Pacquiao fight brings moment of unity to Philippines

Sat May 2, 2015 12:52am EDT
 
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By Manuel Mogato

MANILA (Reuters) - From air-conditioned corporate boardrooms to steamy public gymnasiums, Filipinos are counting down the hours to local boxing icon Manny Pacquiao's fight with undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas.

The world welterweight championship bout, which is being called the "fight of the century", will bring the country to a standstill on Sunday and mark a rare period of unity for the poor Southeast Asian nation.

"We also expect Maoist rebels and Muslim extremists to watch the Pacquaio-Mayweather fight," said Lieutenant-Colonel Harold Cabunoc, army spokesman, adding that wide television screens will be set up in all military camps, including conflict areas.

"Filipinos are all united behind our own hero. We are all rooting for Manny. We expect a very peaceful day, no crime, no fighting."

Pacquiao is a lieutenant colonel in the army reserve force.

A life-size Pacquiao 70-kg chocolate cake, which took two weeks to make, went on display on Saturday in Manila and slices will be given away after the bout.

Cinemas and restaurants have sold out tickets for the fight, and even prisoners at Saranggani jail will have the chance to watch the fight.

Taxi driver Manolo Garcia said he would stop for a few hours to listen to his radio.   Continued...

 
Baker Zach Yonson (R) and an assistant put finishing touches on a life-size 70-kg chocolate cake of local boxing icon Manny Pacquiao at a restaurant in Manila, Philippines May 2, 2015.  REUTERS/Erik De Castro