FAIRY TALES CAN COME TRUE...
By Manny Piñol
27 Dec 2012
Internet bloggers who have been following boxing through www.philboxing.com have called Ryan Rey Ponteras' upset victory in Bangkok, Thailand as the "Feel Good Story of 2012."
Indeed, in the heels of Manny Pacquiao's shocking knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, things seemed so dire in Philippine boxing and not even Nonito Donaire Jr.'s victory over Jorge Arce could soothe the wounded hearts of Filipino boxing fans.
But Ryan Rey's story makes people feel good.
Here is a boxer, definitely not in the league of Pacquiao or Donaire, who dreamed of a simple thing: to earn money from boxing to support his widowed mother raise his four other siblings, the youngest of whom is 12 years old.
Ryan has assumed the role of his father who was murdered when he was 10 and would work in a bakery in Santa Josefa, Agusan del Sur to earn money.
As a boxer, he would fight unprepared, in any weight category that his young body could adjust to -- from 105 lbs. to 122 lbs. -- just to make money.
His ability to move up and down the weight categories earned him the monicker: "Lastic Man" or the elastic man.
Half of whatever he earned in boxing went to his manager who did not even accompany him to his fights. He traveled alone and fought alone with just fellow boxers working in his corner during the fights.
No wonder then that after 18 professional fights, his record was an atrocious 8 wins, 9 losses and 1 draw with only 4 KO wins.
But he went up against the best in the divisions he fought in. He lost by split decision to world title contender Fernando Lumacad whom he knocked down in the fight; he lost by decision to world contender Froilan Saludar, he drew with undefeated Aroel Romasasa and lost by decision to world title challenger Rommel Asenjo whom he knocked down.
He too was knocked down several times during his fights but he stood up and gamely fought on.
Ponteras' future looked bleak until October last year when he pleaded with Bruce Lerio, trainer of the Braveheart Boxing Club which I and my brothers own, that he be taken in as one of our boxers.
Since then, he has already scored five straight wins, four of which came by knockout.
Of the five opponents he defeated in his spectacular comeback, three were boxers who defeated him before and he knocked out two of them.
Today, Ryan Rey Ponteras stands on a little hill in the field of boxing. This was because of his stunning knock out of Thai Ruslee Samo in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.
His victory won him the IBF Pan Pacific Flyweight title, which is not really a title of great import in a sport where world titles are a dime a dozen.
But his victory yesterday would catapult him in the world rankings and give him the opportunity to fight for the world title.
Last night, as we were having dinner in a small Thai eatery by the side of the road in Pratpanum District near the Bangkok Palace Hotel, Ryan Rey posed a very innocent question: "Sir, is this really happening to me?"
When I told him that it was real and that bigger fights and bigger purses could come his way, his mind apparently swirled.
He started telling me of rebuilding his family's home which was wrecked by Typhoon Pablo and of sending his siblings to school, one of whom has taken over his job as a baker in Santa Josefa.
Ryan Rey Ponteras' story really makes one feel good.
It reminds us once more that fairy tales do really come true if you believe.
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