Manny Pacquiao, one of the greatest boxers of his generation, led Philippine tributes to Muhammad Ali on Saturday, as he joined his fellow countrymen in mourning the American legend’s death.
“We lost a giant today,” Pacquiao, the only man in boxing history to win world titles in eight different weight divisions, said in a statement.
“Boxing benefited from Muhammad Ali’s talents but not nearly as much as mankind benefited from his humanity. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Ali family,” Pacquiao added.
The boxing-crazy Asian nation was the scene of one of Ali’s greatest triumphs, the epic “Thrilla in Manila” on October 1, 1975, when he scored a 14th round technical knockout of Joe Frazier in their third and last fight.
A Manila shopping mall, built near the coliseum that hosted the bout, unfurled a large poster of Ali on Saturday in tribute. Hours before the family announced Ali’s death, Pacquiao, who won a seat in the country’s Senate in last month’s elections, posted Ali’s picture in his Instagram account and urged fans to “keep Muhammad Ali in your thoughts and prayers”.