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The Whole Tooth and Nothing But ...

By Ed de la Vega, DDS

Thu, 08 Nov 2012

Boxing is a business, a huge one at that, particularly for those who have gone ?past the door? and are now totally inside and enjoying the spoils of their hard work.

Sadly for Drian Francisco, the up and coming Filipino pug from Sablayan, Mindoro, such is not the case. He is far from opening the door even just to put his foot in to keep it open.

But that does not mean he is not trying like hell.

For a month now Francisco has been in Los Angeles struggling to have a life and at the same time training intensely and fishing for a fight. He works with a former Australian heavyweight prospect Justin Fortune at Fortune?s West Hollywood gym.

Two weeks ago it appeared that he finally got a bite.

Word was Zanfer Promotion, the Mexican version of the GBP, will put him on the undercard of the Brian Viloria vs. Hernan Marquez title fight at the LA Sports Arena on November 17th.

Francisco was so upbeat and he concentrated even more in his training. He even visited our offices to be fitted a new mouthguard.

But there was a problem.

Zanfer Promotions owner and CEO, Fernando Beltran can not come up with an opponent.

It?s not like Francisco is such an exceptionally strong and invincible fighter that no one would like to fight him.

Apparently it?s more of the fact that Francisco is not yet a ?proven fighter? in this part of the world, notwithstanding a record of 23-1-1, 18KO.

In short, he is not a ?known fighter?. Therefore, he is not expected to generate huge revenue for the Promotions.

With that, Francisco was left hanging in the wind.

Then word leaked out that he will be fitted against the ex-Cuban Olympian and WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux on the undercard of the Nonito Donaire, Jr vs. Jorge ?Lollipop Mouth? Arce.

That was of course was a very welcome news because in spite of Rigondeaux?s undefeated record, his style gives Francisco a great chance of landing a haymaker and take away the belt from Rigondeaux.

Then word came that Rigondeaux will instead fight a Thai ex-champion Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym.

Of course the news was another let down for Francisco.

Then news reports indicated that Rigondeaux refused to fight Francisco because he was a ?high risk, low return? opponent.

Some even suggested that the Cuban was scared by the brawler from Sablayan, Mindoro.

But latest report shows that is not the case.

Rigondeaux apparently was willing to fight Francisco in spite of the so-called risks. The Cuban was willing to face the challenge.

But it was the good ole? HBO that refused to accept Francisco as Rigondeaux?s opponent.

Rigondeaux?s fight will be the main supporting event to the Donaire-Arce fight and will be shown live on HBO.

Francisco was apparently not known enough to be featured on HBO let alone in the supporting main event.

HBO would rather take a risk with the Thai.

Upon reading about that, my initial gut reaction was to chastise HBO for having no faith on a Filipino fighter.

But closer review of the situation revealed that HBO?s decision was purely a ?business decision?. I for one can not fault them for that. After all, HBO is involved in fights to make money.

Putting Rigondeaux against Poonsawat will attract the Thai market, particularly the PPV market.

Having Donaire on the main event already assures that the Filipino market is already captured.

HBO probably concluded that Francisco who is very good but unknown will hardly add many more Filipinos to the equation.

On the other hand, the Thai is a former world champion and has many followers from his home country.

Therefore he was picked and not Francisco.

It was simple as that. It?s pure business!

On the other side of the coin, Zanfer Promotions promised that Francisco will be given fights very soon. But, I am guessing they will be in Mexico.

Nothing wrong with that! After all, a fight is a fight.

But realistically, nothing beats what Top Rank maybe able to offer him in the US.

I am not suggesting that he jumps ship. I am merely showing him the reality of the business of boxing in this part of the world.

Boxing is a business. Success many times ultimately boils down to whom you know.

Drian Francisco holding his new mouthguard at the author's clinic in Canoga Park, CA.

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