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List of Articles by Edwin G. Espejo



Philippine boxing takes some hard blows

By Edwin G. Espejo
PhilBoxing.com
22 Apr 2013



As if Manny Pacquiao’s shock knockout loss to nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in December was not enough, Philippine boxing took yet a succession of big blows that makes anyone wonder: Is the party over for Filipino professional boxers?

A week apart from each other, Filipino-American champions Brian Viloria and Nonito Donaire lost their world boxing crowns. It was capped by another loss for once very promising Rey ‘Boom-Boom’ Bautista to an unheralded Mexican foe in Davao City, a week after Donaire lost his world super bantamweight crown to Guillermo Rigondeaux.

The losses by Donaire and Viloria left only two Filipino world boxing champions – light flyweights Donnie Nietes and Johnreil Casimiro.

The two remaining Filipino boxing champions however are yet to earn their spurs as crowd drawers. They are relatively unknown outside hardcore Filipino boxing fans.

Viloria, Donaire, Nietes and Casimiro took the bus ride provided by Pacquiao’s phenomenal and historic rise to boxing stardom.

They did not exactly gatecrash, but their also-ran gave Philippine boxing its most memorable era yet.

At no time in Philippine boxing has there been a glut of Filipino boxing champions as well as international campaigners - in a single decade.

Pacquiao made it possible for them. Everybody noticed the Filipino boxing grit as soon as Pacquiao took boxing world by storm. In turn, these boxers made good account for themselves. Some have failed. Some have limited success. Many may have failed to make the grade. But what a boxing renaissance they made.

Of those who lost their titles, Donaire and Pacquiao are most likely to make their own comebacks (Pacquiao held no title when he lost to Marquez as he lost it to Timothy Bradley via a controversial decision).

Pacquiao however has intimated his boxing days are nearly over while Donaire is still smarting from the way he was outfought by Rigondeaux, which leaves us wondering where Philippine boxing is headed to.

Pacquiao and Donaire are aberrations in that they are made of finer specimens of athletes. They got skill and longevity apart from their entertainment value.

That cannot be said of Viloria who is inconsistent at best. Nietes has been fed can tomatoes and has not really barged into the elite circle and, at 30 years old, maybe be on his downslide. The 23-year old Casimiro relies too much on his power and has already lost to Ramón García Hirales and Moruti Mthalane, both relatively unheralded world champions. Boom-Boom Bautista is already a has-been even before he can be champion. He is said to be contemplating retirement.

Looking at the horizon, there may not be boxers who can again capture the imagination of the world boxing fans. Not in the next couple of years, at least.

Brothers Dave and Dodie Peñalosa Jr are being groomed to become boxing stars in the future. But what exactly the future holds for them will depend on how well and how soon will they develop into elite boxers like their father and uncle Gerry Peñalosa.

Pacquiao led the onslaught of Filipino elite boxers that gave the world some notice.

But his successive setbacks last year do not augur well for Philippine boxing judging from the quick succession of hard blows suffered by Filipino boxers.

It will be unfortunate if the fate of Philippine boxing goes along with Pacquiao’s inevitable exit, if not demise, from professional boxing.


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