President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday thanked Filipino boxing icon Senator Manny Pacquiao for giving the Philippines pride and honor after winning the WBA welterweight title via a technical knockout win over Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Daghang salamat (thank you so much), Manny! You are truly the People’s Champ!” Duterte said in a press statement.
With Duterte watching inside the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Pacquiao showed his old form in knocking down the Argentine brawler in the third and fifth rounds.
In the seventh round, Matthysse spit his mouth guard, prompting the referee to stop the fight to the delight of the crowd including the Filipino leader.
“I would like to congratulate Senator Manny Pacquiao for giving us pride and bringing the Filipino nation together once more,” Duterte said.
“You have proven time and again that you are not just a public servant, but one of the greatest boxers of all time,” he added.
The President said Pacquiao’s first stoppage win in nine years “will surely cement, yet again, your position and legacy in boxing’s Hall of Fame”.
“May you continue to inspire Filipinos not only in boxing but also in the public service,” Duterte said.
Malacañang also joined the entire Filipino nation in celebrating Pacquiao’s “tremendous” victory.
“We thank our Pambansang Kamao (national fist) for not only bringing honor and glory to our flag and country but once again uniting Filipinos here and abroad with his display of courage, tenacity and will power,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
It was the 60th win with 39 knockouts against nine defeats with two draws for the 39-year-old Pacquiao, whose last stoppage victory was against Miguel Cotto in 2009.
On the other hand, Matthysse dropped to 39-5 (35 KOs) and failed to defend the WBA belt he won last January against Thailand’s Tewa Kiram. PNA