Philippines rejoices at Pacquiao's victory over De La Hoya
The Philippines on Sunday hailed the stunning victory of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao over Oscar De La Hoya, who gave up after the eighth round for their "Dream Match", dpa reported
Filipinos watching the fight all over the country erupted in celebration De La Hoya's corner threw in the towel before the start of the ninth round.
De La Hoya's left eye was closed shut after the eighth round, prompting the ring doctor, referee and his cornermen to decide that he had enough.
"You're still my idol," Pacquiao told De La Hoya after the fight in Las Vegas.
"No, you're my idol," De La Hoya said.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called Pacquiao to congratulate him immediately after the fight, according to deputy spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo.
"The president and the Filipino people would like to extend our profound congratulations to Manny Pacquiao," she said. "His boxing fit is testament to the spirit of the Filipino, our resiliency and strength to ace the challenges that come our way."
Press secretary Jesus Dureza added that while Pacquiao was the underdog in pre-match analysis, the local boxing icon showed "true Filipino grit and grace" in his triumph over De La Hoya.
"Manny indeed is making boxing history," he added. "We are all truly proud of him."
Cinemas and restaurants showing the fight live were packed with boxing fans despite the steep entrance fees, while thousands more jammed sports complexes and public gyms for free showings.
Even the military's main headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo showed the fight for free.
The streets of Manila were clear of traffic as most Filipinos were watching the fight, and police reported a decline in crime during the hours of the fight.
In Pacquiao's home city of General Santos in the southern Philippines, his mother led thousands in cheering for the boxing icon.
"I thank the Lord for he has been very kind to me and my son," Dionesia Pacquiao said. "I thank everyone who prayed for my son. Thank you all."