The WBO's tarnished credibility
By Homer D. Sayson
03 Mar 2007
CHICAGO -- Out of pure spite or simple ignorance, referee Sammy Viruet deducted two crucial points on Z Gorres' scorecard, an
atrocious absurdity that allowed Fernando Montiel to salvage his WBO superflyweight title.
The "Moment of Truth" robbery was as brazen as any of the bank heists that have plagued Cebu City in recent weeks. It was an
embarrasment to the sport and a tremendous blow the credibility of the WBO.
Viruet's wanton abuse of discretion was the kind of malfeasance that continues to give boxing a black eye. The Cebu City Sports Center travesty was exactly a full week ago, but I'm still mad. Stark raving mad.
As a Roman Catholic, though, a proud product of the Colegio Del Santo Nino, I harbor no criminal thoughts on Viruet. Instead, I offer him this prayer, which was inspired by Psalm 23.
I want Gorres, Antonio L. Aldeguer, his son and heir apparent, Michael, Sammy Gello-ani and their families to join me. If you want to, my beloved readers, feel free to pray with us as well:
Sammy Viruet is the shepherd I shall not want
He leadeth me toward ugly pastures of bad refereeing
He restoreth not my faith in boxing
And he guideth me to paths of anger and frustration
As Pinoy boxers walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I fear your presence, your ineptitude
You are no rod nor staff
And you discomfort me
You robbed us of deserved glory in our house
You humiliated us in the presence of thy enemy, Fernando Montiel
Surely, goodness and love will follow Z Gorres all the days of his life
But it will be in the kingdom of the IBF, WBC and WBA
Not the WBO
The morning after he robbed Cebuanos blind, I tried to interview Viruet in hopes that he could explain himelf and his actions. But the chap left town quicker than you can say "adios." Viruet departed in so much haste he neglected to say "hasta la vista, baby!"
"He went home very early today, took the first plane out," Michael Aldeguer, Z and BoomBoom's manager told me.
With Viruet gone without a trace, I'm left holding a bagful of questions.
Was Viruet qualified to referee a world title fight, or did he get the plum assignment simply because he and the WBO president both come from Puerto Rico?
Even without warning, Viruet seemed to relish deducting points from Z. Did he used to work for the BIR?
For a few days, the red carpet was laid out for the WBO officials. They were treated like royalty, immersed in warm Cebuano hospitality. Sammy Gello-ani and the Aldeguers only wanted fair play in return. Was that too much to ask?
Leon Panoncillo, the WBO's VP, is the only redeeming quality left in that organization. For years, Leon has helped the cause of Cebuano fighters, and through his charitable endeavors, he has brought joy to an army of needy children in our midst.
I feel sorry for Leon. All that goodwill he fostered was eroded by one night of bum officiating. It will take time for our wounds to heal. And will take a fleet of dump trucks to get rid of the pile of stink that Viruet left in Cebu City.
E-MAILS. I'd like to thank the following for their input on the "Moment of Truth" card: Kristian Nice Iroy (firstname.lastname@example.org), email@example.com, and Toto Lacro (firstname.lastname@example.org), who wrote that "Z Gorres had superior boxing skills but Montiel was a good counter-puncher with a granite chin. They should have a rematch."
Vincent Paul Cavada (gmail.com) tells me that his dad Jing and his brothers Glenn, Joel, and John are "followers" of this column. "You are simply the best Filipino sports analyst/columnist," says Vincent.
I'm flattered, Vincent. But really, I'm still notches beneath established sportswriters Quinito Henson and Recah Trinidad.
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