Davao malls, other business establishments cash in on Pacquiao-Morales

As in previous boxing trilogies that thrilled boxing fans all over the world, sports aficionados here are going to find out no matter the cost.

Malls, hotels, bars and restaurants have put up their own marketing stunts to perk up sales and capture the market based on the turnout in past fights. Even the poor around Bangkerohan public market can see the fight live, thanks to local officials' initiative.

Shopping malls will replace the screenings of Hollywood and local films with a live telecast of the much awaited bout in Las Vegas' Thomas and Mach Center where the two boxers will hold the concluding fight of their own trilogy.

At Gaisano "G-mall", tickets are available at P400 per head at Cinema 1 where the James Bond movie Casino Royale has been shown since Wednesday. The mall has reserved at least 1,000 seats for the show. During the Pacquiao–Larios match in July, they opened the mall's Bingo hall.

Cinema staff told MindaNews they will serve hotdog on stick and juice in tetra pack for their customers.

In SM City Mall Davao, three cinemas will open by 7a.m., an hour before the boxing show starts.

Romilyn Mendiola, an officer at SM Cinemas, told MindaNews they have started selling tickets since October. But the tickets were almost sold out already, she said.

Tickets worth P500 are reserved with a designated seat assignment. Those who buy P400 tickets can have a seat on a first come-first served basis, she said.

SM will also serve snacks. But they might cancel screening of Hollywood movies Casino Royale, The Guardian and Prestige if the fight extends to the movies' screening schedules.

Hotels, too, have joined the bandwagon.

In Marco Polo, guests and outsiders can view the fight live at the Eagle's Bar at the ground floor for P350 with a free drink. Viewers may add a little for breakfast or lunch in plate.

For about the same cost, guests and outsiders could also watch it in Royale Mandaya Hotel with free lunch and a glass of iced tea. The match will be shown live on a wide screen at the hotel's Royal Ballroom where conferences, weddings and other socials are held.

Bars and restaurants around the city have put up their own stunts to capture the fight's market come Sunday.

A restaurant along Ponciano Street offers P200 buffet lunch for those who want to view the show's live telecast.

At home, cable TV subscribers can have "pay per view" access by paying an additional cost.

But Davao's poor also have their chance to see a live coverage of the fight. In Barangay 5-A for example, residents may watch the fight at the gymnasium, courtesy of barangay and city officials.

Chairman Edgar Ibuyan said they can accommodate at most 1,500 with facilities provided by the city government. He said barangay officials put up a 100-square foot widescreen made of recycled flour sacks.

Ibuyan said he was able to arrange for a digital firm to provide a satellite dish so they could get live television feed of the fight. The University of Immaculate Conception, which is within the barangay, also lent its LCD projector for free.

He could not confirm if other barangays have the same setup.

In Sto. Niño, Matina, tricycle drivers said they will have to contend with the regular programming of national television, where the fight will be shown with commercial breaks.

Dadong, 46, a shoe cleaner from Tibungco relocation area, said he will just listen to radio reporters watching the live show from their stations. He will also take a day off on Sunday.

He said that for those who do not own a TV set listening to the radio would be better because broadcast anchors provide them with a blow-by-blow account. "Besides, I can use my imagination," he said in the vernacular.

Morales defeated Pacquiao in 2005 via a unanimous decision. The Filipino boxer evened the score when he dealt the Mexican a technical knockout in their rematch in January.

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