Pacquiao fans cheer on their hero during early-morning Abu Dhabi screenings

ABU DHABI // From the UAE to the Philippines, there was jubilation among Manny Pacquiao’s legion of fans as he signed off his boxing career with one final victory. Many venues organised early morning screenings of the fight, in which Pacquiao, 37, beat Timothy Bradley on points in Las Vegas to regain the WBO welterweight […]

ABU DHABI // From the UAE to the Philippines, there was jubilation among Manny Pacquiao’s legion of fans as he signed off his boxing career with one final victory.

Many venues organised early morning screenings of the fight, in which Pacquiao, 37, beat Timothy Bradley on points in Las Vegas to regain the WBO welterweight title.

At the Resto Pinoy in Khalidiyah, fans began arriving at about 6.30am to watch on large screens set up in the restaurant.

There was jumping and clapping, cheering and shouting as Pacquiao, a sporting hero in his homeland, easily overcame Bradley by knocking him down twice to gain an unanimous points decision.

“My favourite moment from the match was when Bradley fell,” said Jonelson Bayani, a Filipino who works for an electronics company in Abu Dhabi.

“The match was good but not very good. I felt that Pacquiao was playing safe because he is retiring.”

Mr Bayani said the atmosphere in his home country for Pacquiao’s fights was very different.

“We watch it on the streets with our family and other people,” he said.

Francis San Diego, the manager of Resto Pinoy, said that the crowd of about 50 to 60 people was not as large for Pacquiao’s previous fight, in which he lost against Floyd Mayweather in May last year.

Davina Montero, one of the few women in the crowd, had dropped her children off at school before heading to the restaurant.

“I’m a big fan of Pacquiao and support him. He is the pride of Philippines,” she said.

She also said she was a bit disappointed with the fight, despite her hero’s victory.

“We have watched better matches from Pacquiao,” said Ms Montero, a massage therapist who has lived in the UAE for 10 years.

In the Philippines, the bout was shown in cinemas, parks and army bases across the country.

Ms Montero said that in her home country, the crime rate and traffic congestion fall whenever Pacquiao fights because so many fans are watching.

Pacquiao, who won 10 world titles across a record eight different weight divisions during his 66 fights, has retired to follow a career in politics.

arizvi2@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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