Filipino fans left in disbelief by Tim Bradley's controversial win over Manny Pacquiao cried foul yesterday, the disappointment and fury spreading quickly on cyberspace and in Metro Manila's streets.
Their anger was trained primarily at the judges who they felt had robbed the beloved Filipino champion of a victory in a 12-round fight he clearly won, at least in their eyes.
Not surprisingly, words like 'luto' and 'Vegas mafia' suddenly became favorite topics as Facebook and Twitterworld felt the full brunt of the Filipino fans' fury.
“Luto ang laban,” said 56-year-old street sweeper Ricardo Cruz after watching the fight in front of a giant TV screen set up at the Pasig City hall grounds.
“Hindi aggressive si Bradley kung siya ang challenger dapat aggressive siya.”
Street vendor Manuel Atanacio, who also saw the fight in the same venue, was suspicious about the result since the fight was held in the United States.
"Nasindikato yata s'ya," said another fan as he walked out of a public viewing in Sta. Mesa.
“Hometown decision. Gusto nila ng may rematch. Siyempre, para bumenta ‘yung rematch kaya siguro ganyan ang resulta,” said Atanacio, 31.
President Aquino later issued a statement that tried to console the public, saying that Pacquiao remained a champion in the eyes of his countrymen despite the loss.
“Manny remains our champion and the nation’s national fist,” Aquino spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in a statement.
“Despite losing his WBO welterweight belt against Timothy Bradley, our support for him has not wavered.’
In a country where almost every sports fan is an armchair commentator, fans were also quick to give their take on the fight.
Don Sta. Rosa, a 28-year-old graduate student, said Pacquiao seemed to have lost a step.
“I thought Manny isn't as explosive as he used to be; he seems to lack that power that used to shock & subdue opponents. I can't blame judges,” said Sta. Rosa, who watched the fight through internet streaming.
Accounting officer Jay Chio was impressed with how Pacquiao finished the fight but said that he was disappointed not the see the knockout punch that Filipinos have grown accustomed to in every Pacman fight.
“It’s not how you start, it's how you finish,” said Chio, 29. “Manny always started slow but came back strong. Bradley tried to do a Manny, dinadaan sa volume pero ang pagkakaiba, walang power."
Overall, Filipino fans can’t wait for a rematch in November.
“Hindi ako kumbinsido sa resulta ng laban,” said Ronnie Velasco, a 36-year-old foreman. “Siguradong sa rematch, knockout na ‘yang si Bradley.”
For his part, Cruz said that the rematch should be held in the Philippines.
“Dapat dito naman ang laban,” said Cruz.