MANILA (REUTERS) - Filipinos erupted in jubilation as the country's hero Manny Pacquiao outclassed American challenger Chris Algieri to retain his World Boxing Organisation welterweight title in Macau on Sunday.
Cinemas, hotels, public parks and even army bases across the Philippines witnessed celebration as Pacquiao, the only boxer to win world titles in eight weight divisions, dominated the inexperienced New York-based former kickboxer.
"The fire is back, the old deadly form is back," said Mario Santos, a boxing fan who dined with his family at a mall where the boxing match was shown on a wide television screen.
Pacquiao, 35, knocked down the American, who was undefeated in 20 professional fights, six times in the 12-round title fight, twice in the sixth as the Filipino southpaw showed too much class against his younger and taller opponent.
People had long expected the outcome and was expecting Pacquiao to knock out Algieri because of his speed and powerful punches.
The army said Pacquiao, an elected congressman and a lieutenant-colonel in the reserve force, was proud of "his convincing victory against Algieri".
"Chris Algieri didn't stand the chance to win the way he was fighting," General Gregorio Catapang, the military chief, said. "Clearly, no doubt Manny is the greatest. Algieri lost as early as in the second round."
The president's spokesman was also elated by the victory.
Filipinos jumped from their seats and went wild each time Pacquiao's punches landed in the face and body, sending Algieri to the canvas. They were expecting an early finish but the American managed to last 12 rounds.
"Manny is still a strong fighter," said Jose Flores, a vendor who watched the fight on a giant screen in a Manila park. "It's about time he fought with Mayweather to find out who is the greatest."
Manila's streets were deserted during the fight as Filipinos tuned into see the action. Crime rates drop every time Pacquiao enters the ring, according to the local police.