2-TIME WORLD CHALLENGER DOMMY URSUA TO MANNY PACQUIAO: "I NEED YOUR HELP"
By Salven L. Lagumbay
Thu, 03 Apr 2008
Dommy "Toy Bulldog" Ursua, one of the most enduring of Filipino fighters who was even cited by the country's hero Ninoy Aquino for his gallantry, is seeking the help of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
"Our office recently received a communication from former boxer Dommy Ursua, now residing at a very old age in Cordova, Cebu...In abject poverty, he is requesting for our help in bringing to Manny Pacquiao's attention his prayer for a small share of the Filipino icon's financial blessings just to help Dommy get through in his final years of life," said an email received by Philboxing.com.
Ursua has been very sickly due to old age, and is hoping that Manny Pacquiao the superstar hears of his plight.
Ninoy Aquino once told the late journalist Teodoro Benigno that courage was what he liked about Ursua. Aquino noted that he loved fighters who slugged their way through like Ursua, Speed Cabanela, and even Pancho Villa, fighters who always took the offensive, not the counterpunchers.
Then, after describing Ursua and the other fighters, Ninoy Aquino made these famous statement: "That's why I'm coming home. I want to prove to the Filipinos that I am not afraid. Because I know they respect courage above anything else!"
Photo shows Dommy Ursua in his prime.
During his prime, Ursua fought three of the best fighters of his generation, and vied for the world crown twice losing by decision to Pascual Perez in their 15-round encounter and via eleventh-round TKO to Raul Macias at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.
"WHEN he was knocked out by champion Raul ?Raton? Macias for the National Boxing Association bantamweight crown in San Francisco, he received $85,000 as challenger?s purse. That was on June 15, 1957," wrote the late Manuel Oyson Jr of SunStar.
Ursua is also best known for his upset win over Memo Diez, when the latter was still ranked as The Ring's number one ranked flyweight.
The loss to Perez was also well-chronicled during his time. According to Oyson:
"When he made his second attempt at a world title against champion Pascual Perez of Argentina at the Rizal Memorial football field in Manila 18 months later, President Carlos P. Garcia attended the fight and even urged him on from ringside: ?Fight, pare! Fight!?
The President was the principal sponsor at his wedding to Rosita Ramos at a Makati church before the fight.
He lost after 15 rounds. His purse from that bout on Dec. 15, 1958 was only P35,000. The fight was a sellout. There was a lot of interest in the fight. Only on Jan. 11 of that year, the little Filipino challenger had also fought a no-decision match against up-and-coming Pone Kingpetch in Thailand.
Kingpetch would later wrest the world flyweight crown from Perez in the latter?s own country. When I met Dommy Ursua again this week, I just had to bring him to the Sun.Star Cebu office for an interview and photo-op. My first interview with him some 20 years ago landed in the pages of the weekly Champ Magazine.
Jerry Nisperos, in an article titled "Boxing: King of the Hill," also noted:
While boxing is cruel to the defeated one, it will be even crueler to the victor if he succumbs to the subtle pitfalls of success outside of the ring. The fighters of yesteryear are on the shorter end of the bargain as compared to today's champions. Past champs do not have the high powered management teams composed of lawyers and financial advisors that comprise present day groups. Commercial endorsements weren't the fad yet. It is a rarity if you ever see an entrepreneurial champ. This is where the non-physical inherent dangers of the game become visible. Flamboyant and even laid back champions are almost always foolhardy. No foresight. They live it by the day. Which usually brings a tragic ending for most. In my country we have many pugilists who have suffered the same fate. Recently reported was Dommy Ursua, whose monicker "toy bulldog" best describes his short, but muscular 4ft.11in. frame. Ursua fought twice for the world flyweight title, but came up short. Nevertheless, he was immensely popular for his brawling style which earned him paydays that would have made him comfortable during those years. But as a fighters' story usually goes, Dommy Ursua ended up broke.
Life in the Fast Lane
Of all the athletes in this world, it is our beloved pugilists who let success go to their heads. The most prone to worldly adventures and contrary to their ring skills, it's ironic that they are defenseless for this kind of adversary. That is why we cannot totally blame them for their misfortunes. Past fighters are easy pickings for their unscrupulous handlers and social friends. A pat on their back or a well-phrased compliment usually do the trick. Many of our fighters are not stingy with their punches or with their money when it comes to spending it. They believe that there is more of it where it came from. Ursua, who used to ride in the presidential car, was notorious for lighting his cigars with crisp peso bills whenever he wanted to showoff to the girls in the nightclubs. After squandering his ring earnings, Ursua took odd jobs over the years to feed his family. He was featured in a TV special four years ago wherein he was seen living a pauper's life in a rundown shanty. Ursua is now in his 70's and bumming for coffee money everyday.
"He told me that the night before last Oct. 18, he and his family of nine in Barangay Ibabao, Cordova, Cebu had not eaten supper. The morning that I met him, he was going down the steps of the DBP Bldg. on Osme?a Blvd., where the Games and Amusements regional office is located. Lando Mendoza, the regional GAB officer-in-charge told me that Ursua drops by his office now and then to ask for pahalipay (coffee money)." Oyson wrote.
"It would seem that the DBP guards did not recognize him. I introduced Dommy to them. I told Dommy to wait for me downstairs as I was seeing Mendoza upstairs."
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Salven L. Lagumbay.
PhilBoxing.com has been created to support every aspiring
Filipino boxer and the Philippine boxing scene in general.
Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org