PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — A MISMATCH but the other way around was how President Macapagal-Arroyo described the fight between boxing hero Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya.
“Although sinasabi before the fight, you’re not an underdog. Di masyado dehado,” the President told Pacquiao when he paid a courtesy call at Malacañang yesterday shortly after arriving from the US.
The President received Pacquiao and the members of Team Pacquiao at the Music Room in Malacañang Palace . Environment Secretary Lito Atienza and Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap were also present.
As she had done before, the President gave Pacquiao a cake prepared by Palace chefs. It was a fondant carrot cake adorned with a red boxing glove with a WBC belt on top. “World’s top pound for pound boxer” is inscribed on the side.
Pacquiao in return gave the President a replica champion’s belt.
The President chatted with Pacquiao for about 20 minutes as they exchanged anecdotes on developments before and after the fight dubbed as the “Dream Match.”
Pacquiao said he was like a David pitted against Goliath in his fight with De La Hoya because the latter is more experienced, bigger and taller than him.
Pacquiao said he trained hard in preparation for the fight and his sacrifices and prayers paid off. He also revealed that some members of Team Pacquiao were worried about his chances against De La Hoya.
Pacquiao refused to discuss politics.
“Ayaw kong pag-usapan yan dahil hindi naman, wala pa namang election, hindi naman election ngayon, matagal pa naman,” Pacquiao told Palace reporters when asked to confirm reports that he is eyeing a congressional seat in Quezon City in the 2010 elections.
He reiterated his appeal for national unity and rallied support behind government efforts to move the country and improve the lives of the people.
Pacquiao said he returned to the country for a short rest and to celebrate his 30th birthday in his home town in General Santos City. He invited the President to his party which is expected to be attended by his former opponents including Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera.
He is scheduled to return to the United States on December 20 together with his three children to join his wife who is due to give birth to their fourth child next month. He told the President that Queen Elizabeth is the name he wants to give his new baby ”because my daughter is already named Princess.”
“Birthday wish ko na mai-share ko sa inyo ang misyon ng mahal na Panginoon sa atin at tayo wala dito sa mundo kundi dahil sa Panginoon, kaya lagi natin siyang pasalamatan,” he said.