The Ultimate Fighters
Cockfighting Fans Flock to Manila to Watch Birds Battle to the Death
By TED LERNER
On an unusually rainy January evening in Manila, a raucous crowd of about 3,000 at the modern and brightly lit Araneta Coliseum is tense as two fighting cocks prepare to battle inside a dirt pit at the World Slasher Cup.
Hundreds of kristos, or bookmakers, call out and flash hand signals to record the bets of their patrons. A referee removes leather sheaths from the five-centimeter steel blades each bird wears strapped to one leg. Moments later, the cocks fly, kick and slash inflicting deep wounds. In less than a minute, the fight is done.