MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao thanked the millions of Filipinos who threw their support for him in his last fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. when he paid ABS-CBN a visit yesterday for a dinner with the company’s executives who threw him a hero’s welcome.
“I really give my thanks to ma’am Charo Santos-Concio and sir Gabby Lopez, and everyone who helped in the coverage of my fight. And I cannot forget Ging Reyes, who I now address as ma’am, for she was the first person to ever interview me during the Ledwaba fight, my first in the US,” Pacquiao gushed with appreciation, adding while laughing, “nobody bothered to interview me then, I had to look for someone to interview me!”
ABS-CBN COO Carlo Katigbak, with ABS-CBN President Charo Santos-Concio and Integrated Sports head Dino Laurena, handed a special plaque from the “Isang Bayan Para kay Pacman” efforts to the People’s Champion for putting up a gallant stand against Floyd Mayweather, Jr, with Katigbak adding, “You proved to the world, that whatever hardship faces us, we will stand up and put a fight,”. The “Isang Bayan Para Kay Pacman” campaign was a movement of the Kapamilya network to gather all Filipinos under one banner to inspire Manny to perform in the ring.
“The 100 million punches as support for me were huge, the #OneForPacman hashtag was really huge,” the ring icon bared, addressing the crowd at the 9501 restaurant of the ELJ Communications Center at Mother Ignacia. “They gave me the strength, the belief, that I can fight Mayweather.”
The final tally was more than what the champion expected. A staggering 126 million punches were collected by the “Isang Bayan Para Kay Pacman” campaign of ABS-CBN in an effort to inspire the Filipino ring icon in the biggest fight of his career two Sundays ago. This was made possible via the use of the #OneForPacman hashtag in all their social media posts and by clicking the interactive punching bag at the oneforpacman.abs-cbn.com website, people were able to show that their fist is one with that of Manny when he stepped inside the ring.
The Pacman was also shown a special TV plug that details the beginning and end of the “Isang Bayan” campaign to which the boxing icon smiled from ear to ear. “Every week, Dyan kept updating me, ‘Manny it’s 10 million, 20 million…’ then at the end, I was so surprised that it went beyond 100 million!” he exclaimed.
Pacquiao also made rounds inside the ABS-CBN compound where he visited the set of TV Patrol and the booth of DZMM to grant short interviews. The moment he stepped inside the ELJ Communications Center, a huge throng of employees waving “Isang Bayan Para Kay Pacman” flaglets greeted the Filipino ring icon at every turn in the Mother Ignacia compound.
Before he departed, Pacquiao hinted that thoughts about retirement were pushed back due to the massive support he got from Filipinos and the Kapamilya network through their “Isang Bayan” campaign. “When I box, I make Filipinos proud and happy. To me that is the best feeling in the world.”