Philippines, Sports, television

Pacquiao, Donaire Fight on the Same Night Sunday

Two for the price of one.

On Sunday, November 6 (Saturday, November 5 Las Vegas time), two of the Philippines’ best pugilists will fight on the same night. That’s right, for the first time ever, Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire will be on one card together.

The headline attraction will pit Pacquiao against Jessie Vargas for the WBO Welterweight title. Prior to that, Donaire will defend his WBO Super Bantamweight title against unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno.

Both Pacquiao and Donaire are considered one of the best boxers in the world. Their fights have become the stuff of legend, and each have the titles to back their claim.

However, they have never shared the same stage. That is, until this Sunday in Las Vegas.

For Pacquiao, his return to the ring came unexpectedly. After defeating Timothy Bradley in April, he initially announced his retirement in order to focus as a politician, but despite winning a seat in the Senate (with mostly negative reviews from critics), Pacquiao decided to give boxing another shot.

For Donaire, it will be his third defense of the WBO Super Bantamweight title he won over Cesar Juarez in December of last year. Two weeks after Pacquiao’s victory over Bradley, Donaire successfully defended his belt against Zsolt Bedak.

As far as the Philippine broadcast rights go, that honor goes to Solar Entertainment and GMA Network, since Pacquiao is tagged as the headliner in this card. It will air on a delayed basis on GMA and Solar Sports, and live on Super Radyo DZBB 594 and all cable and satellite pay-per-view outlets.

For Donaire, it will be his first fight since 2009’s bout with Rafael Concepcion (which coincidentally aired on GMA) in which ABS-CBN does not have any television rights. The said network has owned the rights to all Top Rank cards that do not involve Pacquiao since 2010.

With two of the Philippines’ top-ranked boxers fighting on the same night, expect the millions to congregate and watch this unprecedented event blow-by-blow. But like Pacquiao’s last fight with Bradley, it remains to be seen if there are still believers in the Pacman.

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Philippines, Sports, television

The Other Pinoy Pride

Two simultaneous boxing events featuring rising Filipino boxers Johnriel Casimero, Genesis Servania and Arthur Villanueva will be aired this weekend. ABS-CBN and ALA Promotions’ successful ‘Pinoy Pride’ series will have its 22nd installment featuring Servania against Panamanian boxer Rafael Concepcion for the WBO Intercontinental Super Bantamweight Championship, and Villanueva against Mexican Jose Cabrera for the WBO International Super Flyweight Championship. And over at GMA, its ‘Laban ng Lahi’ series will pit Casimero against Mexican Felipe Salgueiro for the IBF Junior Flyweight Championship. ‘Laban ng Lahi’ airs tonight after ‘Celebrity Bluff’, while ‘Pinoy Pride’ airs tomorrow morning after ‘Matanglawin’.

While the Pinoy Pride series has become well-known for promoting young and up-and-coming talent from the ALA stable, it has been a different story for GMA’s ‘Laban ng Lahi’ series. Despite sharing the same aspect of promoting young boxing sensations, GMA produces the series on an independent basis, and through a variety of promoters. Some of the Filipino boxers who have fought in the series include Casimero, Donnie Nietes, Denver Cuello, Dodie Boy Penalosa, Brian Viloria, Marvin Sonsona and female boxer Ana Julaton.

Some of the fights featured on the series have also been re-aired on the ‘All Sports’ program on GMA News TV, which contrary to its name, has been mostly synonymous with airing boxing matches. In addition, some of the aforementioned boxers have also been profiled in another GNTV program, ‘Sports Pilipinas’.

Even though the ‘Laban ng Lahi’ series has been decently successful in its own right, it has suffered from a lack of promotion, sporadic television appearances, and a lack of available talent. The series has also been overshadowed by GMA’s promotion of bouts featuring more well-known boxers such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Timothy Bradley, and Manny Pacquiao. In contrast, ‘Pinoy Pride’ on ABS-CBN has maintained stability over the years because of the ALA Promotions’ positive track record to training and planning the careers of their talents, in addition to aggressive promotional tactics. Some of the ALA talents went on to achieve international success after their appearances on ‘Pinoy Pride’.

The ‘Laban ng Lahi’ series may be considered GMA’s answer to ‘Pinoy Pride’, but unless they can find a stable with the same vision as ALA’s, their own series is considered an afterthought in the pro boxing scene.

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