GOLD COAST, Australia — Despite being dethroned as world champion, Manny Pacquiao still returns to a hero's welcome when he arrives in his hometown General Santos City late Monday afternoon.
Pacquiao lost a unanimous decision to Jeff Horn on Sunday to yield his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown in a defeat many Filipinos described as 'a robbery in Brisbane.'
The 38-year-old Filipino said he respected the judges' decision but is looking for a rematch against the newly-crowned champion as stipulated in the fight contract.
Pacquiao and his team departed for the Philippines less than 24 hours after the historic fight Down Under witnessed by a record crowd of 51,052 at the Suncorp Stadium.
As has been the practice of fighters after every brutal bout, Pacquiao spent the whole of Sunday night awake and played chess with friends at his suite on the 28th floor of the Sofitel Hotel.
"Sigurado hilik tayo niyan sa biyahe," Pacquiao told chess buddy Zaldy Realubit, the former PBA cager, while the two of them were playing.
Pacquiao also watched parts of Game Six of the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals between San Miguel and TnT Katropa on live streaming along with Senator Tito Sotto and Navottas City congressman Toby Tiangco.
The only eighth-time world division champion returned to the Philippines on board the same chartered AirAsia flight that brough him , his family and entourage - numbering to about 143 - from GenSan to Brisbane.