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COLUMN: QUO VADIS ROMERO DUNO?


PhilBoxing.com




Romero Duno is a good young boxer who sports a good record of 21-1-0, 16 KO before that fateful night at the MGM Grand Casino where he was matched up with a young rising star from Victorville, California, Ryan Garcia.

His manager, JC Mananquil brought Duno to the US, in search of better opponents, and if he succeeds in beating them, perhaps bigger purses. When he arrived in the US he only had one defeat in his record, a unanimous decision loss handed in Russia by Mikaeel Alexeev.

In the US, he was paired to a young ex-boxer who turned trainer, Rodel Mayol. At that at the time Duno came, there were not too many Filipino trainers that also speak Duno’s dialect.

Duno was already in his prime when he came, therefore he succeeded in racking up 7 victories against good opponents of Mexican decent. All Rodel did was to enhance his confidence and smoothen the edges of his already great repertoire of ring savvy. “Kaunting himas lang” as they say in Tagalog.

Duno’s greatest Los Angeles area victory was against a Golden Boy Promotion’s highly regarded prospect, Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez. The young Gonzalez was carefully being groomed by the folks at GBP to be a future lightweight champion.

Gonzalez was to given Duno as his opponent and the fight was set at the famed Belasco Theater in downtown LA where boxing fans of Mexican descent frequently congregate to drink and be merry as they watch the fights.

Duno was given a very low chance of beating Gonzalez. In fact many felt that Duno was being fed to the lions. But Duno did not play the fodder and knocked out the previously unbeaten Gonzalez. That victory caught the eye of the folks at GBP and Duno was on his way.

At the same time Duno was winning, a young man from Victorville was doing the same and it was only a matter of time when their paths will cross.

Team Duno did not waste time in voicing their desire to have a Garcia-Duno extravaganza. In fact, they openly called out Garcia but GBP was looking for the right time to make the fight.

That time came last Saturday. GBP needed a great co-main event to complement the Canelo-Kovalev megafight to make the fight card even more interesting. GBP knew that Kovalev does not have too many Russian followers in the US that will flock to Las Vegas to see him fight. They needed the Mexican crowd to fill up the seats at the MGM Grand.

Thus, they put the Garcia-Duno fight as a co-main event. Garcia easily pulls about 200+ fans from his area to see him fight. So, he is an ideal one to have in the card.

Perhaps GBP also thought Filipinos will flock to Vegas to see Duno. But, there was an IBF title fight in Los Angeles that involved Jerwin Ancajas, one of the only 4 Filipino world champions, so not too many Pinoys came to Las Vegas. Sadly, the LA fight was scratched but by then it was too late for the Pinoys to motor to Las Vegas.

The result of the Garcia-Duno fight was great, if one is a pure boxing fan and if one is a Mexican.



It took Garcia a mere one minute and 38 seconds to cut down Duno and end the fight as quickly as it started.

Duno came out swinging, a fight plan many criticized as very poorly conceived by Mayol. With Duno out for a kill, he forgot his defense and Garcia picked him off easily. A great right hand to the temple ended the night for Duno.

The defeat certainly placed a great barrier wall on the career of Duno. It may not hurt that much physically, but psychologically it would not be too far fetched to say that it does.

In addition, it’s easy to imagine that it hurt a whole lot to the management. All their investment hit a snag because of a poor game plan. Perhaps, had it been different, the ending could have been different as well. But that’s second-guessing!

The defeat I am sure will not be the end for Duno’s career. Even the very best like Manny Pacquiao suffered knockouts. What Duno and his management learned from it is most important. Certainly, it is a wake up call for Mayol. There is no doubt he will learn from it!

Duno should be allowed to rest a bit and perhaps fight again early next year against a lesser opponent to regain his confidence. A couple of good wins will certainly re-ignite that desire to be a world champ. I have no doubt he will be one in the future.

But to get that done, certainly big changes must be made. It's up to JC Mannanquil to figure out what that should be. We have an idea what to do but our ideas don’t count.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ed de la Vega, DDS.


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