Philippines, 18 Jun 2024
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BLEACHER TALK: SHORTCUT TO VEGAS


PhilBoxing.com




Cebu City -- We?ve all heard about the lights, glitz and glamour of Vegas, but how many of us have actually been there? We all have our personal reasons to go there, and so do the many local blue chip prospects of boxing who are aching to set foot on the of boxing capital of the world. Thanks to Manny Pacquiao, Philippine boxing is now recognized as a good source of world-class boxers, and the international boxing market is now in search of more Pinoys who can light up the rings of Vegas. But how does one get there?

Through the years of Philippine boxing, the traditional and usual way of doing things was to go for a Philippine championship. A national championship automatically meant being rated by the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) that also serves as the regional arm of the World Boxing Council (WBC). A boxer would then have to win an OPBF championship if he wanted to be recognized by the WBC or any of the other international boxing bodies. Most of these OPBF title fights are held in Japan , leading boxers to dream about Japan first before going to Vegas.

In the past, a Philippine championship was a cherished goal for all boxers. After all, it meant that one was a national champion. But today, things have made a dramatic twist, and there is now a shorter route that boxers are taking on their way to Vegas. Believe it or not: A Philippine championship that is recognized by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) or the other version of the Philippine Boxing Federation (PBF) are no longer on the list of targets for today?s boxing managers. These are considered as a waste or resources, time and effort since the championship doesn?t guaranty a world rating and a trip to Vegas.

There?s a faster way to the top these days, thanks to the entry of the regional championships of the World Boxing Organization (WBO), the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and starting next week, the World Boxing Association (WBA). The WBO has established its Oriental, Asia Pacific and Intercontinental championships for the Asia Pacific region. The IBF has its Pan Pacific and Intercontinental sections, while the WBA has its Intercontinental and PABA championships. Winning a championship in any of these assures a boxer of at least a top 15 rating in these world boxing bodies. Defending one?s championship improves one?s stock and the boxer is rewarded with a rise in the rankings.

In the case of Ciso Morales, he won the WBO Oriental super bantamweight championship in February 2008 and defended it for the first time last April in Manila and for the second time last Saturday. Today, he?s ranked # 10 in the world by the WBO. While he may not yet be ripe for a shot at WBO champ Juan Manuel Marquez, he?s at least ranked in the top ten and is in fact already being considered for a stint in Vegas in any of Golden Boy?s boxing promotions should he do well in his next fights. Australia-based Pinoy Ranee Ganoy also fought on Saturday in the hopes of finding a fast lane to Vegas. He?s currently the IBF Pan Pacific lightweight champion, but his scheduled fights against former world champion Julio Diaz and another Mexican fizzled out, thus freezing his tracks.

Another case of rising to the top of the world ratings without having to win either a Philippine or OPBF championship are WBO world champ Donnie Nietes and AJ ?Bazooka? Banal. Nietes won the WBO Asia Pacific minimumweight championship on his way to the world title. Banal won the WBO Youth super flyweight championship and is fighting for the regular WBA super flyweight championship of the world next week. Although Z Gorres won a Philippine championship, he immediately went another way on his path to fight for the WBO world super flyweight championship, and he?s also on track to challenge for the IBF belt, being the IBF Intercontinental champion. Rey ?Boom Boom? Bautista went via the WBO Asia Pacific and Intercontinental route before losing to erstwhile champ Daniel Ponce de Leon.

I have to admit that all these regional belts can get confusing, but the output is clear for all to see. Never before have Pinoy boxers been given all these opportunities to be rated in the top ten of the world boxing bodies in a faster way. And this consequently meant more world title shots for the country?s best boxers. This is something which the traditional way (going for a Philippine championship) hasn?t been able to provide for our local boxers. And all this leads to one question. What happens now to the Philippine championship recognized by the GAB? Or better yet, what is the GAB doing to address the situation? At this point, it doesn?t really matter anymore now, does it?

But one thing is clear. There?s a faster way to Vegas, and betting odds are heavily stacked towards this way over the old-fashioned path.

oOo

Time-out: Exactly 51 years ago today, a certain Popong Navarro and Pressy Santos tied the knot and decided to raise a family. They produced the Navarro brood who in turn would like to thank them for everything they?ve done for us. >>> You can reach me at bleachertalk@yahoo.com.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rico Navarro.


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