Saturday, May 2, 2015

Somalia awaits #MayPac historic boxing bout.

MOGADISHU-THE HORN OF AFRICA, MAY 2, 2015 - It has been touted as the biggest fight of the century and the most lucrative bout in the history of world boxing and just like the rest of the world many boxing fans from in Somalia will not be sleeping tonight as they anxiously await the much hyped boxing match between American pound-to-pound best defensive fighter Floyd "Money" Mayweather against his livewire challenger, Manny Pacquiao from the Philippine's.

A walk in the streets of Mogadishu revealed an unknown love of boxing in the streets of Mogadishu, with the news of the early morning bout dubbed #MayPac in the social media from the tow fighters initials dominated the streets talks and the Mogadishu coffee houses chitchats.

Support for the two boxers was almost shared equal with Mayweather slightly edging out Pacquiao. Just few years ago such enthusiasm for any sports would not have been openly revealed when the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab militants ruled much of southern Somalia banning all forms of sports or entertainment including even the traditional colorful Somali weddings.

Thanks to the improving security and the ouster of the militants, the people of Somalia can now enjoy watching soccer, movies even dare attend weddings.

"Go, go, Mayweather, make us proud," ranted 57 year old Ahmed Gedi who claims to be Floyd Mayweather diehard fan who has been watching boxing since the days of Mohamed Ali. "I believe Mayweather is currently the best boxer in the world and I can't wait to see him maul the little Filipino Pacquiao because Mayweather has never lost any fight, that is how good he is,"

Even the ladies were not left behind, 23 year old Shamsa Ibrahim said she supports Manny Pacquiao because according to her he more handsome than Mayweather.

"Manny is a superstar, he is loved by millions of people in the world because he is down to earth and very simple. I hope he beats the American boxer," she said, at the famous K4 junction in Mogadishu.

Electronic business was brisk in Mogadishu as locals who did not have cable TV's were seen doing last minute shopping for TV sets and local pay TV decoders so that they don't miss the much awaited bout.

I met Adan Mohamed at an electronic shop bargaining for a decoder to watch the match.

"The fighting had slipped my mind, that is why am trying to buy a decoder now and fix it before the match begins," the 45 year said, "I just love boxing. I want Mayweather to win because he is a better fighter than Manny. Many people in Somali will be watching the fighting because Somalis generally love sports,"

Speaking from the northeast post city of Bosasso, Abdi Hassan said he plans to sleep early tonight so that he does not miss the fight scheduled for 4am Somalia time.

"Many people in Somalia know about the fight because they watch local and international televisions and also because we have many boxing fans too. I have been waiting for this bout for many years and I cannot miss it now that it has finally come to pass. Am with team Pacman," he said.

Further south in the port city of Kismayu, which was
a few years ago a no go zone let alone people there watching any kind of entertainment, people said the boxing provides them with a rare opportunity to relax and away from their daily struggles

"I wish the fighting was much earlier in the night. I will now be forced to sleep very early in order to wake up by 4am so that I can watch my most favorite boxer Manny Pacquiao square it off with Mayweather. It will be an incredible duel that boxing fans across the world have been waiting for, I can't miss it come what may," Abdinasir Nur, 19, said by telephone.