DE LA VEGA: TEAM ASTON PALICTE – AN EPITOME OF CLASS
By Ed de la Vega, DDS
10 Sep 2018
As most everyone knows, particularly boxing fans from the Philippines, I have the honor of being the cutman for both Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte.
Needless to say, their recent fight put a huge monkey on my back. I had to make a choice as to whom I shall help as a cutman during their fight.
As I wrote before the fight, I may simply seat at ringside and enjoy the fight. But, due to forces of circumstances, I was had to make a choice.
And, it wasn’t easy as Nietes and Palicte are two of my favorite fighters besides of course the great Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao will always be my number one!
Team Nietes had only three members, the Villamor brothers and conditioning man Nick Curson. Therefore, they needed help at the corner. I could have easily slipped away had another Team member Michael Domingo flew in from Cebu. But it seems, Team ALA took it for granted that I will as always be the fourth man on the Team.
My dilemma was tough to handle. But thanks to members of Team Palicte, my decision became just a wee bit easier.
First, I spoke to Rodel Mayol, the chief trainer of Palicte. I worked with Mayol for the longest time dating back in his fighting days. In fact, together we won the WBC Flyweight title at Mexico. I explained to Mayol my dilemma and he was very understanding. He knew were I was coming from and he understood my situation fully well. That made my decision to work with Nietes much more easier to make.
But what turned the tide was when Palicte’s manager, Jason Soong talked to me at the weighin. He said he fully understands my situation and it was perfectly alright for me to be at the Nietes corner. When I told him that I was struggling to make a choice, Soong emphatically told me that it was okay with them. In fact he said- “I insist that you should be with them as it was okay for us if you do”.
So, the choice was made.
At the dressing room Team Nietes happened to share space with Team Kasuto Ioka. Ioka has the famous Stich Duran as his cutman. I had a conversation with Duran regarding the cutman’s business. When I happened to mention to him that it was not easy for me to be where I was, he said that traditionally when such situation arises, the cutman picks the boxer he had worked with the longest. “That is the accepted norm,” he said. “Fighters are grown man. They understand that and they keep no ill feelings,” he added.
That certainly made me feel so much better.
Day after the fight, as I sat on my couch just hanging out with the family, my phone lit up and indicated that I had a message.
It was from Aston Palicte.
The message said: “Doc Ed salamat po. Sorry po walang nanalo sa dalawang anak mo. Next time sa akin ka naman” (Sorry no one between your two sons won. Next time please be with me).
His message almost floored me.
What a classy young man! Even my wife was astound when I showed him the message. “That is indeed a very good kid. You should continue to work with him. He deserves you at his corner,” she said.
Palicte further stated: “Alam ko po mahirap sa inyo basta sa akin walang problema. Hindi po ako magbabago” (I know it was hard for you so its not a problem with me. I will never change).
“Kahit anong oras po welcome ka sa akin at ikaw pa rin cutman ko kung papaya ka” (You are welcome anytime. You are still my cutman if you will agree).
Now how can I not agree to work with this classy young man and his Team?
In fact, if I was going to war, it is people like Aston Palicte, Rodel Mayol, Jason Soong and Stanley Godinez that I would love to have in my company.
Looking back last Saturday night, I feel blessed that I am working with two of the classiest super flyweights in the world.
How can I not love boxing in spite of the many crooked ways associated with the sport when I am part of the Team of these two great fighters- Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte?
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