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A sparring partner knowns as a heater (RIGHT) is used to rile a fighting cock before its bout in May’s 2007 World Slasher Cup II. (Paul Watson / LAT)
Condemned as barbaric bloodsport by animal rights activists, cockfighting is legal entertainment in the Philippines, where it contributes an estimated $1 billion a year to the economy. (Paul Watson / LAT)
GAME FACE: Johnnie Phillips of Atlanta was one of at least 17 Americans with roosters entered in May’s 2007 World Slasher Cup II. (Paul Watson / LAT)
FILLED TO CAPACITY: Araneta Coliseum, which has hosted such marquee events as the 1975 Thrilla in Manila heavweight boxing match betweebn Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier as well as a mass led by Pope John Paul II, was the scene of cockfighting’s World Slasher Cup II. (Paul Watson / LAT)
BIG BUCKS: Kristos, the bet-takers, took an estimated $400,000 in wagers on a single night at last month’s event. (Paul Watson / LAT)
THE END IS NEAR: A sentenciador prepares to give a prevailing cock its last two pecks at its exhausted rival before declaring a winner in a match at the World Slasher Cup II outside Manila. (Paul Watson / LAT)