Filipinos in the Middle East – from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United the United Arab Emirates to the Gulf countries have shown their support for the pound-for-pound champion by throwing their symbolic punches (pounding two fists together and then lunging a left jab); posting their punches online; and hitting the punch meter at ABS-CBN’s oneforpacman.abs-cbn.com.
To date, the site meter has garnered over 45,000,000 virtual punches, symbolizing that any opponent stands to fight against millions of Filipinos when he battles with the eight-division world champion and number three fighter in the world (according to boxing magazine “The Ring”) Pacquiao.
In Oman, the greatest battle of Pacquiao hits home for Jonathan Selgas, founder of Black Stallion Mixed Martial Arts. Pacquiao started young while Selgas is training young athletes. He says: “We’re very excited because this is the most-awaited match in the world and these fighters behind me are eager to watch so we subscribed to TFC.”
Even in Kuwait and even while the boxing ring is far from their own kind of arena, business owners are supporting their kabayan. According to Bahay Kubo restaurant owner Meliza Mendez, “Handang-handa na kami sa Mayweather fight. Isang bayan para Kay Pacman.” (We’re all set for the Mayweather – Pacquiao Fight. One For Pacman!”
Online, TFC.tv subscribers are sharing that they have subscribed already in order to make sure they have better than ringside seats to the fight. Johann Juan of Qatar just joined kabayans subscribed to the fight via TFC.tv: “Kaka-purchase lang po namin ng PPV via TFC.tv.”
Julius Ruckenbrod even created an artwork of the Pinoy boxing legend. He shared via TFC.tv: “I want to share my artwork photo-stencil (which I) carved on styrofoam. Isang suntok para sa bayan!”
Pacquiao Win or lose
Pinoys are not only watching the fight, they are also making bold predictions on the turnout. TFC.tv subscriber Melody Carandang proudly declares “It’s Pacman all the way.”
Joining Filipinos in throwing their support are Filipino and Hollywood celebrities alike. News anchors Noli de Castro, Ces Drilon and Ted Failon were the first to throw symbolic punches. Stellar names such as comedienne Pokwang; love team Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil; PBB alumna and teen superstar Kim Chiu have also shown their support on video and online, among other Kapamilya stars.
Actors Mark Wahlberg and Keanu Reeves lead the pack of Hollywood celebrities who are rooting for Pacquiao. Wahlberg recently placed a USD 250,000 bet on Pacquiao. Reeves on the other hand, even visited Pacquiao at home and threw a symbolic punch for Pacquiao.
Adding more weight to the celebrity support are esteemed boxers such as former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, former four-division champion Mexican boxer Eric Morales and four-division champion Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto who are vocal in saying Pacman is it.
In support of Pacquiao, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel even tried to sing the People’s Champ’s planned entrance song “Lalaban Ako Para Sa Filipino” in two of his show’s episodes and has even offered to enter the arena with the champ during fight night.
Filipinos in the Middle East can join the whole world in witnessing the “Fight of the Century” through exclusive distributor in the Middle East, ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel (TFC). The battle between the two legendary fighters can be seen via Pay Per View on TFC live, with English annotations on May 3 at 4 a.m. in KSA and 5 a.m. in UAE.
For kabayans who will not be able to watch the fight from home or from partner establishments, they can still enjoy the fight from anywhere in the Middle East, online via TFC.tv or via the following cable partners, OSN, Du and E-vision only USD 34.
Big screen fans can also catch the fight at Novo Cinemas across the UAE; Laila Theater in Kuwait; Cineco in Bahrain; and Grand Cinecenter in Qatar. TFC also partnered with sports pubs, bars and hotels in the Middle East to provide more avenues to watch the fight.
For more information on the platforms to watch “Pacquiao Mayweather: Fight of the Century,” visit http://mayweathervspacquiao.me (with additional reports from Dyan Castillejo, Maxxy Santiago and abs-cbn.com)