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News  


The Condes Debacle: A Crying Shame


PhilBoxing.com




A couple of months ago, I was invited to a GMA TV show called “Palaban” along with some other personalities to discuss Philippine boxing.

One of the guests was IBF Minimumweight champion Florante Condes, who had wrested the crown from Mohamed Rachman last July in the latter’s home turf-Jakarta, Indonesia.

I had covered several Condes fights in the past and was always very impressed by the power this little guy packs in his mitts. No wonder people dubbed him as the “Little Pacquiao”. An avowed fan of the Filipino boxing icon, Condes has lived up to the billing and makes no bones about emulating the fighting style of the pacman.

When I saw him at the TV studios, his back was turned but there was no mistaking the finely-chiseled physique of a serious athlete. It was ‘Bebot’ Elorde who informed me that it was indeed the champ, Florante Condes.

When I approached him, he easily returned my greeting and we fell into a casual conversation. I asked him when his next fight was (there was news of a Rachman rematch) and he replied that he was told it was going to be in January.

It came as a shock therefore, when I heard Condes being interviewed by Dennis Principe over Sports Radio the other day and to hear the frustration and desperation in his voice as he proclaimed that he was seriously considering giving up his boxing career.

In a plaintive and emotional tone, he expressed his utter despair at the turn of events. “Ngayon pang world champion na ako, at saka gumulo” (it’s ironic that my life has turned into shambles now that I am a world champion). He said over and over that as of now, he feels his career in boxing has come to an end.

The root of his problem seems to be his managers. In September of 2006, he and his acknowledged handler Aljoe Jaro signed a promotional arrangement with American promoters Cesar Trevino and Bobby Bostick and Puerto Rican co-manager Dante Ortiz to help get him fights in the international arena.

After winning the world championship, the foreigners and Jaro had a falling out which even culminated in a shouting match cum walk-out during a mediation meeting at the GAB between the two groups. However, at the end of the meeting, both camps claimed the misunderstanding had been cleared up and all was well.

Apparently, it was not. Condes claims to this day, nothing has happened with regards his career all because of the dispute between Jaro and his foreign counterparts. It has been compounded by his discovery that his registered manager with the GAB is not Aljoe Jaro but Mrs. Jaro.

Condes feels betrayed and he cannot fathom why this was kept a secret from him. Also, he grudgingly revealed that he has not received the purported $10,000 signing bonus the Americans claim they had paid him through Jaro.

Asked if he was keeping himself in shape, Condes replied “What for? Why should I train for a future that is not even clear?” Such is his despondency that he practically shunned all of Principe ’s assurances that everything will be sorted out eventually.

In our years of covering boxing, we have seen and heard of many boxers with similar tales of distress. But this one tugs at the heart because Condes is full of promise and hope.

I recall him relating to us during the taping of that TV show that he actually went into boxing at a rather advanced age; he never passed through the amateurs but went directly to the pros as a way out of poverty.

Just a few months ago, it seemed the way was indeed cleared for this young man from Romblon. Now, the specter of going back to the slums looms ominously for this once-hopeful 26 year old who says even more than earning good money and plaudits, giving honor to his countrymen was his prime motivation.

“I just want to fight for my country and for my ambitions. But how can I when the people around me keep bickering and fighting?”

It took so many years for the Philippines to have a world champion again and this year we got four-Condes, Nonito Donaire Jr., Gerry Penalosa and Donnie Nietes.

Most of us think we can get more. But we cannot give one up outside the ring.

That would be nothing short of tragic- for us and a little big man named Condes.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ed Picson.


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