MANILA, Philippines, Jul 13 – Manny Pacquiao says he will “continue to fight” as the new World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Jeff Horn called for a rematch to validate the Australian’s stunning victory.
Philippines legend Pacquiao, winner of an unprecedented eight world titles in different weight divisions, defiantly suggested he was not ready to hang up his gloves after controversially losing to Horn in Brisbane on July 2.
“I love this sport and until the passion is gone, I will continue to fight for God, my family, my fans and my country,” the 38-year-old declared on social media.
A bloodied picture of his face accompanied the posts on his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and appeared to open the way for a rematch.
The posts were made Wednesday as Horn was telling reporters in the United States he was the deserving winner of the bout but that only a rematch will settle the controversy.
Horn stunned the boxing world with a unanimous 12-round decision over Pacquiao, a hotly contested result that triggered an outcry in the Philippines.
The WBO moved to quell the controversy by re-scoring the fight with a different set of judges — who found that Horn won by seven rounds to five.
“I kind of feel it has been put to bed and that I definitely won the fight because it has been rescored,” Horn told AFP in Los Angeles.
“But people are always going to have their opinions and you’re not going to be able to change those. So I guess the only way you’re going to be able to do it is to have a rematch. And I think I would do better a second time.”
Pacquiao’s camp did not immediately respond to AFP on Thursday when asked about Horn’s challenge.
US trainer Freddie Roach advised his boxer to quit a day after the Filipino’s defeat to the unheralded Horn.
But US promoter Bob Arum told AFP he believed Pacquiao would be reluctant to retire after a loss. The Horn fight contract included an option for a rematch.
Arum said any rematch in Australia might be held in November, with the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne the likeliest venue.
Pacquiao has not stopped an opponent in eight years and briefly quit boxing last year to pursue his long-held political ambitions and was elected senator.
But he quickly made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in November before losing to Horn.