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The Whole Tooth and Nothing But ...

By Ed de la Vega, DDS

Sat, 17 Jun 2006

While many has been written about Manny Pacquiao and his upcoming battle against the pride of Mexico, Oscar "Chololo" Larios, little has been said, much less written about the other Filipino fighters on the fight card on July 2nd. I am referring specifically to two "undercard fighters", Gerry Pe?alosa and Ernel Fontanilla.

Although at this point and time in their careers, these two fighters are not in the same class as the Pacman himself, they too deserve a "small print exposure" so to speak. After all, they are also putting their time and effort to contribute to the success of the fight card on July 2nd. Besides, if they do not command some measure of respect, their handlers would not have bothered to send them to the Wildcard Gym in Hollywood and train under the watchful eyes of the master himself, Freddie Roach.

The media's focus on the main man himself, Manny Pacquiao is fully justified as he is the headliner in the card. In fact, in so far as Philippine boxing is concerned, in the immediate past, the present, and for some more years to come, Manny Pacquiao is the man and he truly deserves all the media exposure he can get!

But, as previously mentioned, in any fight card, the fighters on the undercard in some ways also contribute to the success of the whole event. In fact, not too many people will go see a one bout fight card except perhaps if Manny Pacquiao is involved. Thus, the undercard is just as important. It is in this light that I decided to write about Gerry and Ernel. It is my hope that this small tribute to them will inspire them to do well on July 2nd and bring further glory to the Filipino people.

I watched Manny, Gerry and Ernel go through their routine at the Wildcard Gym on several occasions. From my perspective, I see that our three Filipino warriors are peaking in form and style and it appears that all systems are go.

Gerry Pe?alosa training with Buboy Fernandez at the Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles.

Speaking of Gerry, his immediate goal is to regain the glory of the old days when he won titles in his division. Although a little further in age, he feels he has a lot more left to do just that. The fact that he is training at the Wildcard Gym is certainly a plus. The fight with Thomas Rojas of Mexico will be measuring stick. It will show how much is left from the old warrior. With the recent news that his fight with Rojas will be seen internationally on PPV, Gerry is more eager to do well. He knows this his "second chance: and he can not afford to mess up before an international audience if he wants to be on top again.

Ernel Fonatinlla hitting the speed bag.

On the other hand, Ernel Fontanilla, a younger fighter from Saranggani, knows that with his young career, he is quite a ways from the top. But what is so inspiring to know is that he has the attitude and desire to be successful. Being discovered by Buboy Fernandez is one of the best things that ever happened to him. Buboy is known to instill in his fighters the work ethic he honed with the many years of being with Manny Pacquiao. With his guidance, Ernel is sure to go places. All he needs to do is do his share of the responsibilities. From the looks of it, that would not be a problem. "I have a lot of faith in my trainer Sir Buboy. I know he has his best interest in me, so I intend to work hard and follow his lead to get to the top," Ernel said.

Photos by Doc Ed de la Vega.

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