PHILIPPINE boxing hero Manny "The Pacman" Pacquiao rode on the crest of a first round knockdown en route to handing the much younger and formerly unbeaten American Keith Thurman of his first ever ring defeat on Saturday (Sunday PH time) at the MGM Grand.
But while the knockdown dealt by a two-punch combo that hit first on the chest before a looping right to the face was a "given advantage" in the judges' scorecards, some Kagay-anons believed that it was the Fighting Senator's jarring blow to the belly in 10th round that stalled Thurman's momentum and saved the 40-year-old Filipino fighter.
"Starting in the seventh round, si Thurman na ang ga-dictate sa away permi maigo ang dagway ni Manny. Kadtong tirada sa kilid sa lawas ubos sa ribs ang nakapausab balik sa momentum," said chess arbiter William "Turko" Reintegreado, who vouched an undying support for Pacman but would just love to analyze every boxing match he watched with a balanced insight.
"Medyo gikapoy gyod si Manny in the final half of their 12-round bout kay gakasabak na niya permi ang right straight ni Thurman. Pero aduna pa gihapon siyay katakos," added fellow chess player Cleto "Bong" Vasquez.
Other Kagay-anons, however, remained superstitious even without the corny stuff of dragging into the picture the "weird antics" of Aling Dionisia.
Or even that Manny still kneeled on a ring corner minus the usual "sign of the cross" that he used to do when he's still a Catholic faithful.
But the otherworldly guessings continue. And retired Capitol employee Doming Valledor is not an exception.
"Most of the fighters would have their trainer or cornerman let the duty of wrapping their fists with protective tapes before the fight. But Manny Pacquiao would always do it by himself. Mora'g naa gyod diha iyang agimat kay karon nga edaran na makasugakod gihapon," the now senior citizen Valledor told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
Whatever, the only eight-time division champion Pacquiao dominated the 30-year-old Thurman to wrest the WBA welter super belt before an adoring fans around the world.
Despite his clear domination, Pacquiao and the boxing world were seemed startled initially after Judge Glenn Feldman made it 114-113 in favor of Thurman. The remaining two judges Dave Moretti and Tim Cheatham, however, gave it 115-112 and 115-112 for Pacman's victory via split decision.
“But you know, I wanna clap my [hand for my] opponent here,” Pacquiao said. “He’s very tough. He’s very young. I can say he’s heavy-handed, man. Not like my other opponents," said Pacquiao, adding, ”You know I can still fight. I can give a good fight. I can entertain the fans."
The brash American, in return, was all praise for Pacman.
“Manny Pacquiao is a great great fighter. You get blessings and lessons. Tonight was a blessing and a lesson. Thank you, everybody, and thank you, Manny Pacquiao.”
Pacquiao reportedly earned $10 million from the fight, while Thurman got $2.5 million.
Obviously a decade younger, Thurman readily asked for a rematch.