MANILA, Philippines – Senator Manny Pacquiao completed his triumphant ring return with a 7th round technical knockout of Argentinian foe Lucas Matthysse at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, July 15, and basked as well to the adulation of the Filipino nation.
Minutes after veteran referee Kenny Bayless waved off the fight due to Pacquiao’s 3rd knockdown of Matthysse, the newly crowned WBA regular welterweight champion wasted no time giving thanks to all of his supporters, most notably President Rodrigo Duterte, who took the time to watch the fight live in Kuala Lumpur.
“Thank God for this victory,” he said. “This is all dedicated to God and to all the Filipino people all over the country. And thank you to our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for watching this fight.”
He then thanked his team, MP Promotions, for training him towards the TKO win – his first non-decision win since 2009 and first win without longtime legendary trainer Freddie Roach.
“My team, we did a good job in training,” he said. “We were not pushing [too] hard. We controlled ourselves for the training. Thank you to my team for working hard for this fight.”
The 39-year-old senator was, however, mum on his future plans and possibly his next opponent. Prior to the fight, there were discussions of Pacquiao retiring for good if ever he lost to Matthysse.
“Well, that’s another story and another discussion,” he said. “Right now, I’m happy to go back to my country and celebrate the victory with my fellow countrymen and of course, [do] my job as a public servant. We’ll plan for [the future]. We’re not decided yet. Right now, my focus is to go back to my country and relax.”
“Mga Pilipino, maraming, maraming salamat lalung-lalo na sa mahal na pangulo,” he continued over rousing “Duterte” chants by the packed Filipino crowd. “We have a good President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Thank you, Mr. President for being our president.” (Thank you very much to the Filipino people especially our beloved president.)
The in-ring interview concluded with Pacquiao also giving thanks to the Malaysian government as Duterte gave him two thumbs up.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KO) officially broke a 9-year KO drought, the last coming against Miguel Cotto. Since then, he has fought 13 more times, going 9-4 in that stretch. Prior to the Matthysse bout, Pacquiao lost a highly controversial fight via unanimous decision against Jeff Horn in his home country Australia. – Rappler.com
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