Filipinos erupted in celebration on Sunday as Manny Pacquiao dealt American Chris Algieri his first-ever defeat.
Huge groups gathered before giant television screens in gymnasiums and community halls all over Metro Manila to cheer on the Filipino ring idol. Hundreds more followed the fight on pay per view.
Malacanang joined the nation in celebrating Pacquiao’s triumph.
“Strength, grit and courage were written all over his face and demeanor throughout the fight. With every punch that scored, millions of Filipinos cheered him to victory from all corners of the country and the world,” presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.
Coloma added that Pacquiao “embodies and personifies the Filipinos’ outstanding qualities—audacious, tenacious and conscientious—persevering in advancing a worthy cause, and unwavering even in the face of danger and adversity.”
“He is a worthy role model and wellspring of inspiration to all Filipinos who are striving to improve their well-being and attain a prosperous future,” he said.
Pacquiao’s colleagues in the House of Representatives congratulated him for retaining his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title against the American challenger.
Several lawmakers said they are still longing for the dream match between the Sarangani congressman and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“He is back!!” Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles exclaimed in a statement on Sunday. “The fire is back!! [Pacquiao] has shown to the world that if you put your heart and mind to it, you can accomplish anything! With this victory, Manny displayed the true spirit of the Filipino—our ability to get up and rise up after a fall. Manny is now ready for Mayweather!”
Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento took Pacquiao’s win as a clear sign that he remains a strong fighter, to which Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas agreed.
“The fight clearly refutes claims that Manny Pacquaio should now retire from boxing. He is still has a fist like steel and a speed like lightning. Once again, Manny gifted us with a very rare moment where our nation is united and free from partisanship,” Treñas said.
“I just wish that this time, Floyd Mayweather would finally agree to face him in the ring,” Sarmiento said.
Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe said Pacquiao “has given us a great honor. We’re looking forward to a fight with Mayweather. Win or lose.”
A military citation or a possible promotion to the next higher rank in the reserve force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) awaits Pacquiao when he returns from Macau.
The AFP Public Affairs Office chief, Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, and Army spokesman Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato on Sunday both hailed Pacquiao, who they said brought honor to the AFP and the entire country.
“We are very proud of his convincing victory against Algieri. He fought like a warrior and he has inspired soldiers to pursue excellence in the military service,” Cabunoc said.
Pacquiao is an Army reservist with a rank of lieutenant colonel.
He was promoted in 2011 after he defeated American boxer Shane Mosley and having met all the requirements for promotion.
Pacquiao entered the Army’s reserve force in April 27, 2006 as a sergeant and was promoted to technical sergeant eight months later.
On October 2007, he rose to master sergeant, the highest rank for an enlisted personnel, after he was named the pound-for-pound king of boxing.