HIGH noon in Manila on Sunday and the Fight of the Century in Las Vegas was dragging on to the latter rounds when it suddenly started to drizzle outside the San Andres Gym.
It seemed the gods began to join the nation in crying and mourning as Manny Pacquiao went on to lose to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their megafight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.
“Syempre malungkot,” said Adam, one of the roughly 7,000 people who trooped to the venue to watch the free viewing sponsored by its barangay.
It was not just rain that dropped, but sweat from everybody who endured the oven-hot temperatures inside the more than two-decade-old facility just to witness the Filipino boxing icon in action live, at least on a large projector.
“Parang nasa pugon,” said the 24-year-old Adam, among nearly all of the men in attendance who removed their shirts during the fight. “Pero tiniis ko kasi syempre kababayan natin yun eh.”
There was air-conditioning, but it was hardly felt.
Champion coach Turo Valenzona also came in attendance, alone, and had no complaints about the heat.
“Hindi naman,” said the 72-year-old basketball coach, who lives nearby along Sta. Ana. “Sanay na tayo sa mainit.”
But Valenzona did regret missing some action in the eighth to 10th rounds caused by a technical difficulty on the broadcast.
“Nung round eight nabitin, nandun yung magandang laban eh,” the former San Sebastian coach said.
For failing to floor Mayweather, Valenzona believes Pacquiao really had a tough time in gaining the nod of the judges.
“Pagka-champion at hindi mo napabagsak, mahirap mo talunin yan,” Valenzona said, although, he feels it shouldn’t have been a unanimous decision for the flamboyant American fighter.
“Tingin ko dapat split decision. At least si Pacquiao, hindi masyado natamaan yung mukha.”
The crowd over at Alamat ng Garahe, a bar under Nagtahan flyover which hosted its own viewing party, was convinced Mayweather deserved the one-sided victory.
“Hindi ko siya (Pacquiao) nakitaan ng gutom katulad ng dati,” bar part-owner Kris Sapitula said. “Mga Filipino fans yung natalo dito.”