Army may still extend military honors to Pacquiao
Lim willing to hold motorcade
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army may still extend military honors to Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, even though he lost to American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. in their welterweight title clash last Saturday in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao lost for the first time in seven years when Bradley was awarded a highly controversial split decision victory, with scores of 115-113, 113-115, and 113-115.
“He is still deserving,” said Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc of Pacquiao, who is a reserve Army lieutenant colonel.
The military honor usually comes in the form of a testimonial parade and review.
Cabunoc added that giving military honors to Pacquiao will be the done upon the recommendation of the Army Reserve Command, the boxer’s mother unit.
“We are leaving it up to the Army Reserve Command. Whatever will be their recommendation, we’ll do it,” Cabunoc said.
“Nothing is definite yet, because according to the Army chief (Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista), we’ll base it on the recommendation of the Army Reserve Command,” he added.
For Cabunoc and the men of the Army, Pacquiao was the rightful winner of the bout, even if the scorecards said otherwise.
“He is our champion. You all saw who was beaten in that fight,” Cabunoc said.
Cabunoc hopes that the loss will motivate Pacquiao for his next bout, which will likely be a rematch with Bradley this November.
“We are looking forward to the rematch because (Pacquiao) himself said that he will be a better warrior, so the soldiers will be waiting for it,” he said.
“We expect Bradley will be knocked out,” Cabunoc added.
According to Cabunoc, Lt. Gen. Bautista is congratulating Pacquiao, especially for his “humility.”
“We recognize him for what he did. He remains the champion to all soldiers,” Cabunoc said.
The men of the army echo the sentiment of a great majority of boxing writers and fight fans, who criticized the decision favoring Bradley as a disgrace to the sport.
“Our idol lost, but the soldiers respect the decision. We are saddened. We all saw that Bradley was beaten,” he said. “But we still respect the decision of the judges.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Alfredo Lim said Monday that he is willing to hold a motorcade for Pacquiao in Manila if the boxer’s schedule permits it.
Lim said the motorcade is meant to show the people of Manila’s continued support for Pacquiao in the face of his “questionable” loss to Bradley.
Lim has already instructed Ric de Guzman, his chief of staff and media bureau chief, and retired Col. Carlos Baltazar, chief of the deparment of public services, to put up congratulatory streamers for Pacquiao in strategic areas of the city.
According to de Guzman, the streamers will read: “Congratulations, Manny Pacquiao – The Real Winner.”
Lim had slammed the judges’ decision as “highway robbery,” after watching the fight with other Pacquiao fans at the San Andres Sports Complex.