Philippines go gaga over Pac

MANILA - Filipinos nationwide yesterday rejoiced over boxing hero Manny Pacquiao's latest victory, broadcast live from Texas after officials vowed that the Philippines would be spared its perennial blackouts.

MANILA - Filipinos nationwide yesterday rejoiced over boxing hero Manny Pacquiao's latest victory, broadcast live from Texas after officials vowed that the Philippines would be spared its perennial blackouts.

Special live coverage of the 12-round fight between Pacquiao and Ghana's Joshua Clottey was broadcast without a hitch after energy officials vowed to prevent power shortages interrupting the event.

After the fight, there were no signs that Manila had suffered any of the daily outages that have afflicted the capital and the southern Philippines for several weeks.

Pacquiao, a national hero at home, easily defeated Clottey by a unanimous decision after 12 rounds to retain his World Boxing Organization welterweight title at the Cowboys Stadium.

In an interview with DZBB radio station after the fight, Pacquiao said: "I owe this to all my fellow Filipinos, most of all to my family."

His next bout will be even more of a challenge, when he runs for Congress in the May election, seeking to represent a district on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

Despite his fame, Pacquiao has tasted defeat in this arena before. In 2007 he lost his first bid for a seat in Congress, and faces an equally entrenched opponent this time around.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo also celebrated the victory.

"We join the nation in jubilation over Manny Pacquaio's latest conquest. Once again, he has proven that the Filipino's talent and determination set us apart," said her spokesman.

As in previous Pacquiao fights, the streets in major towns and cities were empty as millions of fans were glued to television sets and radios.

The fight was shown live in theatres and sports bars and in local gymnasiums.

For many observers, the only remaining foe left for the Filipino champion was the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather who, like Pacquiao, has been tagged some by boxing pundits as the "best pound-for-pound fighter in the world."

The Filipino champion's mother, Dionisia Pacquiao, however, said she would prefer that her son retired from boxing.

"I tell my son, 'please stop," she said in an interview with DZBB.

- Sapa-AFP

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