The Philippines was silenced Sunday after boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao was stunned by American challenger Timothy Bradley, losing his first bout in seven years.
From the chaotic slums to the swanky sports bars of Manila, Filipinos looked on in horror as Bradley ended Pacquiao’s 15-fight winning streak and seized his World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
Judge Jerry Roth scored the bout 115-113 for Pacquiao, while C.J. Ross and Duane Ford both saw it 115-113 for Bradley, even though it appeared Pacquiao hurt Bradley throughout the fight — particularly with his straight left hand.
Pacquiao fell to 54-4–2 with 38 wins inside the distance, suffering his first defeat since he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to Erik Morales in March 2005.
“We were robbed. Everybody saw that Bradley was hit more,” said Raphael Raboy, 37, a laborer who was among hundreds who watched a free live telecast of the bout in the suburban Marikina district.
Raboy and his friends left the area shoulders hunched while the partisan crowd was shocked into silence.
An American firefighter on holiday in Manila said he had counted out Bradley in the early rounds, but thought he regained his footing in the later rounds.
“Thank you Manny. Let me have your coldest drinks now to celebrate,” he said, after claiming his winnings from a bet at Manila’s Oarhouse pub.
President Benigno Aquino sought to console the public, stressing that Pacquiao remained a treasured sporting icon despite the loss.
“Manny remains our champion and the nation’s national fist,” Aquino spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in a statement.
“Despite losing his WBO welterweight belt against Timothy Bradley, our support for him has not wavered.’
Bradley improved to 29-0 with 12 wins inside the distance.
Left-hander Pacquiao has translated his sports fame into huge riches, a movie career and election to parliament.