Muslim rebels, Filipino soldiers to watch Pacquiao-Mayweather match | Inquirer Sports

Muslim rebels, Filipino soldiers to watch Pacquiao-Mayweather match

/ 07:34 PM May 02, 2015

COTABATO, Philippines—In a rare common cause, both rebels and soldiers in the war-torn southern Philippines will watch boxing icon Manny Pacquiao take on Floyd Mayweather Jr., with hopes that Sunday’s mega bout will bring a brief respite from violence.

The Muslim rebels and government forces will have separate free viewings of the Las Vegas clash, as the nation waits to see whether Pacquiao will triumph during the epic fight.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will watch the fight on a widescreen TV at a compound in Maguindanao on Sunday, said MILF vice chair Ghadzali Jaafar.


“They asked me if they could show it outside my office. I told them okay, I see no problem with that,” Jaafar told AFP.


He said both MILF members and nonmembers were free to attend the showing in the tightly guarded compound barely a kilometer from the MILF’s heavily armed main camp.

When asked whether he expected that there would be no trouble during the fight, he said: “We pray for that. That is our hope.”


Regional military spokesperson Capt. Jo-anne Petinglay confirmed the military forces in Maguindanao would also have their own showing of the fight in a gymnasium on Sunday.

The Philippines has been known to come to a standstill during Pacquiao’s fights, with criminals and guerrillas of various stripes eagerly following his matches.

His long-awaited battle with Mayweather has gained even more attention, as it will finally settle which of the two is the best pound-for-pound fighter of their generation.

Maguindanao has been one of the hotspots of the four-decade separatist struggle that has claimed an estimated 120,000 lives.

Jaafar denied that the group, which was negotiating peace with the government to end decades of a Muslim separatist war, was holding the screening as a sign of support for Pacquiao, regarded by many Filipinos as a national icon.

“We are supporting the sport (of boxing). Whoever is involved in the sport, we will want to support both of them. We are not siding with anyone, as far as I am concerned,” he said.

“There may be individual MILF who are siding with Pacquiao,” he conceded.


TAGS: Boxing, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Muslim, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, Philippines, USA

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