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List of Articles by Epifanio M. Almeda



What Fighters Could Learn from Rene Barrientos

By Epifanio M. Almeda
PhilBoxing.com
24 Apr 2006



“When my children who found job opportunities abroad asked me if I had the means to cover their transportation, I didn’t hesitate to answer yes to keep their minds off the problem I believed was mine to tackle”. So shared former WBC Junior Lightweight champion Rene Barrientos to about 3 of us attendees of the 1st GAB Philippine Boxing Convention (April 19-22, 2006) in Manila, Philippines who were privileged to talk with him in a corner of the convention site during one of our break periods.

This fatherly statement hit home because I have a son who is now asking me to help cover his transportation for abroad and my son is not hearing from me what Rene’s children heard from their father.

Rene confided that when his children asked the question, he didn’t have the amount needed for the trip. What he had was a piece of real estate he was able to purchase years back from the “little” earnings he made from boxing. The land has since increased in value by the time his kids needed the about P200,000 or so for the one-way trip.

It’s not easy to generate cash from a piece of real estate. Try the bankers. But Rene is not only the successful ring tactician who won the world boxing crown for himself and the country. After consulting with his children, he made an offer too good for a moneyed “financer” to pass up. A couple of million pesos worth of real estate will be the financer’s if at the end of 2 months the P200,000 loan will not be paid. The loan was paid before the 2 months were up from his children’s remittances.

Financial prudence earning fighters now should emulate

I’ve been reading about Rene Barrientos, the champ (to distinguish him from his namesake cousin who was an airline pilot) for years and so I thought I should not pass up the opportunity to hear him in person when I learned he was a convention delegate.

A friendly gentleman, he was very accommodating as I sought him for a chat about what he accomplished then and what he is doing now. About 2 fellow delegates joined us. We discussed the sad plight of some of our fighters including former champions who are now in dire financial streets.

Rene said that he listed his earnings from boxing and the total amount does not even reach P300,000. He knew that the money earned by a fighter takes little, if any, effort to lose. Recognizing likewise that there is a greater need for business acumen to successfully invest one’s earnings from prize fighting in a business undertaking, Rene opted for that simple alternative which requires of him only a little of such business wisdom. He bought a piece of land in Cagayan de Oro City where he resides and erected apartment units the earnings from which, aside from having financed all his 5 children’s earning their respective college degrees, even today support his family.

Rene was also able to buy from his approximately P300,000 earnings a piece of land located in the heart of Cebu City. He had received offers for this piece of prime real estate for P80,000 per square meter which he declined. This property likewise produces for him a couple of thousand pesos monthly income.

Not only did Rene save his hard earned boxing earnings, he made the amount grow many times over to secure his family’s well being even in the years to come.

Learning from Rene

I learned from Rene a more fatherly approach to address my son’s “sonly” (is this word possible?) need.

Rene Barrientos should have a bigger audience of fellow fighters and speak about how he made his little earnings from boxing grow for the fighters to learn from.

With his good reputation as a former Junior Lightweight champion of the world intact, his fellow fighters and even boxing managers, promoters, trainers, GAB personnel, boxing officials and writers would, most probably, have their attention undivided for Rene Barrientos.

I wrote this piece as my initial contribution towards a boxer’s developing an interest in his own life after he retires from boxing. Anybody who has that opportunity to talk to a fighter now, please tell him about Rene Barrientos.

Boxing has given our country probably more honors than any other sport. We should care for our boxers’ welfare.

As Rene Barrientos aptly puts it, “without the boxer, where would you in whatever involvement in boxing you are in, be?”.



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