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The Red Assassin
Rhesus Park’s groundbreaking partnership with Filipino gamecock trainer Manny Agriado seems destined to bestow sporting immortality on us both as we bid to turn his brightest protégé, The Red Assassin, into one of the legends of this ancient and noble sport. Follow his journey to glory in the Slasher Derby step by step at rhesuspark.com.
Building The Dream
Our five-figure investment in The Red Assassin has already transformed Manny’s legendary Las Piñas training centre, Cock City, making it the safest and most technologically advanced cockfighting camp in the whole of the Philippines.
Armed guards now patrol the main gate (pictured above), in case trainers from the rival Top of the Cocks camp attempt sabotage or try to copy Manny’s award-winning methods, and they have already shot dead two spies masquerading as Japanese tourists.
But with a talent as prodigious as The Red Assassin we’re leaving nothing to chance. In the unlikely event that our guards, psychotic Americans who were dishonourably discharged by the Marines in Manila, fail in their duty then two hungry African lions (pictured below) are patiently waiting to devour any trespassers.
Since our sponsorship deal, Manny has been able to invest in four state-of-the-art cockfighting rings, where The Red Assassin and his fellow Slasher Derby hopefuls will prepare themselves for the pressure of fighting in the prestigious Araneta Coliseum one day.
While we have every faith in Manny turning The Red Assassin into one of cockfighting’s most fabled performers, Rhesus Park can’t afford for its first venture in sports sponsorship to end in failure. That’s why we’ve brought in three disgraced officials from the Russian athletics federation to make sure our gamecock receives the finest performance-enhancing drugs money can buy.
“This might sound like outrageous cheating but Filipino cockfighting is very much like top level cycling,” explains Rhesus Park CEO David Alsatian. “If you’re not doping, you’re losing. Our rivals at Top of the Cocks are all backed by corporate finance from America and we all know about their approach to ethics. All we’re doing is securing a level playing field."
Manny admits his attempts to win the Slasher Derby in recent years have been left "high and dry" by doped-up rivals and has welcomed the input of our Russian experts. "We've been getting by on pure adrenalin and gamecock testosterone so it will be good to have some proper drugs for once," he said.
Hit the road chaps
Thanks to Rhesus Park’s money, Manny was able to draw up an extensive schedule for pre-season friendlies after investing in a tour bus that will take The Red Assassin all across the Philippines.
After visiting the most exclusive dealership in Las Pinas, Manny eventually splashed out on a classic BMW campervan in brilliant white (pictured right), which led to three marriage proposals from locals who suddenly found his erectile dysfunction less of a deal-breaker.
“I must admit, I was flattered by this interest from the ladies but I turned all three proposals down,” said Manny at the time. “I’m taking The Red Assassin all over The Philippines so I’m sure I’ll get some better offers. There’s enough room for a mattress in the back so I’m hoping the van will be rocking in every town we fight in after I use some of your cash to invest in some bluies.”
Manny’s wildest dreams were indeed realised on the month-long tour, adding notches to his mattress in Bontoc, Bananue, Mindoro, Chocolate Hills, Davao and Zamboanga as The Red Assassin’s reputation was bolstered with each thrilling victory.
Of the 13 fights our gamecock took part in during pre-season, he claimed 10 kills and won the other three fights on unanimous points decisions, leaving Manny on a high ahead of the competitive action. “I knew from the first time I saw him in the ring that our boy had the talent to be a Slasher Derby contender,” Manny told rhesuspark.com.
“Now I’m convinced that he could win the bloody thing. I haven’t seen a pre-season like this since the great Thunderbird in 1995.”
Pathway to the Araneta
First Qualifying Round
Venue: Samal, Davao del Norte.
Opponent: El Greco.
Result: Victory (opponent retired).
Not much was expected of The Red Assassin during his first competitive bout but the class that has marked him out for greatness in Manny’s eyes was evident as he outclassed the hapless El Greco. Indeed, his poor opponent, a journeyman pro who has never risen above the local leagues, would have headed for an early grave had his corner not pulled him out of the ring just as our man was about to deliver the coup de grace.
Manny’s verdict: The first couple of bouts are all about grinding out results but some of the moves Ang Mga Pulang Mamamatay-tao (the local phrase for The Red Assassin) pulled off were mightily impressive. If he keeps up this sort of the form then it bodes well. We can’t get complacent though as he indulged in a bit of showboating at time and that could prove fatal against a better opponent.
Second Qualifying Round
Venue: Las Pinas.
Opponent: Intangible Erotica.
Result: Victory (opponent dead).
The Red Assassin’s first bout on home turf was a spectacular one as he vanquished a cocky upstart from Manila and claimed his maiden kill. Poor Intangible Erotica was let down by the pre-match boasts of his trainers as our fired-up boy seized the contest from the off and left his opponent in a bloody pulp within two minutes. They headed back down the road to the capital in tears but also left feeling privileged to have witnessed the genesis of a cockfighting legend.
Manny’s verdict: This brutal victory will teach a lesson to any rival who tries trash-talking in the build-up to a fight. Such braggadocio leads to just one thing when you are up against Ang Mga Pulang Mamamatay-tao – the quick and violent death of your gamecock. However, while I was pleased to see my protégé display such a ruthless edge, I was hoping for a longer bout so he could learn more and test his stamina. It should be a stiffer test in the next qualifier.
Third Qualifying Round
Opponent: Marmaduke's Impassioned Revenge.
Result: Victory (opponent dead).
The first doubts were raised about the Red Assassin when he was forced out of action for four weeks after picking up a horrific injury in sparring with veteran campaigner Irresistible Peach at Cock City. But Manny slowly nursed him back to full health and the Assassin defied the doubters by wiping the floor with Marmaduke’s Impassioned Revenge on his first visit to the capital. After a tentative opening he rediscovered his confidence and sent his opponent to his maker within two minutes.
Manny’s verdict: I was worried when Irresistible Peach delivered that fierce blow in training and wondered if pitting Ang Mga Pulang Mamamatay-tao against him in sparring would be my biggest mistake. But the way he bounced back showed he has the character of a champion and I was so sure he would outclass Marmaduke’s Impassioned Revenge that I wagered my entire batch of Viagra on the fight. I put some of my winnings to good use in Manila before we headed back home to Las Pinas.
Opponent: Churchill's Ploughman's Lunch.
Result: Victory (opponent dead).
With the lucrative Slasher Derby group stage tantalisingly within grasp, this play-off round tie was always going to be tense and so it proved in what was by far the biggest test of the Red Assassin's talent and nerve. Forced to make the long trek to Cebu after losing a toss of the coin over home advantage, our boy was further rattled by an impressive start to the bout from Churchill's Ploughman's Lunch. Trained by a menancing British ex-pat, this Cebu cock showed the same passion for warfare as the man he had been named after but just when it looked like he had the Assassin in trouble, our boy dug deep to show what true champions are made of. Making light of a serious eye injury, the Red Assassin roared back off the ropes in the eighth round and eventualy produced the kill after a frenzied bout of pecking.
Manny’s verdict: The result is the only thing that matters when you get to this stage as nobody wants to miss out on the group stage. It was a brutal, troubling fight but we got over the line and that proves Ang Mga Pulang Mamamatay-tao has the courage and desire to go all the way. I now can't wait to see who we get in the group stage at the Araneta. With this cock, we should fear nobody, he can beat them all. But I'm hoping we avoid some of the bigger names so we can fly under the radar a bit.