Sen. Manny Pacquiao will be skipping the 4th State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte this Monday, July 22, after defeating American boxer Keith Thurman in their highly anticipated WBA welterweight showdown Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Pacquiao was supposed to take a 3 a.m. Sunday flight back from Las Vegas to Manila right after his title match with Thurman but was advised against it by his doctor.
His own wife, Jinkee, also urged Pacquiao not to risk his health by taking a long distance flight right after the match.
Instead, the People's Champ will be returning to Manila via private plane early Tuesday in time for the Senate session.
A report by ABS-CBN's Dyan Castillejo said Pacquiao's eye is no longer hurting after the champ took a well-deserved rest after the bout. The People's Champ had earlier complained of pain after his left eye was smeared with petroleum jelly in the Thurman fight.
In an interview with ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda, the 40-year-old boxing legend said he was able to follow his fight plan flawlessly, using body shots and right hooks against the taller Thurman.
He also said he is fine with Thurman's request for a rematch. "Wala naman akong problema. Mas maganda nga 'yung may rematch," he said.
(I don't have a problem. It's better if there is a rematch.)
Pacquiao's victory was his 62nd win of a 71-fight career that has spanned 24 years. Veterans at ringside described the performance as Pacquiao's best since his dazzling win over Antonio Margarito in 2010.
Thurman, who had returned to boxing in January after a 22-month layoff, admitted he had not been able to cope with Pacquiao's relentless energy. Post-fight statistics told the story, with Pacquiao outpunching Thurman by 686 to 571.
The Pacman said he is willing to take on younger fighters, adding that he likes the challenge.
He also said he saw Floyd Mayweather Jr. cheering for him at ringside after seeing Thurman fall in Round 1 of the bout.
"Nag chi-cheer sa akin. Napatayo, natalon nga sa upuan niya nung bumagsak sa first round si [Thurman]."
(He was cheering for me. He was standing, he jumped out of his seat when he saw Thurman fall in Round 1.)
With Agence France-Presse
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).