By Greg Mitchell, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka servicemembers, friends and family had the opportunity to view the live broadcast of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios welterweight boxing match on the big screen for free at Benny Decker Theater, Nov. 24.
The screening was the second major sporting event which has been viewed at the movie theater. Previously, UFC 167: Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks was shown Nov.17.
The plan is to do major sporting events as mush as possible,” said Morale and Welfare Recreation (MWR) Manager Jayson Hilliard. “Anytime there are any big fights – from boxing to UFC – our plan is to provide those events to servicemembers, families and friends. With the future here, the sky is the limit.”
Along with food items generally provided at the theater during movies, the fight card gave customers the opportunity to eat Buffalo Wings and Pizza, as well as beer on tap, all courtesy of the MWR food and beverage department.
“So far this has been great,” said Hilliard. “I have had many people come up to me and say we should have been doing this before and that they are happy that we are doing this now.”
Customers in attendance were pleasantly surprised with the venue.
“It’s really cool to be able to see the fight here in the theater,” said Ronald Hill, a civilian employee. “It’s already a benefit to be able to watch this at home on base for free but this just gives everyone one more relaxing venue to go to and enjoy fights.”
The undercard featured co-main event Evgeny Gradovich vs. Billy Dib (Gradovich by 9 round technical knockout) for the IBF Featherweight title; heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz vs. Tor Hamer (Ruiz by 3 round technical knockout); Zou Shiming vs. Juan Toscano (Shiming by 6 round decision) and Felix Verdejo vs. Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (Verdejo by 6 round decision).
Paquiao won by a 12-round unanimous decision and with the victory came the WBO International Welterweight Championship. Afterwards, he had a message for the people of the Philippines who were suffering as a result of the conditions from Typhoon Haiyan.
“This is not about my comeback,” said Pacquaio. “My victory is a symbol of my people’s comeback from a natural disaster and a natural tragedy.”
Currently, ships and servicemembers from the seventh fleet area of responsibility are in support of relief efforts.
The next event scheduled to be shown on screen at Benny Decker will be the Dec. 29 UFC 168: Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva fight card.