Malaybalay sets up wide screen for Pacquiao watchers

The city government of Malaybalay announced on radio that it is mounting a wide screen for free public viewing of the bout at the covered Freedom Park.

The Park, which houses tennis and basketball courts and a multi-purpose stage, has been the venue of government and non-government events such as concerts and big programs.

Many residents here said the fight, dubbed "Unfinished Business,” commands more attention because they consider it a "big fight" for Pacquiao.

"Kinahanglan modaug na gyud siya ani nga fight kay draw man kaha sila sauna," (He needs to win fight as it was a draw before) said Angelo, 22, a student of Bukidnon State University.

He said he would join his friends to watch the fight in the park.

Nong Fredo, a rela (motorized tricycle) driver, said it is a good treat for the public. "It is good to watch boxing with my colleagues," he said.

He said many of the rela drivers will not work on Sunday.

"Mas saba man gud ug mas lingaw," (It is louder and more fun) Jim, an internet cafe attendant said.

"Kana pa kay free, ubanon gyud nako ako pamilya," (Now that's for free, I''ll bring my family to the park)," Ondoy, a shopper at a local grocer said.

James Neo, a local sports columnist, said people will have more fun watching the fight in public. "I will watch it in the park myself," he said.

Neo said even if he has cable television at home, nothing beats widescreen public viewing as you are watching with the community.

"It's boring to watch it from home," he said.

He said the local cable television operator is charging only P80 for residential client and P500 for commercial use.

Restaurants have also promoted their own meal and drink packages for the fight. A local hotel has offered its function hall for pay-per-view screening plus three bottles of light beer for P100.

Vendors are also bracing for the showdown. A vendor of steamed peanuts at the Plaza Rizal said he would prepare more packs to sell at the park. "Kung tua didto ang mga tawo, didto nalang pud ko mamaligya," (if the people are there, I'll sell there), she said.

"Pero magtabok-tabok ra ko ani tungod kay Domingo man ugma. Moatang pud ko sa mga manimbahay," (But I'll sell across because tomorrow is Sunday and there are many churchgoers, too).

"Maayo ni kay sunod-sunod ang bibo," (This is good business) said Gogoy, another vendor referring to last week's Kaamulan Festival here.

Pacquiao will challenge Marquez' hold on the World Boxing Council super featherweight title at Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas United States, four years after their draw match in 2004. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)