CHICAGO (May 2) -– Chicago Filipino television sports fans hope the first round Game 7 between the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics will not go into overtime when they meet in Boston Saturday (May 2) night (Sunday morning, Manila time).
They don’t want any distraction when they watch their own Manny Pacquiao face British champion Ricky Hatton on HBO pay-per view starting at 8 p.m. Central time Saturday (10 a.m. Sunday, Manila time) at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Bulls-Celtics game, which will tip off at 7 p.m. Central time (9 a.m. Sunday, Manila time) normally lasts two hours during regular season.
But if the previous five of the last six games of the series were any indication, it is very likely that the seventh and deciding Game 7 could spell into overtime again and could likely cut into their viewing time for the Pacquiao-Hatton junior welterweight championship fight.
Thankfully, just like any other major boxing event, the Pacquiao-Hatton main event, only starts about two hours later, when undercard fights are over.
The Bulls-Celtics series has set NBA records with four overtime games and seven overtime periods.
The only other NBA game that has taken the interest Filipino basketball fans is the series between Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, which like the Bulls-Celtics series, are also headed to Game 7 on Sunday (Monday, Manila time). The Miami Heat is led by Filipino American head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Random survey by this reporter shows that most of the Filipino boxing fans see Pacquiao beating Hatton under 12 rounds.
Chicago-based international artist Bueno Silva, a townmate of Pacquiao in General Santos City, said the Pacman will knock out Hatton in the 5th round. Silva thinks it’s the food (kinilaw – a raw fish in a vinegar) from which Manny draws his charm.
Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Sun reported Friday, British fans outnumbered the Filipino fans during the weigh-in Thursday of Pacman and the Hitman at the MGM Grand Garden Arena packed with about 5,000-plus crowd.
“I just wanted to say thank you to all the fans,” Hatton was quoted as saying. Hatton tipped the scales right at the 140-pound mark for his junior welterweight fight against Pacquiao, who came in at 138.
“Thanks to the U.S. fans, the Filipino fans and especially the British and fans from England. The party has already started.”
Meanwhile, Golden Boy Promotions posted a statement from Pacquiao as saying that “I am ready for the fight on Saturday. I know Ricky Hatton has trained hard for this fight. I have seen it on 24/7.
“I respect Ricky Hatton. He is a good person. He is a nice guy and I would like to remind everyone that there is nothing personal for this fight and we are just doing our job to give a good fight to the people and make them happy.
“Specifically to the Filipino people who are looking for a victory on Saturday, I will do my best to bring honor to our country.
“I would like to especially like to thank my wife Jinkee, and my Mom, who is here for the first time watching one of my fight live.
“My last fight was impressive, I won money.”
On the other hand, the Mabuhay Radio website of Los Angeles, California quoted Friday the column of Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times headlined “Manny Pacquiao, Ricky Hatton news conference is a con job.”
Mr. Dwyre said, “That’s the eternal charm. Boxing is the world’s only honestly dishonest sport. It is the University of Con Artists, the Academy of the Slick. It is the worm of organized athletics. Cut off a piece of it here, another there, and it still keeps wiggling.”
He said at the “Wednesday’s extravaganza, in a huge ballroom at the MGM Grand, where the media messengers of this madness flocked in large numbers, included a fashion show, strange bedfellows, comments on international relations, insults and poetry, tugs at the heart strings, and the ever-present slick-selling.
“Somewhere along the line, (Bob) Arum introduced a member of Pacquiao’s entourage. Before another Pacquiao fight, Arum had introduced a high-ranking Philippine official as “Governor what’s-his-name.” This time, he called Wacky Salud to the microphone.
“Wacky was up for about a minute. He wore dark glasses and spoke in a deep gravely voice. His words appeared to be English. If this hadn’t been a boxing news conference, it could have passed as an audition for a mafia movie.”