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Playful Punching: Manny Pacquiao Fans Riot, Exile Manny Pacq


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Published: Dec 29 2010 by: Rich Thomas (could of been wheelchair???)


May 27, 2016: Riots and other disturbances across the Philippines quieted following today's announcement by President-elect Manny Pacquiao that he had resigned his office and would depart the country. Pacquiao then promptly boarded a plane bound for Japan. Pacquiao's ultimate destination remains unknown.


A one-time boxing sensation and hero to many of his countrymen, Manny Pacquiao had enjoyed a stellar career until recently. Pacquiao's fame as an international sporting celebrity was cemented by a trio of victories between 2011 and 2013. First, Pacquiao challenged middleweight champion Sergio Martinez of Argentina, and survived a brutal clash that pitted Martinez's size, aggression and power against Pacquiao's speed and boxing ability. The result remains controversial to this day, with many pundits declaring it the worst robbery of the decade, but the record books show Pacquiao won a Split Decision victory and captured a ninth world title that night.


Next Pacquiao finally squared off with arch-rival Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in the infamous "Jail Bird" bout, held just a few weeks before Mayweather would be sentenced to a two-year prison term. Pacquiao won that fight by 10th Round TKO. Finally, Pacquiao met long-time foe Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico for the third time in 2013. Despite Marquez being six years older and just one month from his 40th birthday on fight night, Pacquiao was unable to decisively defeat his greatest opponent. Nonetheless, the judges gave him a Split Decision victory.


Following the win over Marquez, Manny Pacquiao announced his retirement from boxing and focused on a political career in his native Philippines. After a spirited campaign, the 38 year old Pacquiao won the Presidency earlier this month. During the interim between the election and the inauguration, Pacquiao gave CNN an exclusive, one-hour interview which was aired in its entirety in the Philippines. This interview proved to be the President-elect's downfall.


Manny Pacquiao, usually known as "Pacman" to his fans around the world, was surprisingly candid in the boxing portion of the interview, making several statements that his supporters at home found violently controversial. When asked about his toughest opponents, he instantly named Mexican Erik Morales, a former champion who was tragically kidnapped and murdered by Mexican drug gangsters in 2014. Pacquiao stated that he was "lucky to have fought [Morales] when he did," as Morales was on the downside of his career. While Pacquiao expressed supreme confidence he would have still triumphed in the latter two of their three encounters, according to the Filippino boxer "it would have been much harder." He then went on to praise former rival Juan Manuel Marquez, saying their second encounter "could have gone either way, and it was a blessing the judges gave the fight to me."


The reaction to these comments in the Philippines was widespread outrage, which quickly spilled out onto the streets in the form of rioting. "Morales and Marquez are worthless fighters," said one fan, "so how dare Manny praise them! He has no right!" Another emphatically declared Erik Morales's win and Marquez's draw over Pacquiao were both miscarriages of justice, that Pacquiao defeated both men easily in every encounter and any other result was a product of racist and biased American judging. "You Americans love your Mexican fighters, they are your neighbors" he spat. "The idea of a little man from the Philippines beating your Mexicans makes you sick, so you cheat."


The most disturbing of these angry fans was the so-called "Priest of Pacquiao," leader of a particularly fiery mob of rioters in Manila. Mixing religion and sports, he issued a manifesto saying that when Pacquiao was boxing "he was filled with the Holy Spirit." After retiring, Pacquiao became a vessel for the devil, so anything he has said or done since leaving the sport in 2013 should be treated as a work of the devil. "God would never acknowledge those Mexicans, and neither would Manny Pacquiao."



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