Pinoys must support local boxing first

Inquirer Libre - Davao - - SPORTS - By Teo Medina Reynoso

VARIOUS reactions to the recent Andre Ward-Sergei Kovalev world light heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas won by the American via come from behind points decision continue to pour in from Pinoy boxing fans.

The reactions have mostly been of frustration, dissatisfaction and indignation ( Kovalev, a Russian, was a victim of hometown decision ) while there were also a few who expressed fatalism and surrender ( with missives as ‘‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’’

‘‘Boxing is more of a business now than it has ever been. Hometown decision has been part and parcel of international pro boxing’’ which I submit are indeed true to some extent.

Having followed boxing since my grade school days for more than five decades now and perhaps having a higher frustration threshold ( read: being more realistic ) in face of what are perceived as bad or bum decisions, I am both amused but still perplexed at the reactions.

Amused because it was as if that fight has sounded the death knell for international professional boxing. People said that same thing in the aftermath of the Pacquiao-Mayweather richest fight in history last year. And yet boxing has continued not only to survive but even flourish.

In fact this year has seen boxing as its most active with bigfights scheduled up to the last days of 2016.

But I am also perflexed that Pinoy boxing fans reacted and have continued to react strongly on a fight that did not involve a Filipino and did not affect and will not have any profound, long-range effect on Philippine pro boxing .That is saddening.

For Pinoy fans showed more concern for a fight held in a country thousands of miles away that featured a Russian and an American while showing none for fights held over the weekend that saw seven Pinoy boxers in foreign rings against four Russians, an African, an Briton and an Aussie, with all but one losing their assignments.

Pinoy mittslingers Dennis Laurente, Carlo Magali Jerry Castroverde and Marvin Esquerdo faced their Russian counterparts in Ekaterinburg, Russia and were swept away with all but Laurente not hearing the final bell. No Filipino has beaten a Russian in Russia since we started sending our fighters there.

In London, another Pinoy fighter Jake Bornea fought and lost via TKO to Andrew Selbyfailing in his bid for a minor WBC title.

In Melbourne, in a featherweight match, Silvester Lopez was also knocked out by his Australian opponent, Luke Jackson who fought as a lightweight in the amateurs.

Only the little known Larry Abarra saved the day for the Pinoy international ring campaign that weekened by stopping his more veteran African foe, Netly in Dubai, UAE.

The other weekend, and the days previous to that, that has also been the recurring theme with Pinoy fighters losing most of their fights abroad, many of them claiming hometown decision in favor of their homegrown opponents.

What am I trying to say here is that instead of us Pinoy fans raising howls on how boxingshould be officiated abroad in fights that do not involve Filipinos and do not matter to Philippine boxing, we should mind first how our own boxers are being developed and prepared to be competitive specifically for important fights abroad.

In general, we should be more supportive of our homegrown boxers and our own pro boxing industry.

Having grown up at a time when pro boxing hereabouts was so well alive and buzzing with fights held almost weekly in Metro Manila and various provincial boxing hotbeds, I am puzzled at how some Pinoys could shell out from 500 to a thousand pesos for foreign PPV fights while virtually ignoring local fight promotions that are offered almost for free!

This is a sure recipe for ensuring the demise of our own pro boxing, if you ask me.

Good thing, Chairman Abraham Mitra of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) has seen enough of what's bugging Philippine boxing and is determined to put the sport back to its once lofty place .

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