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Friday, July 10, 2015

"D-Day" Diary Part II

[caption id="attachment_5768" align="alignnone" width="3264"]D-Day Official weigh-in Filipino light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes on the scales during the D-Day Official weigh-in[/caption]

D-Day official weigh-in

March 17 @ 10:00 a.m. - I went out of Manila International Airport terminal III. I still have an hour before the official weigh-in starts. I took a bus to Taft Avenue to catch a train (LRT) to Cubao station. From Cubao, it's walking distance to the weigh-in venue.

When I was inside the bus, sitting at the back sit a Chinese young lady sits beside me. She's around in her mid 20s, fair complexion, slim and pretty. She's wearing a simple blouse and skirt above the knee. A big round brown hat sits on her lap. She seemed alone.

"Hi how are you?" I tried to open up a conversation. "Hello!" her short reply to me.

I ask her where she's going and she said she wanted to buy some post stamp as a souvenir. She's in her last day as a tourist. Her flight will be tonight. She said she will be going to Mall of Asia, which is in the opposite direction. I give her the right direction how to go to MOA.

We disembarked from the bus together and we parted ways. I stopped for a while in a corner where you can find the famous Manila street vendors selling stuffs. I bought few sticks of cigarette, lighted one smoke for few minutes. Few minutes later, I started climbing the stairs leading to the LRT ticket booth, when I saw her moving in the same direction.

"Hey! You're supposed to take a bus at the other side of the highway going to MOA?" I told her.

She looks confused. I bought ticket for two to Cubao and told her to come with me and buy those post stamps from there. I wanted to help her. Filipinos are very hospitable people. But there are few who take advantage to some foreigners that look uncertain of their direction and alone. So I offered my help. I told her to be careful.

Although as a Filipino I don't like the way how the Chinese behaving the disputed Spratly Islands but I didn't hesitate to help her. I've been in foreign lands too and I know the risk being lost in a metropolis.

We boarded the train together and we are on our way to the weigh-in venue. While on the train, I told her stories about boxing. I asked her if she known Zou Shiming... to my surprise she said "I don't know him". I thought Shiming is so huge in China. But not all people in China know him, or maybe she just doesn't care about boxing at all.

@ 11:00 a.m. - we are heading to the Araneta Coliseum and the weigh-in already started. I told her that I can't be with her around because I will be covering the weigh-in. I showed her the mall complex. I also showed her the direction how to get back to the airport too. Before that, we had lunch together at Jollibee Farmers Plaza. She left and said thank you several times. I reminded her to take care. I'm happy that in my little way I helped her. I watch her walked away till I lost sight of her. Then, I shifted my sight to the weigh-in. This is it!

"Can I come inside" I told to one of the security guard that secures the perimeter of "D-Day" boxing weigh-in. I've got no clear answer. Although, I'm hesitant to come in, you know... it's my first time, but I came in anyway.

I expected a huge crowd at the weigh-in. Boxing took a huge leap to prominence in the Philippines because of Pacquiao's accomplishments. If it was Pacquiao's weigh-in regardless of opponent, there must be massive crowd. But local fighters other than Pacquiao, even if the fight is held in the country's capital, don't have the massive support from Filipinos. Boxing is just secondary to basketball in the Philippines.

The venue of the weigh-in was the historic Araneta Coliseum. The venue of one the greatest fight in the sport of boxing: The "Thrila in Manila" in 1978, the final battle between Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The weigh-in was situated near the Araneta Coliseum green entrance.

I took my camera and started taking pictures at the undercard fighters taking their turn at the weighing scale.

"D-Day" Diary Part II

Moments later, Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire's name was called by respected boxing analyst and journalist, Ronnie Natanielsz. Nonito came out. The look of his face showed he's so damn serious and ready to rumble. Moving back to 122 pound, Donaire's physique looked so strong. The baby fats hanging around his waist during the Nicholas Walters weigh-in can't be seen on Donaire's super bantamweight frame.

William Prado, Donaire's opponent, who tipped the scales earlier, stood beside Donaire for the photo-ops. Then I experience watching for the first time fighters doing the "face-off" live in front of me. It was a wonderful feeling. I can feel the intensity and tension. I can feel Donaire's desire to win this fight. He was knockout by Nicholas Walters in his previous fight. This time he's all business. I can see it in his blazing eyes. You can view the photos that I took during the weigh-in by clicking the link here:

Next on the scale are the main event fighters.  Nathanielzs called Gilberto Parra onto the scales and then Donnie Nietes followed. Both men were right in the light flyweight limit 108 lbs. They looked strong and ready to rumble. Nietes really looks comfortable at the weight although he's been fighting at 108 lbs for several years and I heard few times that he's moving up to flyweight.

Parra also seemed comfortable at the weight but looked a little bit pale. His 18 wins although most of them were contested at the light flyweight limit Parra did weighed several pounds over in few fights. He even fought at flyweight in his fifth professional fight weighing in 112.5 lbs in the official weigh-in. But there's no serious indication that he struggled to make weight.

So, without any weight issues to all fighters, I'm so excited for fight night.

Read "D-Day" Diary Part I -

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