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List of Articles by Rico Navarro

Boom Boom goes left

By Rico Navarro
19 Oct 2009

The left was right after all.

This was the biggest message that Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista sent out Friday night to announce that he was ready for another run at big-time boxing. After an 11-month lay-off and surgery done on his left wrist, Boom Boom proved that along with his right hand, his left is also just as effective and can be relied on to send boxers to sleep. Boom Boom knocked out Indonesian junior featherweight champion Marangin “Dinamita” Marbun in the seventh round for the interim WBC International featherweight championship Friday night as ALA Promotions made a big comeback at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

The most impressive “adjustment” that Boom Boom made was when he used his left hand in various ways to score the win. His left jab did a great job of keeping Marbun at a distance and thus negating Marbun’s aggressive ways. Note that Marbun was resilient and managed to land a few bombs of his own despite Boom Boom’s jab. The more damaging blows though were Boom Boom’s left hooks and uppercuts that softened Marbun’s body and face throughout the fight. He found his target consistently, and it was a matter of time before Marbun would break down. While a right straight was the final punch that finished off the fight, the series of left jabs, hooks and uppercuts were the real punches that took Marbun out. Marbun couldn’t find a move to avoid these and paid dearly for it.

It was a good “comeback” fight for Boom Boom after his heartbreaking loss to Mexican veteran Heriberto Ruiz last year. He’s sure to get his confidence back but he’ll be brought back to the level of world level class fights slowly but surely. Before we throw all the praises and start celebrating, let’s stop and take note that this is just one fight. This is Boom Boom’s first fight in the featherweight division after campaigning in the 122-pound super bantamweight and bantamweight weight divisions earlier in his career. If you want to see what kind of boxers are at the top, all you have to do is talk about “only” the likes of Chris John (WBA), Yuriorkis Gamboa (WBA), Juan Manuel Lopez (who’s reportedly moving up), Cristobal Cruz (IBF) and Steven Luevano (WBO). Other names in this division include Daniel Ponce de Leon, Rocky Juarez and Daud Yordan of Indonesia. It’s important that Boom Boom takes it one step at a time. The ALA management has indicated that Boom Boom’s next fight will most likely still be in the Philippines, while another trip to the U.S. isn’t going to happen in the near future unless it’s for training.

I also realized that Friday night’s card was also an opportunity to take a peak at the way ALA Boxing is now managing its boxers. The ALA management has also incorporated new weapons in its arsenal in the same way that Boom Boom has added his left to his right.

Gone are the days when it was all local fights for its boxers. We’re now seeing the other side of the ALA management at work: managing the careers of its boxers differently, now having their top boxers train and fight abroad. ALA is now more daring to take more fights abroad with the belief that it’s the best way to test the true mettle of its boxers.

We’ve already seen how Donnie Nietes has defended his WBO minimumweight world championship twice in hostile land in Mexico earlier in the year. He’ll defend it again in December in Manila. It may not be Cebu, but it’s good enough. Z Gorres, Mark Jason Melligen and AJ Banal’s last fights were also abroad with Melligen and Gorres set to fight again in November. Milan Melindo and Michael Domingo won their last fights in Manila against top quality opponents. Melindo and Domingo are next in line for fights in the U.S. or Mexico. Gorres and Melligen are now signed up with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions which has already prepared a specific program to guide each one’s career. Now that the ALA “brand” is already known in the international boxing circuit, it’s a matter of time before other ALA boxers who deserve a shot at world-class fights will be fighting under the lights of Vegas, L.A. or Mexico.

We’re thus seeing an ALA mixing up its activities with a combination of holding three or four big boxing events a year here in Cebu and tying up with international promoters for the much-needed breaks for its boxers. The approach is obviously working from all angles and this will eventually produce a good harvest.

Boom Boom and ALA; mixing it up with more than just the right. At the end of it all, going left was right.


Time-out: Happy birthday to my sister Dra. Joy Navarro out there in Shreveport. You can reach me at

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