BATAWANG FAILS MEDICAL TEST FOR FIGHT IN L.A., MAY FINALLY HANG UP GLOVES
By Ed de la Vega, DDS
Mon, 13 Sep 2010
Beverly Hills, CA.:- Not too many, save for his family, a few friends, the GAB people at Cebu and of course the travel agent that arranged his flight knew that Bert Batawang is in Los Angeles for a fight scheduled at the Playboy Mansion against a wily Mexican prospect, Adrian Hernandez on Saturday, September 11, 2010.
The Batawang-Hernandez fight was the main event in a mixed fight card (boxing and MMA fights) promoted by Christian Princup and produced by George Chung at the famed playground for the rich and famous at Beverly Hills, California - the very same place where Hugh Hefner holds court surrounded by tons of beautiful ladies.
But has fate has it, the fight was not meant to be.
Batawang failed a very closely supervised thorough medical check done by the doctors at the medical group headed by Dr. Richard Gluckman of San Pedro, California. The ophthalmologist with the group found a slight retina tear in one of Batawang’s eyes and he vetoed the fight.
The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) ordered the full medical check for Batawang since he has not fought in the State before and has no existing updated medical record in the last 24 months. At his age they also want to be sure that he is in perfect shape to do combat anywhere in California.
Batawang was brought to San Pedro by this writer and his manager, Sammy Gello-ani.
Batawang’s last encounter with the CSAC was during the World Cup held last August 2007 in Sacramento California. He was part of the Philippine Team that fought a Mexican team. His opponent then was found to be medically unfit thus their fight was canceled. Ironically, the medical problem was a torn retina as well. Technically, Batawang has no fight record in the State, thus the CSAC ordered the full blown medical check up it requires for all boxers fighting in the State for the first time.
The medical findings were of course very devastating to Batawang, particularly because he needed the money to care for his family and the forth coming baby. “Okay naman ang mga mata ko, Doc. Di naman malabo ang tingin ko, Bakit kaya ganun?" he lamented. ( Rough translation: My eyes are okay and I can see clearly. I wonder why?) But, that’s just how it is in boxing or life for that matter. Sometimes a curve ball is thrown to us at the least expected moment and there is nothing we can do about it.
Batawang’s plane fare was advanced by his promoter, Sammy Gello-ani. He was supposed to pay him back when he gets paid by the promoter, Christian Princup. Since the fight canceled, he has no way to do so as he is not being paid his purse.
However, Princup in a conversation he had with Gello-ani after he was told about Batawang’s problems pledged to pay for the plane ticket of not only for Batawang but for Gello-ani as well.
And, right after the fight card was over last Saturday, Chung wrote a check to cover the plane fares. He also paid for the hotel where Gello-ani and Batawang stayed since last Wednesday.
That in my book is pure class!
Princup and Chung are a credit to the boxing community and their kind gesture must be noted by all promoters. They simply stepped up to the plate and paid for the duo’s cost of flying over to LA.
Now if all boxing promoters are like them, boxing will continue to go a long way.
Batawang will head back to Manila on Sunday and will be immediately brought to the doctors at Cebu for management of his eye problem. If the tear is re-attached successfully, he may be able to fight again in the future.
But then again at age 38 the prospect of returning to the ring may no longer be as bright. He needs to assess the situation and talk to his family and to Gello-ani. With that, he can make an intelligent decision regarding his future. He could continue to fight or switch to being a trainer.
With his more than 50 fights in the book including 38 KO victories, his experiences on the square ring will be a tremendous help for the young boxers hoping to follow the boxing path to glory. With Gello-ani opening his own gym at Cebu very soon, Batawang may just find a perfect place to do so.
If Batawang chooses to retire and become a full time trainer, I say:- Thanks for the memories, Bert. You have done well my friend so go ahead - stand tall and lift up your arms in victory.
You have done us proud!
Note: Batawang’s medical check-up was not done in Cebu because the results will not be recognized in California. The CSAC will still require that the tests be done in-State if the fighter is fighting for the first time in California.
Christian Princup and George Chung provided wrist bands for Gello-ani, Batawang and this writer to allow access to the “By Invitation Only” fight card. Needless to say, we had a hell of a time. The food was great, the drinks were free, the venue was like a dream and the PlayBoy Bunnies were fabulous. Wow!
Top photo: Bert Batawang (C) poses with Playboy bunnies at the Playboy Mansion. Photo by Dr Ed de la Vega.
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