Filipinos unite for Pacman PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 May 2015 16:04

From north to south, rich and poor, soldiers and rebels, Filipinos are united and excited to watch the Philippines’ boxing hero Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao fight undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sunday in MGM Grand Arena in La Vegas.

The Pacquiao-Mayweather encounter billed as the “Fight of the Century” has been the topic of conversations  everywhere in this southeast Asian country since the first day the bout was confirmed and finalized until the eve of the fight on Saturday.

In Zamboanga City, men and women, young and old, are all gearing for the historic boxing encounter for the welterweight title.

Aside from those who would watch the fight on home cable television, thousands are expected to converge in the campuses of Western Mindanao State University, Southern City Colleges and Ateneo de Zamboanga University  where there will be live free viewing of the bout. Congressman Celso Lobregat sponsored the free live screening in WMSU and SCC.

“I’ll see to it I’ll watch the fight live and not replay,” says an office employee.

Conversations about Sunday’s fight has been going around among motorcycle taxi drivers, office employees, students,  sidewalk vendors, barbers and even housewives, all thrilled and hoping Pacquiao will beat the American fighter as he beat several Mexican and one British boxers to make history of winning titles in eight boxing divisions.

Free public viewing of the fight sponsored by politicians is also expected in several other cities in Mindanao, central and northern Luzon.

“Like in his previous fights, we expect people glued to their home cable television and in fastfood joints having cable TV and in free public viewing venues,” said a government official.

In Paquiao’s past fights, Zamboanga City’s streets were virtually deserted and police records have registered no violent incidents and crimes in the whole archipelago during the time of the fight.

“We are hopeful for Pacquiao to win this fight. Our hero delivers strong punches than Mayweather,” said a local boxing trainer.

“But Pacquiao must keep pace with Mayweather’s expected running around the ring to avoid engagements,” added a local boxing fan.

The Philippine military on Saturday announced that it is standing by its “idol” all the way come fight.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang on Friday announced that the military will be providing live screening of the mega-fight in all major camps around the archipelago as part of its morale and welfare program for the soldiers.

Some 1,000 soldiers and their dependents are expected to watch the fight at the AFP Grandstand in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Metro Manila  while wounded troopers recuperating from battle injuries will cheer for their favorite boxer at the multi-purpose hall inside the AFP Medical Center, Catapang said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the 3rd Marine Brigade stationed in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan will provide not only free viewing but also meals for the soldiers and their family members.

“We are excited to see the blow by blow combat actions of our sports hero, Pacman. It is part of our ‘happy hour’ for my soldiers here,” 3rd Marine Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Armando Banez said.

Pacquiao is known in the Philippine military as Lt. Colonel Emmanuel Pacquiao (Reserved), Philippine Army,  Pacquiao first entered the Army’s reserve force in April 27, 2006 as a sergeant and rose through the ranks through meritorious promotion.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc told reporters they are expecting communist and Moro rebels to watch the Pacquiao fight.

After amassing fortune from his boxing career, the Filipino boxing icon invested huge amount of money to join politics.  At 32 he was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives. He has also been involved in basketball,acting, and is a retired singer.

He was named “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s (decade) by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO). He is also a three-time The Ring and BWAA “Fighter of the Year,” winning the award in 2006, 2008, and 2009, and the Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2009 and 2011.[11]

Paquiao is the current WBO welterweight championand is currently ranked number three on the Ring pound-for-pound list.

He was long rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world by some sporting news and boxing websites, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sporting Life, Yahoo! Sports, About.com, BoxRec and The Ring from his climb to Lightweight until his losses in 2012.

Beyond boxing, Pacquiao has participated in basketball, business, acting, music recording and politics. In May 2010, Pacquiao was elected to the House of Representatives representing the province of Sarangani. He was re-elected in 2013 to the 16th Congress of the Philippines. His wife Jinky is currently the vice governor of Sarangani province.

Pacquiao, while mostly focused on being a boxer and a congressman, is listed as the head coach of the basketball team Kia Sorento. He was also drafted onto the team as 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 Philippine Basketball Association draft, making him the oldest rookie drafted,as well as the shortest player and the first dual-sport athlete in the PBA.

Sunday’s fight has been described as the most expensive in boxing history with up to $300 million at stake,

Promoters said tickets would range from $1,500 in the upper reaches of the MGM Garden to $7,500 at ringside. The pay-per-view price wasn’t announced, but is expected to be in the $90-100 range.