An evening of knockouts
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
I WAS told to attend so I immediately rushed to Pasay City and watched that much-touted A.J. “Bazooka” Banal vs. Pungluang Sor Singyu World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight world title fight held at Mall of Asia Arena last October 20. The event dubbed as “Pinoy Pride XVII: Philippines vs. The World” promoted by ALA Promotions featured a total of eight pairs of bouts and surprisingly seven of these all ended in the short routes through technical knockouts and knockouts. It was really an evening of knockouts. It was only the Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista-versus-Mexican Daniel Ruiz WBO International featherweight title fight that finished the whole 12 rounds with Bautista prevailing via a controversial split decision.
My youngest son Moses, who is an avid boxing buff (like this writer), was with me and my compadre Recah, who invited us. But I guess you didn’t see all the eight fights on TV because only the last three important ones were shown. And Filipinos who watched the first four bouts of our countrymen against the aliens were pleased because they were all victorious. But after the main event, I felt like an uncommon pain (happy and sad), due to the result of the final affair. My happiness turned to sadness. I was happy because four of five of our Pinoy boxers who battled foreign foes, particularly the sensational first round kayo victory of potential world champion and good-looking welterweight pugilist Jason Pagara over Miguel Antoine of Barbados. I was even more elated when world rank contender Michael Domingo also prevailed, stopping Mudde Ntambe Rabison of Uganda in the second round; even much more when Marlon Napales disposed Indonesian Rasmudin (I forgot his first name) also in the second canto and Randy Bullong halted Kazuma Eijiri of Japan in the fourth round.
But I was sad because the main event of the evening, which was the most important clash of the day and the reason for my trip, was a debacle for our boxer. The number one world ranked challenger Banal, whom I believed was winning the fight in my scorecard by one point, 77-76, after the eight round despite a point deduction by world renowned referee Tony Weeks because of low blows, until he found himself at the canvas in the ninth round. He got tagged by a hard right straight, followed by a combination of telling punches and finally succumbed to the Thai challenger. The Filipino partisan crowd of spectators (including this writer) was stunned. Yes, Banal stood but with shaky legs and was glassy eyed that forced referee Weeks to stop the bout at 1:45 on that fateful round. I saw how he sobbed and refused to receive the oxygen breath reliever from the ring physician and his seconds due to frustration. Banal cried and asked for a rematch that only his handler Michael Aldeguer, however, can answer.
What happened to him was a situation similar to the one in 2008 in his first attempt for the world crown. Banal, leading up to the ninth round based on the score cards of the three ring judges, lost steam in the 10th and was eventually mercilessly kayoed by Rafael Concepcion of Panama that shocked the audience. He was so close to being a world king only to fall short because of weak stamina. Now the question is: will he be given again another chance for a world title fight? Maybe but that depends on the Thai camp.
The Banal-Sor Singyu encounter was my fourth opportunity to watch a world title fight in the flesh after the Juan Manuel-Jimrex Jaca fight in Hidalgo, Texas, Brian Viloria-Giovanni Segura and the Viloria-Omar Nino Romero matches both held at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. I wish more will be held here in the country. I don’t want to miss any. Like the full-blooded Mexicans, boxing is also my numero dos favorite sport. Maybe my being a half-Mexican makes me feel the same.
Unfortunately I did not have the time to watch the second game of the best-of-three final series of the Dagupan City SK Inter-Barangay Basketball Championship last Saturday because of that trip. My source Jorge Ceralde, the assistant commissioner of the tourney, said the Pantal quintet of Adolf Sta. Maria avenged their first game one point loss (93-94) to Binloc by routing their archrival, 109-98. (I will also miss the third and final match on Saturday (October 27) owing to my Hong Kong trip for a four-day respite).. See you next week.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. THE REVELATION: 3: 20-21