Twelve days into the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier October 1 Thrilla in Manila classic encounter, local organizers had pronounced that the host premier city of the country was ready to stage the 12-round fight as scheduled.
Trainers of both the title-defending Ali and pretender Frazier – Angelo Dundee and Eddie Futch, respectively, for the second time, inspected the Philippine Coliseum venue and its facilities, especially the newly-installed Everlast ring from New York and, in as many times, found everything in order.
Like when they first made an ocular inspection of the fight venue, Dundee and Futch expressed their satisfaction with the efficient way preparations had been handled.
“I have been here once before and the situation was the same. Proof of your people’s expertise in organizing an event of this huge magnitude, “ Futch told everyone in a press conference presided over by Games and Amusements Board chair and co-promoter Louie Tabuena after the inspection.
Tabuena, likewise, announced the names of the three Filipina beauties who will act as round girls during the fight – Pinky Albeerto, Evelyn Abirgos and Emma Infante.
The three were chosen from an original lost of 26 candidates by a panel of judges, headed by Tabuena himself.
Ms. Alberto, at the time of her selection, was working as private secretary at the Southern Negros Development Corp. Ms. Abirgos was a Hyatt Regency Hotel usherette, while Ms. Infante was a student of St. Paul College in Quezon City.
Misses Alberto, Abirgos and Infante were given five round each to work the 15-round world heavyweight championship tussle.
Tabuena had earlier named, too, Filipino referee Carlos “Sonny” Padilla as third man in the ring and his compatriots Larry Nadayag and Alfredo Quiazon as two of the three judges.
With everything but the fight itself being awaited, Tabuena announced several entertainment shows for media men to ease pressure they’d been at in the course of their hectic pre-fight coverage.
On the night of Tabuena’s announcement, for instance, local and visiting journalists were entertained by the “Pangkat Kawayan” (Bamboo Troupe) and the Barangay Dance Troupe during cocktails at the 10th floor of he Bayview Plaza, where the bulk of foreign newsmen were billeted.
Composed of young boys and girls musicians, the world-famous Pangkat Kawayan performed a versatile repertoire with an all-bamboo-made instruments to the delight of their guests.
The special treat, tendered by the Committee on Special events, also featured jazz singer Jacqui Magno in a solo guitar performance.
Teachers from the Philippine Normal College (now Philippine Normal University) featured a rich display of native Philippine dances.