A freebie from the Internet

A freebie from the Internet

Summary: Except perhaps for some boxing aficionados in Thailand, the name Manny Pacquiao is virtually unheard of in the rest of Southeast Asia where soccer or football is the ruling sport. But in the Philippines, boxing is a religion and Pacquiao is the god of the highest order.

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TOPICS: Philippines
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Except perhaps for some boxing aficionados in Thailand, the name Manny Pacquiao is virtually unheard of in the rest of Southeast Asia where soccer or football is the ruling sport. But in the Philippines, boxing is a religion and Pacquiao is the god of the highest order.

Every time this guy, who they dubbed "Pacman", fights in the ring, the whole Philippines literally grinds to a halt. For a few minutes, all of 80 million Filipinos forget the hardships and tragedies that so often afflict them as together they applaud his pugilistic exploits.

That was certainly the case last Sunday, June 29, when the Pacman again appeared at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas to methodically destroy Mexican-American David Diaz and take way his lightweight belt. It was Pacquiao’s fourth world title in four weight divisions--the first Asian to accomplish the feat.

Watching the frenetic Pacman fight is a must for every Filipino, whether nine or 90 years old. For some who can afford it, the PPV (pay-per-view) is the best option as this allows them to enjoy the bout live at the comfort of their sofa.

Others who have less money settle for movie houses where they can be treated to a live widescreen spectacle. This, however, will require you to go to the venue on an early Sunday morning (the fight is usually held Saturday nights in the United States) and shell out about 400 pesos (US$10).

For those who are lazy enough to go to the movie houses or simply do not have the money to spare, the only remaining option is to stay at home and watch it on television or listen to the AM radio. But the trouble with watching it on TV is that it’s overly delayed (by at least three hours), while radio does not give the thrill of seeing the actual exchange of punches between the boxers.

But, in this age of the Internet, surely there's a way to watch the greatest Filipino boxer display his skills atop the ring without subscribing to PPV or suffering the indignity of viewing tons of advertisements on TV. I’m not talking about pirated DVDs that immediately turn up in the streets after each of his fights, but it's something related to that.

In Pacquaio's last two title bouts, I resorted to the "free" live streaming webcast offered by a multitude of Web sites. Yup, that's right. This is a phenomenon that has cropped up recently although, just like anything free, the quality of the broadcast is not as good as those that come with a price.

For the Pacman's recent match against Diaz, a friend directed me to a nice site which provided a rather large screen to stream the fight live. On the side of the high-resolution screen was an interactive feedback window where viewers, mostly if not all Filipinos, gave their witty commentaries as the bout progressed.

So, while my brother was sticking his ears to the radio speakers to know what was going on in Las Vegas and the rest of the neighborhood was still waiting for the match to be aired some three hours later, I already saw at the precise moment how the "Fighting Pride of the Philippines" decked his rival with a devastating left cross to the jaw.

I'm not sure if the site had the permission to stream it via the Web. But it’s likely that this is not the case, just like most of the Web sites that broadcast the match online. The big promoters and broadcasting firms, or even Pacquiao himself, may not like it, but this Internet mutiny will not merely thrive but surely swell in the future.

Topic: Philippines

Melvin G. Calimag

About Melvin G. Calimag

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Association.

Joel D. Pinaroc

About Joel D. Pinaroc

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

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3 comments
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  • A freebie from the Internet

    You wrote:

    "Except perhaps for some boxing aficionados in Thailand, the name Manny Pacquiao is virtually unheard of in the rest of Southeast Asia where soccer or football is the ruling sport."

    Get out of your IT shell, there's a huge Nike billboard in the heart of Beijing where Pacquiao is featured together with superstars Kobe Bryant, Ronaldo, Roger Federer, Maria Shaparova and Chinese athlete Xiang Liu. Pacquiao headlines the sport pages of major newspapers all over the world on a very regular basis. Pacquiao is already huge in Japan and other Asian countries. Pacquiao's win last Saturday graces the main page of ESPN.com and major dailies all over the world.

    Hope that you wrote with a little sense next time around.
    anonymous
  • A freebie from the Internet

    Dong,

    Thanks for your "violent" reaction. Anyway, the first paragraph that I wrote was purely based on a personal observation and is not meant to downplay or denigrate the popularity and greatness of Pacquiao. Just like any Filipino, I'm also a huge fan of the Pacman.

    My statement is based on the conversations I had in the past with colleagues in Southeast Asia (and not in Beijing, by the way) who said they are not familiar with Pacquiao. But this doesn't mean anything against Pacquaio; it's just that boxing is not big in countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, to name a few. This publication is targeted at readers residing or located in the region so the first paragraph is only meant as a background.
    anonymous
  • A freebie from the Internet

    I agree with author. Pacquiao' 'big' no doubt about. I would'nt even be surprised if Pacquiao gets invited to a Jay Leno talk show or get featured in People magazine.
    But even a casual observer will see that Pacquiao, being a cross-over, boxing superstar, does'nt mean you'll find billboards with him in them in every nook and cranny of every country all across the globe.
    Speaking of the region, soccer is big in Singapore and Malaysia, as is Muay Thai in Thailand (although boxing is also popular, particularly on the amateur level) and who knows what in Vietnam or Cambodia.
    If there's one country in ASEAN where boxing is also popular, it could be in Indonesia, where a boxer named Chris John once defeated, albeit controversially, the same Juan Manuel Marquez that gave the PacMan fits in their two bouts, IMHO

    MJ
    anonymous