ABU DHABI // Filipino boxing fans in the capital told of their dismay yesterday after national hero Manny Pacquiao’s defeat.
More than 150 dejected supporters left the Philippine House Restaurant on Najda Street after Pacquiao was knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round.
“That’s boxing,” said Jake Leonador, 40, a mechanical engineer in Abu Dhabi. “Just one punch can make all the difference.
Pacquiao was down in the third round yesterday but knocked down Marquez in the fifth.
The Mexican welterweight sent him crashing to the canvas in the next round.
The boxers have fought three times previously, the last time 13 months ago in the same MGM Grand ring in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Marquez lost twice and drew once but claimed he was “robbed” of three wins by the judges’ verdict.
Yesterday’s fight was broadcast live from Las Vegas and began at 9.20am UAE time, but most fans gathered at the restaurant from 6am to watch the support bouts.
“It’s a sad day for all of us and it may be the end of Pacquiao’s boxing career,” said Rommel Reroma, 50, a technician at an oil field who has lived in Abu Dhabi for 18 years. “He was so desperate to win but didn’t anticipate Marquez’s punches.”
But Melchor Quiacao, 44, a technician at a manufacturing company, disagreed.
“Pacquiao is just 33 and still has a promising career ahead of him,” he said. “He’s a strong and aggressive fighter. He just got knocked out by Marquez’s lucky punch.”
“Of course we’re dismayed because we were expecting him to win,” said Melchor Lanaque, 53, a sterilisation technician at Zayed Military Hospital.
“But boxing is like gambling – you either win or lose. Filipinos will continue supporting Pacquiao, who is a great fighter. Let them have a rematch.”
Antonio Camacho, 50, a security officer in Abu Dhabi who previously worked in Dubai for 10 years, said Pacquiao was “over-confident”.
“I was expecting him to knock out Marquez in the fourth or fifth round,” he said.
“Whenever he wins, Pacquiao lifts boxing and the pride of Filipinos all over the world. Today, everyone is hurting.”
Jun Cabang, 50, a ship captain for 14 years, said Pacquiao had garnered many points in the previous rounds before being knocked out.
“But we can’t do anything about it now,” he said.
“Both were great fighters and a fifth match would finally settle the score.”