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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



GAB cracks down

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
12 Jul 2017


GAB chairman Mitra.
GAB chairman Abraham Mitra is taking bold steps to restore the integrity of the fight game and crack down on unscrupulous fixers who exploit Filipino boxers to put their lives at risk for a prize. Mitra was the first to call out the WBO in reviewing the scoring of the recent Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight in Brisbane. It wasn’t a protest but an appeal to take a second look at how the judges scored it “in furtherance of our mutual goal of protecting the integrity of the sport and even more improving the boxing industry we all love.” Mitra called it a request to WBO president Francisco Valcarcel.

“While we respect the decision, we are constrained to request for a thorough review by the WBO for possible miscalls of the referee where some deductions were not made and of the judges in their judging that has caused varying opinions on their subjectivity,” wrote Mitra who signed the letter with GAB commissioners Fritz Gaston and Eduard Trinidad. At first, the WBO declined to order a review. But Valcarcel later had a change of heart. He said a five-man neutral panel would be commissioned to score the fight independently but qualified the findings would not reverse the result of Horn winning by a unanimous decision. The only way the outcome could be reversed or nullified is if there is proof of fraud or corruption or malicious intent. It isn’t the first time the WBO will order a review of a controversial decision involving Pacquiao. In 2012, the WBO heeded the public outcry for a review of the scoring and a five-man neutral panel found Pacquiao to be the winner on points, contrary to the split verdict that was awarded to Tim Bradley.

Mitra said Pacquiao was not consulted before he made the appeal and Pacquiao himself said he had nothing to do with the GAB request. Mitra’s move was a clear indication that the GAB chairman won’t hesitate to voice his position if the interest of Philippine boxing is jeopardized in any way.
****

On another matter, the GAB has discovered that the mandatory CT-Scans of 70 fighters were tampered and promptly revoked their licenses. It’s likely that the boxers had no knowledge of the anomaly as the suspicion is their handlers faked the CT-Scans to save on expenses. The GAB conducted an investigation when the CT-Scans came from the same clinic in Batangas. A GAB team went to the clinic and confirmed the tampering. As soon as the proper CT-Scans are submitted, the licenses will be reinstated.

CT-Scans are important to determine if a fighter has some kind of head injury. The requirement is for the protection and well-being of fighters. Unfortunately, some agents or managers couldn’t care less about the welfare of fighters as their primary motive is profit. The more fights, the more money is made, never mind if the fighters suffer some kind of brain damage that will only surface later.

The GAB has also set a meeting with officials of the Thai Boxing Commission in Bangkok this week to put an end to illegal activities involving Filipino fighters. Because no visa is required for Filipinos to travel to Thailand, some fighters bypass the GAB to accept unsanctioned bouts in the country. Worse, some handlers even use the names of rated fighters to bring out tomato cans to lose in Thailand for a prize. Mitra, Gaston and Trinidad are headed to Bangkok tomorrow.

“It’s a very important meeting,” said Gaston. “There are many horrible experiences of Filipino fighters in Thailand. We want to strengthen our relations with the Thai Commission by not allowing, both ways, boxers to fight without the endorsement of both government boxing bodies. At home, we’re also looking into other issues like promoters cutting short the time in a round to save a fighter or the number of rounds.” From all indications, the GAB means business and Mitra is out to wash the dirt out of boxing.
****

In the Pacquiao-Horn aftermath, what should concern fans----regardless of whom they’re for----is the long-term safety of both fighters. After the brutal contest, Horn was whisked to a hospital for a two-hour checkup which presumably included a brain scan. Pacquiao never went to a hospital for a brain scan. From the ring, he entered his dugout and was brought to a private room where cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Roth sewed up his scalp wounds. After the stitching, Pacquiao returned to his hotel, presided in a Bible study and stayed awake playing chess and talking to friends.

If Pacquiao hasn’t taken a brain scan, it’s not too late to arrange. A neurologist said it’s advisable for Pacquiao to submit to an MRI of the brain or a CT-Scan within two weeks from the fight to check for damage. All that butting from Horn must have caused some kind of concussion.

Before any talk of animosity, speculation or conspiracy theory, Pacquiao’s health must be the primal concern. He’s a national treasure, public servant and someone who brings honor to the country and pride to the Filipino people. Let’s make sure he’s not in any compromising health condition.


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