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By Ronnie Nathanielsz

Tue, 02 Sep 2008

We have always enjoyed going around the Visayas and Mindanao covering the fights of promising youngsters all of whom are striving to emulate the incredible achievements of national treasure Manny Pacquiao for Viva Sports top-rated weekly boxing show, "The Main Event," which has for years been supported by our valued friends from Tanduay.

Of course some of our favorite fighters come from the famed ALA Gym of our esteemed friend Tony Aldeguer whose fine young son Michael has taken over handling the affairs of ALA Promotions and has so far done an excellent job.

The fights at the plush Waterfront Hotel last Saturday were remarkably satisfying because for one thing they proved that despite some of the habitual critics Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista proved his undoubted skill and punching power in a second round demolition of tough Mexican warrior Eden Marquez.

Bautista showed he had learned his lessons well after his shocking first round knockout at the hands of the menacing Daniel Ponce De Leon in a WBO title fight in August last year. Bautista showed maturity both in the ring and his conduct outside. What pleased us most was the huge reception he got from the fans who packed the venue. They obviously knew their boxing and continue to keep faith with this young man.

Donnie Nietes, the WBO minimum weight champion who successfully defended the title he won last September with a second round stoppage of Eddy Castro of Nicaragua doesn?t have the charisma and the bearing of Bautista but he surely has remarkable talent and can take on anyone in his division.

To us its always a pleasure to cover fights in Cebu and other cities down south because the people are so nice and they love boxing with a passion. Beyond that is the fact that there is a wealth of talent in the region and because of this the future , in many ways, remains assured.

The Cebu press must also be given credit for the manner in which they cover boxing events from day one. The stories in the local newspapers such as Sun Star and Freeman to mention just two, give the sport the kind of attention and the boxers the kind of recognition they richly deserve. Their work strikes us as a labor of love for boxing, the men who promote and the young men who display their skills and their fightinh hearts in the ring.

The wonderful family of Tony Aldeguer, the demeanor of his boxers and the whole aura of the ALA Gym make the task not just easier but decidedly enjoyable. And when the ALA Promotions TV partners turn out to be the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN without question the overall class is considerably enhanced.

On Sunday we were privileged to be one of the guests on the Pinoy Boxing show over dyHP Radio, hosted by two hardworking boxing judges, Salven Lagumbay and Ed Ligas. The champions were there ? Bautista and Nietes along with 16 year old lightweight find Jason Pagara, two fine trainers Edito "Ala" Villamor and Edmund Villamor and Tony Aldeguer.

It was something special for us since our first job when we came to the Philippines was with the Radio Mindanao Network?s Manila station dzHP, the Sound of the City owned by the late Henry Canoy, a quintessential Filipino broadcaster and his brother Rueben Canoy whose perspective of contemporary developments are as valid as they are profound.

The dyHP program which was swamped by scores of text messages was a fitting finale to a great weekend among a gathering of men who love boxing with a passion and two champions whose performance that night lifted the spirits and warmed the heart.

Top photo: Bautista's hands are being raised by Trainer Editor Villamor (L) and Referee Bruce McTavish after Bautista's knockout victory over Eden Marquez (R) of Mexico Saturday night at the Waterfront Hotel & Casino in Cebu City. Also at the stage to be at the awarding are WBO Vice-President Leon Panoncillo (L), Jr. and GAB Commissioner Angel Bautista (4th from left) .

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