Manny Pacquiao returned home to the Philippines today, pledging a return to former glory.
Pacquiao – a champion eight times in eight categories throughout his stellar 17-year career – lost in stunning fashion on the weekend to Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.
It was a heavy Marquez right hand that floored Pacquiao in the sixth round. “Don’t worry, we will rise again,” he told cheering supporters at the airport in Manila, according to ITN.
Fans in the Philippines saw the fight as welcome distraction to their plight at home. Hundreds died last week as typhoons ravaged the nation.
The pair had fought three other times, battling to a draw once while Pacquiao won the other two.
Instead, they witnessed their hero – a man who splits his time between politics, music, religion and media – get knocked out in the final second of the sixth round.
While Marquez trained four months in preparation to face Pacquiao, his opponent managed slightly more than half that.
More from GlobalPost: Pacquiao knocked out, so are fans in Philippines (VIDEO)
He has a TV show and has filmed a movie while also serving in congress. All that compromised his fitness, experts agree.
“As you get older, that kind of activity takes you physically and mentally and that may take its toll,” boxing commentator Ronnie Nathanielsz told The Associated Press.
“(Pacquiao) loses focus because he has so many things to worry about and attend to.”
His mother says it was a change in religion.
Dionisia told Yahoo Sports that he should’ve never converted to Protestant from Catholic (which he did in January).
“That’s what he gets for changing his religion,” she said. “Since the Protestant pastors came into his life, he has not focused on his boxing.”
Regardless of the loss, Pacquiao said he won’t retire. He turns 34 years old on Dec. 17.
In fact, give him another five months and he will return to the ring.
To celebrate his return home, Pacquiao planned to sing at a concert today in the Philippines, the Guardian reported.
He also donated P$10 million (about $245,000 US) to typhoon victims.
“If we have a chance, we will visit the victims,” Pacquiao said. “We will also send help, P10 million for those who were affected. My prayers go out to the families of the victims."
More from GlobalPost: Silver lining to Philippine disaster? A rebel truce