- (Photo: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)
Manny Pacquiao, 34, has dedicated his unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios to his troubled country of the Philippines, which is still recovering from the devastating typhoon that hit recently.
Pacquiao, the eight-division world champion who is also a Filipino politician, spoke about the importance of him winning the first fight that he has had in almost a year after his native country was ravaged by a typhoon earlier this month.
"This is not about my comeback," Pacquiao said after winning the bout. "My victory is a symbol of my people's comeback from a natural disaster and a natural tragedy."
Still, after losing consecutive fights and suffering from a knockout defeat at the hands of longtime opponent Juan Manuel Marquez last December, it seemed Pacquiao had something to prove.
"Recovering from the knockout and giving a good show was what I wanted to prove to myself and everyone," Pacquiao said after the fight.
Rios seemed to think he could make Pacquiao want to retire with another loss on the Filipino's record. However, the Christian pugilist maintained his faith through the trash talk and doubters.
"He's not greater than God," Pacquiao insisted in a Reuters report before the fight. "Only God can tell me to retire."
Before Pacquiao's loss to Marquez last December, he came off of a controversial loss to Timothy Bradley in June 2012 in which the judges shocked the boxing world by ruling that Bradley had won despite widespread belief among fans and pundits that Pacquiao was the clear winner. However, the Filipino pugilist believes he needed his nearly year long rest to succeed.
"It's good for me to have a rest like this," he told Reuters before the fight on Saturday night. "I feel like I'm hungry to fight again in the ring. I feel like when I was starting boxing."
Before his fight, the Christian fighter named Pacman, spoke about how important it was to make his country happy by winning this bout.
"I am more motivated for this fight, to win this fight because what happened in the Philippines," he told Reuters. "My countrymen, I want to make them happy. To bring honor to my country."