senator and boxing champ Senator Manny Pacquiao in his bout against American boxer Keith Thurman at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia said that it was a clear victory.
“It was a no-contest. When Senator Manny knocked down Thurman in the first round, we knew what was going to happen next. How it was ruled a close split decision is beyond my comprehension,” he said.
He said that Manny has once again proven that he is a case of “may edad na pero may abilidad pa.”
He added Manny can now also claim the title as “the greatest 40-year old boxer.”
The mayor noted that it was also heartening that minutes before Manny climbed up the ring, the Team Pacquiao through his personal lawyer Tom Falgui from locker room, made a video call to him and they were able to exchange waves and fist signs.
“I was able therefore to wish him good luck despite being miles and miles away here in Manila,” Leonardia said.
Pacquiao was declared an adopted son of Bacolod City in 2006.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson for his part said that the win of 40-year-old Filipino champ Manny Pacquiao shows the resilience and fighting heart of every Filipino.
Lacson said Manny's win is also a win for everyone.
Both Lacson and Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer also extended their congratulations to the senator on behalf of the Negrense people.
Bacolod City Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said at the age of 40, Manny has still the power and speed.
“Very rare to find a boxer at the age of 40 who is still very quick. He deserves a lot of respect. My congratulations to him,” he said.
For his part, Councilor Israel Salanga said the Filipino People’s Champ, Senator Pacquiao, has once again brought pride and honor to the country by winning yet another historic and remarkable match against a worthy opponent, Thurman.
“While many of us have anticipated, expected and prayed for Senator Pacquiao, the fight turned out to be very close and exciting down the wire. Nonetheless, Pacquiao made us very proud as he always does whenever he is inside the boxing ring,” he said.
He added: “Senator Pacquiao still has what it takes to be called a “ world champion,” he got experience, strength, speed and power, but what makes me extremely proud as a fan, as a Filipino, is the show of sportsmanship, humility and faith that Pacquiao continues to exhibit above the ring. How he demonstrates his faith to God before and after his fight sends a strong message to all of us that we can do all things through God who strengthen us.”
Councilor Renecito Novero also said that again Pacquiao wowed the world and added glamour to the image of the Filipino nation. Congratulations!
On the part of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, whose roots came from Negros he said, "A Pacquiao fight smells of glory and country, not blood, not money. Senator Manny Pacquiao fought well and hard. Our Pambansang Kamao deserves every applause at the MGM Arena and around the world."
He also describes Pacquiao as a fighter's fighter.
"Boxers dream of fighting like him ever since his younger days in Mindanao. We are all familiar how he punched his way and collected belts under different weight divisions and boxing councils. Through victories and defeats, Manny became the boxing idol. All countries want to raise their own Pacquiaos," Zubiri added.
He said Manny has age-defying fighting spirit and wallops just as quick and powerful as his younger opponents.
"The boxing world has repeatedly acclaimed his skill. He hauled sportsman of the year titles again and again as his career went better and better. But the world saw it was not just his fists that brought him victories; it was intelligence, fairness and nobility.
Manny could fill boxing books with his distinct winning strategies and style. As his colleague in the Senate, I'm proud to say Senator Pacquiao also fills his legislative books well. Congratulations, Senator Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao," Zubiri added.
Meanwhile, about 15,000 people in Bacolod City also enjoyed the free live viewing of the match of Pacquiao and Thurman which was provided by the City Government in the eight venues in the city.
These were in the gymnasiums of Barangays Sum-ag, Handumanan, Mansilingan, and Villamonte. They also provided a live free viewing in Barangay Singcang-Airport Elementary School, Barangay Banago Elementary School, and Barangay Granada Fr. Gratian Murray Elementary School.