‘Knockout like being hit with another typhoon’

Posted on December 10, 2012

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aJuan Manuel Marquez. from Mexico, (left) celebrates after knocking out Manny Pacquiao (right, face down) in the sixth round of their non-title fight Saturday night (Sunday noon Philippine time) at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. (AP Photo)

aJuan Manuel Marquez. from Mexico, (left) celebrates after knocking out Manny Pacquiao (right, face down) in the sixth round of their non-title fight Saturday night (Sunday noon Philippine time) at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. (AP Photo)

THE punch that knocked out Manny Pacquiao at 2:59 in the sixth round of his non-title bout with Juan Manuel Marquez also silenced a nation still reeling from the wrath of typhoon “Pablo” that claimed more than 600 lives last week.

In New Bataan township refugees, rescuers and aid workers took a break from a grueling search for bodies and survivors to watch the fight on a big TV screen — only to feel disappointed by their hero’s sixth-round knockout.

Town spokesman Marlon Esperanza said hundreds of villagers, most of whom lost their homes to mud- and rock-laden flash floods, packed the local gymnasium used as a temporary shelter.

Many had hoped Pacquiao would triumph and share his earnings with the typhoon victims. “People were really dismayed,” Esperanza told The Associated Press by telephone. “It was like they were hit by another typhoon.”

Elementary math teacher Constancio Olivar said people were cheering for Pacquiao in the sixth round, then fell into a silence for about 10 seconds when Marquez landed a shot flush to the jaw of Pacquiao, who fell heavily to the canvas and remained motionless for some time.

“It was like a double blow for me — this disaster and this defeat,” said Olivar.

His house was destroyed but he escaped with his wife, his youngest daughter and a grandchild.

“We were all crestfallen. Everyone fell silent, stunned. It was like we saw a tsunami.”

Sad movie

At the Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City, people strode out of cinemas with somber-looking faces as if coming out from a sad movie.

The crowd stayed for some 30 minutes after the momentous 6th round and heaved a sigh of relief on seeing Pacquiao regain consciousness.

Unable to accept defeat, they sat stoically while waiting for word from Pacquiao himself.

“What just happened?” said one, apparently trying to exact an answer from an older member of the audience.

Manny Dagala, a condominium security guard in Mandaluyong City, said “his heart stopped” on seeing Manny Pacquiao being knocked out by Marquez live on a 25-inch laptop at the lobby of a condominium building.

“I thought he was dead and I could feel my heart skipped,” Dagala told the small crowd who could not believe their hero had fallen.

A stunned Senator Francis Pangilinan said: “Masakit (It’s painful).”

In Manila, President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Pacquiao’s defeat “cannot set aside the many honors Manny has given to the Filipino people.” “Nothing has changed, the Filipino people continue to admire and support Manny,” he said.

Boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz said the defeat could demoralize Filipinos, particularly those in the typhoon-hit areas on the main southern island of Mindanao where Pacquiao is from.

“It’s a double tragedy,” he said. “People were looking at Pacquiao winning to give them some joy, some hope, some satisfaction. It didn’t happen. On top of that, their anguish is further heightened as a result of his loss. … This is like Pablo (international name Bopha) took a U-turn and came back to hit us with a Pacquiao knockout.”

Pacquiao’s mother, Aling Dionesia, echoed the belief of scores of Filipino fans as he blamed his son’s change of religion to his two straight losses.

“It’s okay we accepted this. I wasn’t nervous at the start, I accepted the loss. On my side, I want him not to abandon the sign of the cross. It’s what made him rich),” she said in Filipino./ Inquirer with reports from AP and ABS-CBN

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