The Filipino people are all united behind boxing icon Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao as he faces undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas on Sunday (Philippine time), Malacañang said on Saturday.
In a radio interview, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said that Filipinos are all rooting for Pacquiao and want to see him prevail.
“Of course, what we all wanted to see tomorrow is the victory of our ‘National Fist (Pambansang Kamao),” Valte told government run dzRB radio in Filipino.
The Palace official said that regardless of the outcome, Filipinos will not lose their respect and support for the Filipino boxing champion.
“What we wanted to tell Congressman Manny Pacquiao is that whatever will be the outcome after the fight, the Filipino people will continue to support him,” she said.
Meanwhile, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said win or lose, Pacquiao has already created a legacy in boxing.
“Win or lose, Manny has already brought tremendous global honor and respect to the Philippines. Manny’s feat has not only created a legacy in the history of boxing but his rags-to-riches story likewise inspires our youth that be determined and work hard to succeed,” Belmonte said.
“We wish Manny the very best and throw our full support behind our Pambansang Kamao as he endeavors to bring pride to our nation once again. Mabuhay ka, Manny at nawa’y pagpalain kang muli [Long live, Manny and may you be blessed again],” he added.
In a rare common cause, both rebels and soldiers in conflict areas in Mindanao will watch Pacquiao take on Mayweather, with hopes that Sunday’s mega-bout will bring a brief respite from violence.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the military will have separate free viewings of the Las Vegas clash. The Philippines has been known to come to a standstill during its boxing hero’s fights, with criminals and guerrillas of various stripes eagerly following his matches.
The MILF will watch the fight on a widescreen TV at a compound in Maguindanao, said MILF vice-chairman Ghadzali Jaafar.
“They asked me if they could show it outside my office. I told them okay, I see no problem with that,” Jaafar told Agence France-Presse.
He said both MILF members and non-members were free to watch.
When asked whether he expects that there will be no trouble during the fight, he said: “We pray for that. That is our hope.”
Regional military spokeswoman Capt. Joan Petinglay confirmed that the military forces in Maguindanao will also have their own showing of the fight in a gymnasium on Sunday.
With AFP and MOH SAADUDDIN, Correspondent