Fans cheer Pacquiao win, grumble over lack of KO, champ’s politics, Mommy D’s BF
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Tricycle driver and Zamboanga City resident Juancho Sobrejana, 60, said he lost some of his affection for Manny Pacquiao after he and his family entered politics and his mother, Dionisia, got into a relationship with a younger man.
“I was a die-hard fan of Pacquiao. I never missed every fight, but since almost all his family members including him, joined politics, I no longer religiously patronize him. Worse, his mother got involved with a man young enough to be her youngest son,” Sobrejana said.
But despite his personal views about Pacquiao, Sobrejana’s cheers were the loudest when the Filipino boxer won his latest fight in Macau against Chris Algieri for the welterweight title of the World Boxing Organization.
In Tagum City, Davao del Norte, habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) driver Randy Curato said it was disappointing that Pacquiao was not able to knock Algieri out on Sunday.
The 32-year old Curato stopped taking passengers to watch the fight live on a huge screen set up by local politicians and businessmen in Barangay (village) Mankilam in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
“I lost P100 because I was expecting the fight to end before the third round,” said Curato.
Curato’s fellow driver who won his bet said the fight’s result only proved Pacquiao was no longer the ferocious fighter he once was.
“I was right in my prediction that Pacquiao could no longer knock opponents out. There’s no doubt that he would win the fight, but as to knocking out the American, the result was to the contrary as you saw it,” Curato’s friend who gave his name as Elmer Labutao told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Leading up to the fight, Tagum’s streets were empty even as the city was celebrating its parochial fiesta. Incumbent and former politicians had sponsored the setting up of huge screens in the city’s 23 villages that beamed live the action from Macau, China.
Cotabato City and its outskirts were virtually at a standstill with most people glued to the Pacquiao-Algieri fight Sunday.
“As usual, no untoward incident happened today as in previous Pacquiao fights,” said the Cotabato city police director, Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin.
“Even in the turbulent autonomous region, there’s no report of criminal activities,” said the regional police chief, Supt. Noel Delos Reyes, in reference to his coverage area, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where extortion, kidnap-for-ransom, and other lawless and insurgency-related activities have persisted.
At an Army camp in Maguindanao, Brig. Gen. Edmund Pangilinan, commander of the Sixth Infantry Division, said, “So far, we have not received reports of the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) atrocities while Manny Pacquiao was slugging it out with his American opponent.”
“I hope Pacquiao fights everyday,” Pangilinan said in jest as the BIFF, the breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has been on the offensive lately, resulting in casualties and displacement of villagers in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
Members of the BIFF also tried to monitor, either through radio or television, the fight.
“Many freedom fighters are not necessarily fans of Pacquiao but they are still watching or monitoring his fight,” BIFF spokesperson Abu Misry Mama told the Inquirer by phone.
Inside Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, armed and un-armed MILF rejoiced at the victory of Pacquiao.
“Of course, we are solid for Pacquiao. He belongs to us; he’s from Mindanao and a congressman at that. This is the type of person that we should be proud of, because of his humble beginnings,” said Ghazali Jaafar, MILF first vice chair.
“Whenever Pacquiao fights, the entire nation is quiet and united. We hope our unity will not stop there,” Von Al-Haq, spokesperson of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, told the Inquirer in a separate phone interview. Julie S. Alipala, Frinston L. Lim, Jeoffrey Maitem, Charlie Señase, Inquirer Mindanao
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