Manny Pacquiao had millions of fellow Filipinos rooting for him, as always, over the weekend as he recorded his first victory in two years and also lifted their spirits after another natural disaster recently hit huge swathes of the Philippines.
He certainly lifted spirits among Filipinos in the Cayman Islands who packed bars and restaurants to watch their hero regain some pride.
Easily outpointing Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios over 12 rounds in Macau, China, there was no question of an upset from the first bell, so comprehensive was Pacquiao’s dominance.
Rios and others in his camp had mocked Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach for suffering from Parkinson’s disease, so this was an appropriate way for the eight-division champion to get some payback.
Pacquiao dedicated the victory to the thousands who died and millions affected by the recent super typhoon Haiyan, which he admitted had distracted his preparations for this crucial fight. Having lost his previous two bouts, retirement would have been an inevitability for Pacman, who turns 35 next week and juggles his boxing career with commitments as a congressman in Sarangani.
Although speculation is that a bout with Mayweather could still happen, it is unlikely. Despite Pacquiao agreeing to all Money’s drug and blood-testing requests, Mayweather has a personal grudge against Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, who heads Top Rank Promotions.
A fifth contest with Juan Manuel Marquez could happen because Pacquiao wants to redeem himself after the stunning knockout defeat to the Mexican a year ago.
Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov, who was ringside, are other options. Pacquaio was a controversial points loser to American Bradley in his other defeat last year.
Provodnikov fights in a similar style to Ríos and shares trainer Roach with Pacquiao. Although they are good friends, Roach said that if Provodnikov was offered around $10 million to fight Pacquiao, he has a pretty good hunch the Russian would accept.