Fight Fallout Won’t Hurt Pacquiao’s Legacy, Say Fil-Am Journalists

Fight Fallout Won’t Hurt Pacquiao’s Legacy, Say Fil-Am Journalists

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Photo by Wendell Rupert Alinea

SAN FRANCISCO – Filipino media are reporting that the legacy of Manny Pacquiao is untainted by his loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in their mega fight in Las Vegas. But some wonder whether the scandal over his injury could be a different story.

Since the May 2 fight, Pacquiao has been dogged with controversy over claims that a shoulder injury hampered him during the bout. In a press conference immediately after the fight, Pacquiao admitted that he had a torn rotator cuff, but claimed he was not allowed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to take an anti-inflammatory shot even when he had asked for it. In a report on that press conference by GMA News Online, the Filipino boxer stated that he didn't want to complain and that "it was part of the game." 

Tale of the Fight

Floyd Mayweather, Jr.:
Record: 48-0
Total Punches Landed: 148 (34%)
Est. Total Earnings: $250-275 million

Manny Pacquiao:
Record: 57-6-2
Total Punches Landed: 81 (19%)
Est. Total Earnings: $170-$190 million

Belts at Stake:
WBC World welterweight title
WBA Super World welterweight title
WBO World welterweight title

Total Fight Revenue:
Estimated $400-500 million

Price Range of Tickets:
$1,500 to $125,000

Estimated Total Pay-Per-View Sales: 5.5 million

Judges’ Scores:
116-112 Mayweather
118-110 Mayweather
116-112 Mayweather

Referee: Kenny Bayless

Text by Nicholas von Wettberg/
FilAm Star



Philippine News also reported on the press conference, citing "the right shoulder injury which he suffered several weeks ago [during training]…was severe enough to get Pacquiao contemplating on postponing the fight…but the fighter stated he didn’t want to make any alibis."

The injury scandal has sparked criticism and even lawsuits against Pacquiao and his promoters for allegedly not disclosing the injury. Some wonder if his defeat and the controversy in its wake will mar his status as the Philippine People’s Champion, an elected official in his homeland and a hero to the Filipino diaspora.

"No, not at all," says Nicholas von Wettberg, managing and sports editor for the weekly FilAm Star, who has covered Pacquiao’s last 12 fights. "I think Manny’s legacy is secure, his stature in the Philippines will always be the one of highest regard….Think about it, we’ve talked about the Philippines…we’ve talked about the Filipino people for years and years now, on a platform that would not have been there had Manny Pacquiao [not been there]."

Von Wettberg adds that one factor that Pacquiao is also widely admired for might explain his mindset about the shoulder tear. "I think it all comes down to once again, Manny’s faith," says von Wettberg. "Once the injury took place, the faith kind of kicked in."

Von Wettberg believes that Pacquiao thought he was going to be fine, up until the fight. He explains, "I saw his smile…even when he made his entrance. The time that I saw fear in his face was when he finally got into the ring. That’s when I think he knew that his faith could only get him so far.. and that now he was going have to fight the fight…and that physically, he knew that he wasn’t ready for the fight."

Manila Mail via INQUIRER.net reports that the public's admiration for Pacquiao was evident inside the MGM Grand Arena on fight night, "as the audience’s cheers and applause each time Manny scored were thunderous. In the Philippines and around the world, millions rooted for the charismatic and God-fearing prizefighter."

Joseph Peralta, NorCAL VP/GM and associate editor of Asian Journal, agrees that Pacquiao remains well respected for his legacy, but believes the injury scandal might affect the fighter’s image. He says that before the controversy erupted, Pacquaio’s stature was intact. "People in the boxing world were empathetic to him, even when he lost…Evander Holyfield was saying, he thinks Pacquiao should have won," he adds. Everybody was saying he was the people’s champ."

With the fallout casting a cloud on Pacquiao’s revered status, Peralta thinks Pacquiao will overcome it and can win back the public’s admiration, especially among his fellow countrymen who might doubt him now. "Filipinos always love this situation where you do wrong, and then you repent, when you revert back to your faith… [and say], 'I’ve seen the error of my ways,' explains Peralta. "Filipinos love that."

Peralta believes Pacquiao’s philanthropy is also at the core of why many continue to support him. "I think at the core, he really is genuine about giving, in the charity that he does." Reports state that Pacquiao intends to donate about half of his earnings from this latest fight to charities.

But in Asian Journal’s coverage of community sentiments before the fight, and in his own circle, Peralta adds, it was ultimately not about Manny winning. "This fight was deemed as the most important fight he’ll have in his career, because he was battling a person who has not lost."

That’s echoed by columnist Emil Guillermo in his INQUIRER.net op-ed, saying Pacquiao is "the most distinguished overseas Filipino worker today," someone he says "embodies the modern global Filipino who must go abroad to earn a living."

Pacquiao is now focused on healing from his recent surgery and is reportedly preparing to go back home to the Philippines. "Balitang America [News in America]” and its Manila-based parent media network ABS-CBN News report that the Filipino fighter had surgery on Wednesday “to repair the significant tear on his right rotator cuff."

Pacquiao was originally scheduled to return to Manila on Thursday, but had to postpone the trip because of the procedure on his shoulder. He said in the same report that he hopes to be back in the Philippines by Sunday, May 10.

Though many fans may be criticizing Pacquiao for his performance in the fight, he still enjoys support in his homeland. Perhaps one indication that many of them are still in his corner is the banner on INQUIRER.net with Pacquiao’s smiling face in the ring that declares: "You’re Still Our Champ!"

Odette Keeley is the TV News Anchor & Executive Producer of New America Media, as well as NAM's Director of National Media Network Building.