Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pacquiao-Mayweather bout draws cockfight-like betting at Sorsogon government gym
By Danny O. Calleja

SORSOGON CITY, May 3 (PNA) -- Gamblers and cockfighting aficionados here took a different road Sunday, emptying the local cockpit arena and jampacking the provincial gymnasium where a giant television monitor that showed the Pacquiao-Mayweather “superfight” was mounted.

Outside the gymnasium and elsewhere around the city, streets were empty of public utility vehicles, most shops were closed and the public market and grocery stores were unfilled with the usually thick Sunday shoppers.

“Everybody, especially men, is nowhere to be found. They skipped works just to see the fight in television at home or anywhere else that public viewing was offered free by local politicians,” Henry Young, a shop owner said.

That was because the “superfight”, he said, drew an unprecedented interest among locals who wanted to see for themselves how their idol would handle and hopefully conquer the undefeated American world boxing champion.

That expectation, however, fizzled out with Pacquiao losing in points decision.

At the gymnasium, betting was done the same way it goes almost daily inside the Sorsogon Cockpit Arena, which is partly owned by Sorsogon Ggovenor Raul Lee, but unlike in cockfights that winners and losers are distributed squarely, the Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown left almost everybody here losers with only about a handful going home as runaway money winners.

Pacquiao got the betting odd with around 90 percent for him, as bettors rather put bets by heart, pinning hopes to their hero, the “pambansang kamao (national fist)”, notwithstanding worldwide calculated bets using statistics that listed Mayweather the -200 favorite with Pacquiao the +160 underdog.

A few who are called “capitalista”, mostly moneyed provincial government contractors, served as takers of the bets for Pacquiao in “double-your-money” betting scheme, which means a hundred peso bet for Mayweather wins Php200.

The betting process was as noisy as how it happens in cockfights but the passing of money from the losers’ hands to the winners’ was silent and fast with almost everybody wanted to hurry home shaking their heads in frustrations.

June Homo, a cockfighting aficionado from this city who lost Php5,000 in the fight, said the betting money was hauled by only about three capitalists who took all bets for Pacquiao.

More than Php1 million changed hands from the losers to the winners on that occasion inside the gymnasium, he said. (PNA) lam /FGS/DOC/cbd/rsm