Pacquiao Victory Uplifts Supertyphoon Haiyan Survivors

Boxing icon's win gives Filipinos a break from the superstorm's devastation

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Jay Directo / AFP / Getty Images

Thousands of people celebrate in a public square as national boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is announced the winner of his bout against American Brandon Rios in Manila on Nov. 24, 2013

Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao unanimously won the WBO international welterweight title on Saturday, serving as a bright spot amid the aftermath for his typhoon-battered nation.

Pacquiao delivered a strong performance against American Brandon Rios at the Venetian hotel in Macau, dedicating his fight — his first since he was knocked out last December by Juan Manuel Márquez — to the victims of the supertyphoon Haiyan that ravaged the central Philippines in early November.

The Filipino Congressman, long considered a national hero, vowed to visit the devastating wreckage in the hard-hit city of Tacloban and outer regions. Typhoon survivors in the Philippines watched, while many Filipino workers in Hong Kong traveled to nearby Macau to cheer on Pacquiao as he returned to the ring.

“It would have felt like another storm has hit if he lost,” said street sweeper Ardel Nebasa.