As Manny Pacquiao sets himself for what is considered the “fight of the century” boxing event, he has the entire Philippines with him tonight, during his fight with the undefeated American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. The megabout may sweep America, but in the Philippines, 100 million Filipinos come together to support their hero.
Dubbed as the “peoples’ champ,” Manny Pacquiao has the entire countrymen with him whenever he is in the boxing ring, fighting not only for himself, but for his country as well. It is a national day in the Philippines. where everyone is glued to their screens – in hotels, homes, cafes, malls, commercial buildings, gymnasiums and neighborhoods.
In the epic Pacquiao – Mayweather fight, the “great” Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will get $200 million, win or lose, while his Filipino opponent Manny Pacquiao will have $133 million. While Mayweather puts his reputation on the line and wishes Pacquiao to be in his list of beaten opponents in a clean “all-win” record, Pacquiao is fighting for the honor to be the first professional boxer to beat Mayweather Jr. For Pacquiao, this is most important. He is fighting for the pride of his nation.
Time practically stops in the Philippines whenever Pacquiao fights, as Filipinos come in unison to pray and hope that their hero will win. In a country known to have major crowded traffics, the streets are wide and clear during Pacquiao fights.
Even crime rates go down, since the bad guys will be busy watching. Filipino rebel groups in the war-torn Mindanao would suspend hostilities as they also root for Pacquiao. The entire country will simply stand still during the Pacquiao – Mayweather fight, which is on Sunday morning (Philippine time).
Known for his humility and kind heart, despite the big time success, Manny Pacquiao has the entirety of his home country, the Philippines, with him tonight and his fights have always made everything come to a halt. The boxer-politician makes big headlines when on the ring, even bigger than warfare and crime. In Palawan, everyone cannot let a power outage happen, so the national electric company, Palawan Electric, urges people to conserve energy.
The government and Muslim rebels in the country’s south have clashes, which always give headaches to the country’s leaders. However, they will be watching Pacman’s Las Vegas match in different places – at the same time.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest Muslim armed group will be in a compound in Maguindano to view the fight on a widescreen TV. Vice-chairman Ghadzali Jaafar said MILF members asked if they could show Pacman’s fight outside his office, and he approves. On the other hand, the military forces in Maguindanao will watch the fight in a gym, as confirmed by military spokeswoman, Captain Joan Petinglay.
Aspiring Filipino boxers have Manny Pacquiao as their inspiration, to work hard and make a name in world boxing for the country as well. Outside Manila in Quezon City, a Bunny Baker is busy with a life-sized “Pa-cake-iao” cake. Owner Zach Yonzon said they are making an extraordinary cake for someone who is world-class, like Pacman.
Manny Pacquiao has the entire Philippines with him tonight. If he loses, he will still be the people’s champion and the country’s pride. If he wins, every Filipino will be as happy as Pacman. After the event, pieces of the “Paquiao cake” will be given for free at Bunny Baker.
By Judith Aparri
Photo courtesy of Prize Fights.com – Creativecommons Flickr License