By Allen V. Estabillo
Excitement is running high among thousands of boxing fans here and nearby Sarangani Province as homegrown boxing icon Manny Pacquiao gears up for his highly-anticipated super welterweight title showdown on Sunday against Mexican brawler Antonio Margarito at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Various restaurants, cinemas and other commercial establishments in these areas that offer live pay-per-view telecasts of the mega fight were almost fully booked as of Friday, prompting several small eateries to promote free viewing of the fight to their patrons via cable television.
In this city, the local government distributed more than 6,000 free tickets Saturday morning to the city’s 26 barangay councils for free live viewing anew of the Pacquiao-Margarito fight at the city gymnasium in Barangay Lagao.
Avel Manansala, executive assistant of the city mayor’s office, said Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio personally endorsed the purchase of a pay-per-view slot to facilitate the live telecast of the fight.
The city government had sponsored free live telecasts at the city gymnasium for previous major fights of Pacquiao, who hails from Barangay Labangal here.
The seven-division world boxing champion, who won as representative of the lone congressional district of Sarangani in the last May elections, is fighting former three-time champion Margarito for the vacant World Boxing Council super welterweight title.