At around 11.15am, July 2, Sunday Manila Time, we saw the people’s champ Manny Pacquiao entered the ring with the Philippine Flag waving proudly in the air in front of an almost sold-out (80%) Araneta Coliseum. We were seated in Upper B and we were able to get in the front row seas of that section to still get a clear view of the boxers in the ring (see photo above). I did not imagine that Araneta will be filled by such crowd given how expensive the ticket was. I did not imagine that all our Pinoy boxers will defeat their opponents all in unanimous decision by the judges. I did not imagine how good Pacquiao was and how he masterfully defeated a taller and longer reach boxer in the person of Oscar “Chololo” Larios.

This was my first time to watch a Boxing Match. I was expecting that I get bored so I brought a book with me to read. But I was wrong, the matches were so exciting that I felt that it was my national duty to cheer for our pinoy boxers. I expected the shows to be late, but it started exactly at 8am for the first undercard match between Amonsot vs. Ortiz and Pacquiao vs. Larios fight started exactly at 11am. I was just expecting to have a date with my father and hoping that he would have a great time. It turned out that this was the most exciting live show that I watched and all the people in the crowd are proud to be a Filipino. Ever since this day, I renewed my reverence to the Philippine Flag and I always make it a point to sing proudly our National Anthem “Lupang Hinirang”. I can still remember that feeling of “Yes, I am proud to be a Filipino” when Bituin Escalante sang our Philippine anthem with a solid reverberating voice that never faltered up to the last note.

I can still remember clearly in my mind, how the short and bulky Penalosa defeated the tall and skinny Rojas. This was amidst the cheering of “Gerry, Gerry, Gerry” from the crowd to the tune of the “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry” chant in the Springer show. Only Gerry was given that honor to have his name chanted aside from Manny. Everyone loved the Gerry fight and we are hoping that he would have a chance again to win a championship before he retires. The fight lasted for exactly one hour for a 10-rounder fight. The Amonsot vs. Ortiz match was forgettable even though the blonde colored hair pinoy won in the match by unanimous decision. All I can remember is the sexy round girl in 2 piece pink bikini with the long curly hair who struts her way teasingly around the 4 sides of the ring. While the last undercard match between Jimrex Jaca and Marquez was stopped in the 7th round, I just thought that Jimrex should have researched his opponent more and have a better strategy to beat him. Marquez is like a charging bull with always his head charging ahead of his punches which eventually caused the accidental headbutt that stopped the match.

Manny came in with a serious fighter look and I was expecting him to be cocky, but no he was there to really show the Filipinos how good he is in boxing. He came to the ring in red boxing gloves with white shorts covered with Motolite battery logo in his butt and a prominent Mcdonalds logo among many logos which made his shorts like a walking billboard. The first two rounds were a thrill to watch with Manny clearly beating Larios. There were a lot of moments when the crowd thought that Manny landed a good combination which would bring Larios down to the canvas. But the fight showed that Larios was a tough boxer despite falling down twice, with the first one kneeling in front of Manny and the second one during the 12th round falling on his back. The only critical moment was during the start of the third round when Manny was complacently confident as he approached Larios, who surprised him with good combinations that landed to Manny’s face. Larios followed up until Manny was stucked with his back against the ropes and you can hear the cry of the crowd “Manny iilag mo kami”, as if every Larios punch was felt by the crowd. I’m glad that this happened early such that Manny did not underestimate Larios anymore until the end of the fight.

In the end, all the Pinoys emerged victorious with Manny winning over Larios in a unanimous decision after an hour of intense boxing. You can clearly see how mature at the same time exciting, Manny’s boxing match was versus the other pinoy boxers. I can’t believe that I just watched world class boxing in my home country with all the world class pinoy boxers beating the mexican boxers with 4-0 scorecard ! This made the outrageously expensive upper B ticket, all worth it. Aside from the fact that the telecast show was delayed for 2 hours because of the sponsored commercials, watching Manny fight and win in front of your eyes is more than enough to make you forget how much the ticket was. Although, all of us in the crowd was hoping for a knockdown in any of the matches, that did not happen and kudos to the Mexican boxers for a great fight.

Congratulations Manny Pacquiao, Jimrex Jaca, Gerry Penalosa, and Caesar Amonsot for beating your mexican opponents and for making us Filipinos proud!!

Anton

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