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List of Articles by Manny Piñol


 

The Search For Glory

By Manny Piñol
PhilBoxing.com
05 May 2012



City of Singapore - As I write this, it is about 5 hours before North Cotabato orphan Lorenzo "Thunderbolt" Villanueva makes his first attempt at a world boxing title when he meets Indonesian Daud Cino Yordan, a former Olympian, for the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) featherweight title at the Marina Bay Sands Resort here.

While I have faith in Lorenzo's heart and power, I cannot say for certain what the result of the fight would be.

First, I feel that Lorenzo is inferior to Yordan in terms of ring savvy and experience. And second, I do not know how he will react to the sight of 4,000 foreign faces watching him fight.

The thing going for this 26-year-old fighter from Bual Norte, Midsayap, North Cotabato is his raw power which he used in stopping 23 of his 24 opponents inside the ring. Added to that is the heart and the desire to win which I believe is fueled by his dream of lifting his siblings out of poverty and providing them with the level of education that he has not achieved.

Lorenzo's boxing story is the story of many poor Filipino kids, among them boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, who see boxing as the easiest and quickest way out of the squalor of poverty.

He is one of those extremely inspired by the Pacquiao story, the street kid from Gen. Santos City, who punched his way to stardom, prosperity and success in politics.

Lorenzo is one of the kids who was plucked out from the remote villages of North Cotabato, when I, as Governor with the help of my 10 brothers who are boxing aficionados, started a grassroots boxing program where we brought the ring and gloves to barrio and town fiestas to allow barefoot kids to box with the winner getting P100 and the loser P50.

The program has already produced a WBC silver flyweight champion, Edrin Dapudong, and several Oriental champions.

While Dapudong lost in his first defense in Mexico and in his attempt to win the WBA flyweight title and another boxer, Rommel Asenjo, lost to a Mexican champion in their battle for the WBO miniflyweight title last year, the fact that three products of the program have reached the level of world contenders is already a mark of success in my view.

What is worth mentioning is the fact even after Dapudong and Asenjo lost in their world title bids, the North Cotabato program did not end as there are other young upcoming fighters queuing up for a chance to fight for the world title.

Should lady luck smile on Lorenzo and make him the program's first world champion, it would certainly be a great achievement for a program that started with only one boxing ring and a few worn out gloves.

It will also be the high-point of a local government sponsored program because I know of no other such program initiated by other local government units.

But even if Villanueva fails tonight, the program will continue. Dapudong, Asenjo and the others who failed in their first bid to win the world title could try again as they are still very young.

This is the essence of the message that I shared with our readers when I made a critique of the amateur boxing program of the country as not having a deep foundation that would ensure that if Charley Suarez and the others would fail, there would be other young future Olympians who will take over.

In due time, with diligence and dedication we will be able to produce an Olympic gold medalist just as I am sure that within the next few fights, the grassroots boxing program started in North Cotabato in 1998 will bear fruit and produce a world boxing champion.

Photo: Villanueva (R) and Yordan during yesterday's weighin at the Marina Bay Sands Covention Expo. Photo by Dong Secuya.


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