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By Manny Piñol

Fri, 01 Oct 2010

Minimumweight, strawweight or miniflyweight. This is how they call boxing's lightest division at 105 pounds.

It's a relatively new division having been introduced only a few years ago by the world's boxing bodies for two obvious reasons: practical and commercial.

Practical since not all flyweights weigh 112 lbs. Some weigh way less. Commercial since the more divisions there are, the more champions there will be. The more champions, the more sanction fees which serve as the lifeblood of the world boxing organizations.

It used to be that boxing's smallest fighters were all lumped up in the flyweight division, regardless of whether you come in at 104 pounds or 112 pounds.

It was in the flyweight division where the Philippines had its most number of world champions, the more prominent of them being Pancho Villa, Dodie Boy Penalosa, Frank Cedeno, Manny Pacquiao and lately, Nonito Donaire.

Through the years, the glaring disparity in weight between the "bigger" and the "smaller" flyweights became very evident. This prompted boxing bodies to come up with the brilliant idea of creating first the junior flyweight (108 pounds) and later the miniflyweight.

Today, the miniflyweight division is home to some of the finest tiny warriors the Philippines ever had.

You have reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) miniflyweight champion Donnie Nietes, former world champion Florante Condes, OPBF champion Michael Landero, WBC International champion Denver Cuello, WBO Oriental champion Rommel Asenjo and undefeated Milan Melindo.

There's an overflowing number of talents in this division that brings about the great possibility that sometime in the future world championships in boxing's smallest division will feature an all-Filipino cast.

That scenario will not even be in the far future. It could happen anytime soon.

Take a look at this: WBO champion Donnie Nietes is set to make a mandatory defense of his title within the year. While the Number 1 contender, Carlos Buitrago of Latin America, is the mandatory challenger, there is a great probability that if Buitrago will yield, Donnie will have to take on fellow Filipino Rommel Asenjo who is rated No. 2.

And where will you put Condes, Cuello, Landero and Melindo? There are only four prominent world boxing bodies that Filipino boxing managers would like to be involved with: the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Organization (WBO), World Boxing Association (WBA) and the IBF.

Six top Filipino miniflyweights vying for the world championship sanctioned by only four prominent boxing bodies. The Clash of the Filipino Tiny Warriors among themselves will inevitably happen.

The only problem now is whether Filipino boxing fans, known to be rabidly nationalists when it comes to sports, would like the idea of two Filipino boxers inside the ring to try to "kill" each other "to bring honor to his country."

Mexico was able to overcome this predicament. Boxing fans of that country have learned to accept such matches as Erik Morales vs. Marco Antonio Barrera and many more.

When Filipino boxing fans will be ready for this, we will witness some of the best matches among boxing's tiny warriors in the Philippines. Imagine this: Denver Cuello vs. Florante Condes, Michael Landero vs. Milan Melindo and Donnie Niestes vs. Rommel Asenjo.

That should not be a bad idea. Sometime in the history of Philippine boxing, we saw Gabriel "Flash" Elorde fight Rene Barrientos.

It can happen again in the near future. And Filipino boxing fans should learn to accept the fact that the Philippines Little Warriors are getting a little crowded in boxing's littlest division.

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