(CNN) -- Manny "Pac-man" Pacquiao punched his way to victory over Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios to take the WBO International Welterweight title in a unanimous decision on Sunday in Macau, China.
The bout came just two weeks after Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated his homeland of the Philippines, giving the country's most famous sportsman added incentive to return home a hero.
Before the fight, Pacquiao told CNN he was moved to tears by the devastation wreaked by Haiyan which slammed into the coast early on November 8. More than 5,200 people were killed, and many are still missing.
"I was crying," the 35-year-old said. "I feel so bad ... what happened. I want to visit them personally but I can't because I'm in training. I sent my people there to help them, what I did is focus on my training and pray to God."
In Tacloban, one of the hardest struck cities by the deadly typhoon, thousands gathered to watch the Pacquiao-Rios fight in a public park, climbing up trees, cars and buildings to catch a glimpse of the match, chanting, "Manny, Manny, Manny" as Pacquiao pummeled his rival.
"You don't feel the sadness that happens here," said Jacoba Mado, a typhoon survivor in Tacloban told Reuters news agency, about the brief respite from Haiyan's devastation. "You just feel happy."
In an air base in Pasay, south of the Philippines, Filipino troopers, U.S. staff, aid workers and typhoon survivors watched the fight together. Watching their national hero fight his way to victory gave the storm-weary nation an opportunity to cheer and think of something different
One newspaper, the Manila Bulletin News tweeted: "When all else fails, Pacman is there to lift everyone up," referring to Pacquiao's nickname.
Another Philippines news group, the Inquirer tweeted: "@MannyPacquiao made #YolandaPH survivors forget misery, then back to reality."
Boxing's first and only eight division world champion left his training camp in Genereal Santos City earlier this week to head to Macau for the bout.
Pacquiao said he was attempting to help his compatriots by sending aid to those affected by the typhoon.
"Right now we've sent them food, food is the most important thing," said Pacquiao, who is an elected official in the Philippine House of Representatives, serving Sarangani's Lone District.
"After that I have to help give them a fresh start in their lives."
Saturday's fight with Rios was Pacquiao's first since he was knocked out for just the third time in his career by Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012, only his fifth loss in 61 professional fights.
"I learned a lot," Pacquiao said of his loss to Marquez. "It's part of boxing, sometimes you lose sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose and you have to accept it.
"I decided to continue my boxing career because I think I can still fight ... I'm not thinking negative, I'm always thinking positive."
Yesterday's victory wasn't about my comeback but a symbol of my people's comeback from a natural disaster and a human tragedy. God Bless— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) November 24, 2013
During the fight, Chris Mannix, senior writer with Sports Illustrated tweeted: "Rios being totally outclassed. Pacquiao is too fast, too quick. Combinations coming in bunches. Rios has to do something different here."
He didn't, leading to a final result of 120-108, 119-109, 118-110.
CNN's Madison Park and Journalist Tom McGowan contributed to this report.