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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pacquiao fans create record crowd at World Resort

Despite an initial report of slow ticket sales, fans of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao turned up in record numbers yesterday to watch his fight against United Kingdom's Ricky Hatton live via satellite at the Saipan World Resort.

Though a little bit disappointed because it ended quickly, the predominantly Filipino crowd brought the house down at the Taga Hall and Red Box Sports Bar when Pacquiao knocked out Hatton during the second round of their bout.

Mark Birmingham of MCV Broadband said it was the biggest ever crowd for them, exceeding the crowd that watched the Pacquiao-Oscar Dela Hoya match last October.

Pacquiao knocked out Hatton in the second round with a powerful left to the head that sent the English fighter to the canvass during their 140-lb title bout at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

MCV Broadband now expects a bigger crowd in the next Pacquiao fight, especially in the event of a deal with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Mayweather was the undisputed pound-for-pound boxer before his retirement a few years back.

“We are happy. We need to increase the seats next time. We need a bigger venue,” said Birmingham.

Birmingham said they did not really expect people to come and watch but yesterday's tickets were sold out at the doors.

Gov. Benigno Fitial was one of those who watched at the Red Box Sports Bar.

Ronald Sanchez, Saipan World Resort's banquet and restaurant manager, said those who came to watch the fight exceeded the capacity for both the general admission and the VIP Room.

For businessman John Jones, the 3-1 odds for Pacquiao could actually have been 10-1.

“Pacquiao is such an amazing fighter. He's got real determination to win. He fights from his heart and soul,” Jones said.

Saipan long-time resident and court reporter Patricia A. Garshak said Hatton was no match for Pacquiao.

“Manny Pacquiao is a heart and soul fighter, just like the Latino fighters,” said Garshak, who is a native of Puerto Rico.

Hatton had too much expectations of himself but there was so much difference between the two fighters.

“There's no way Pacquiao could lose because, no matter what, he must win any fight. Latino fighters have the same motivation. They fight from their humble beginnings,” she said.

Jones said he closely watched the pre-fight viewing and learned a lot about the Filipino fighter.

“I like that part and the photos were very good,” Jones said.

MARPAC's Jojo Camacho said they are glad the fans came out and they are looking forward to the next Pacquiao fight.

Birmingham said Pacquiao is now the biggest boxer in the United States.

“Pacquiao keeps getting better and better,” said James Matsumoto of Wells Fargo.

“I'm just a fan but I like the way he takes care of his fights. There's no doubt that he's the best in the world now. He keeps on listening and concentrates on training,” Matsumoto said.

He said that unlike others who begin to lose control when they reach the top, Pacquiao is the opposite.

Matsumoto said Pacquiao won not only because of his speed but also because he is more powerful this time.

“I think the key for the win is that he's a humble fighter,” he said.

Mike Cruz of the Fil-Taga Golf Association joked that the fight was “not worth it.”

“I paid more and watched less,” he grinned.

He said he had predicted that the fight will last seven rounds and that the two fighters will get tired first before Pacquiao achieves victory.


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