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Filipinos saddened over loss by their "National Fist"

MANILA, Philippines - In the aftermath of one of the most hyped and the richest fight in boxing history, the only ones likely to be jumping for joy are Floyd Mayweather Jr. and cable providers, because demand was so high that there were widespread reports of people being unable to order the fight in time.

Sadness and disappointment gripped Filipinos after Manny Pacquiao's defeat in his much-anticipated fight against Mayweather Jr. but they still considered the boxing icon a national hero. Pacquiao thanked fans after the fight, and said a right shoulder injury prevented him from fighting at his best in his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Nevada officials also denied Pacquiao's request to take an anti-inflammatory shot in his dressing room before the fight Saturday night. The chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission said the ruling was Pacquiao's fault for not mentioning his injury sooner.

"It's part of the game," Pacquiao said. "I don't want to make alibis or complain or anything ... (but) it's hard to fight one-handed."

Pacquiao, who usually throws 600-700 punches, threw only 429 punches and landed 19 percent.

In the Philippines, gymnasiums and other public venues where the 12-round fight was shown for free on Sunday lunchtime local time were quickly vacated after it was announced Pacquiao lost by unanimous decision.

Herminio Coloma, a spokesman for President Benigno Aquino III, said "the country still holds its head high in the admirable fight of our National Fist."

He said Aquino thanked Pacquiao, who is also a congressman, for being "an inspiration to every Filipino who is struggling with life's challenges to achieve a bright future."

Some Filipino fans said Pacquiao should retire from boxing while others demanded a rematch.

Many American fans expressed disappointment at the overall quality of the fight, including two boxing luminaries who had been at the center of a few much-hyped mega-fights themselves.

For thousands at a plaza in Marikina city, part of metropolitan Manila, the party mood was dampened not just by his loss but also a sudden downpour.

Roland Purificacion, a 45-year-old pedicab driver who watched the fight on a huge television screen outside the Quiapo Church in central Manila, was disappointed but spoke for many of his compatriots when he said Pacquiao "is still the people's champ. He is still our hero."

Security guard Melchor Yaba, 48, said he lost 5,000 pesos ($113), a half month's salary, betting on Pacquiao.

"I can't accept that he lost. I now regret it," he said, referring to his bet. "He cannot retire yet. Let's have a rematch."

In Pacquiao's hometown of Kiamba, a fishing and farming town in southern Sarangani province, which he represents in Congress, passenger mini-buses brought villagers who have no television to watch the fight in the town's 2,500-seat gymnasium.

Vice Mayor Bogi Martinez said the municipal government roasted a calf and pig to be served to the crowd.

Winning or losing, Pacquiao's fights with the world's top boxers often lifts the spirit of Filipinos amid troubles brought by corruption scandals, a decades-long separatist insurgency in the south, and natural disasters such as the November 2013 super Typhoon Haiyan that killed more than 7,000 people a month after a killer earthquake struck the same region.

The pride of the Philippines will walk away from the fight significantly more able to financially aid his countrymen than previously. The reported split of the purse in the fight was 60-40 in favor of Mayweather, but considering the size of the champions first post-fight check, Pacquiao is going to do just fine.

While Pacquiao and Mayweather didn't address the possibility of a rematch, Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, said he wants one.

"It was a very close fight," Roach said. "We'd love to do it again, but hopefully that's in the future."

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