By Peter Blaza
An injured Manny Pacquiao arrived back in the Philippines to a hero’s welcome on Wednesday, the boxer still adamant he did enough to win his welterweight mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr at the start of the month.
The 36-year-old southpaw was wearing a sling on his right arm following shoulder surgery on a torn rotator cuff suffered prior to his unanimous points decision loss to the American in the heavily hyped fight in Las Vegas on May 2.
Pacquiao, a world champion in eight different weight classes and regarded as one of the sport’s great entertainers, was sued in a US court last week by two people who felt defrauded by his failure to disclose the pre-bout injury.
The Filipino, smiling for photographers, told reporters at Manila Airport his focus was not on boxing for now.
“I haven’t discussed with anyone about my next fight. My focus right now is my shoulder recovery and to make it 100 per cent okay, and my focus is on my congress work and family,” he said.
The Sarangani congressman was evasive when asked if he would seek a higher position in the government, possibly a veiled method of trying to discover if he was contemplating retirement from the sport to further political ambitions.
“I haven’t thought about it, but you know, God’s plan is higher than our plan. His thought is higher than our thought, so who can say?” he said.
Pacquiao, whose record slipped to 57-6-2 following the Mayweather defeat, was then taken on a motorcade through Manila, where thousands of fans lined the streets to greet their favourite sporting son.
His fans had taken the defeat against the defensively astute and unbeaten Mayweather (48-0) hard, demanding a rematch and suspecting foul play in the scoring.
For his part, the boxer remained steadfast in his opinion that he deserved the decision following 12 rounds of fairly insipid action.
“Even if I do not feel well after the third round, fourth round, if we look at it round by round, you’ll see that we didn’t lose. But like I said, we respect the decision of the judges,” Pacquiao said.
Mayweather initially appeared keen on the possibility of a rematch for a bout that networks HBO and Showtime said generated record pay-per-view revenues of $400 million in the United States.
But the American has since changed tack, accusing Pacquiao of being a sore loser and insisting there would be no second bout.
Pacquiao opted against getting into a verbal sparring match over Mayweather’s criticism.