REY “BOOM BOOM” BAUTISTA: THE REMAKING OF A PROSPECT
By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
Sun, 30 Jan 2011
Last Saturday night, we saw Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista do something that he could – and should - have done five months ago; pummel a game but outclassed Alejandro Barrera.
This was his fourth win (against three opponents) since he recovered from surgery on his left wrist. But, it will not surprise anyone if he continues to be the target of criticisms. Memories of his first round knockout loss to Daniel Ponce de Leon and his points loss to Heriberto Ruiz still linger.
There are also those who claim they were turned off by his perceived haughtiness. Bautista tried to address this in an interview with philboxing less than two years ago but the stigma remains.
But the Waterfront Hotel crowd was lustily cheering for him as he used his reconstructed left to topple Barrera. After all is said and done, Bautista is the Pinoy in this match-up.
Perhaps as a result of getting disappointed too many times, boxing aficionados are often too quick to write off a fighter after he’s had a bad loss or two. But boxers far better than Bautista have been kayoed and still became great champions.
Bautista is still a flawed fighter. He will never fight like a Juan Manuel Marquez or an Ivan Calderon. Giving in to the temptation to brawl will always be there. He takes risks that are often unnecessary. That is his persona and that is why he sells tickets. Knowledgeable boxing fans are critics by nature. But their hearts will always beat faster when a defensively challenged fighter with a big punch decides to go toe to toe.
Bautista may be a lot of things, but one thing he is not is boring.
Five years ago, he was celebrating inside the same ring with Oscar dela Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley. How many Filipino boxers outside of Manny Pacquiao can actually claim to have stood inside a ring with these three Hall of Famers?
Bautista (30W-2L, 23 KO’s) still attracts the casual fans. Even mothers and daughters gather around to have their picture taken with him during public workouts and sparring sessions.
There are those who wanted to see him fall one last time. Last Saturday, Bautista made a statement in spectacular fashion and lived to fight for another day. The post-fight celebration brought back memories of the heady days when he fought before sell-out crowds in Mandaue and Tagbilaran.
Since he turned pro in 2003, he has almost single-handedly re-energized boxing in this region. This is why most people still want Bautista to succeed. It’s not about sulking and lamenting about what could have been but rather continuing to be optimistic that he will reach those heights once again.
Bautista is still 24 years old but is already set up financially. He can leave the fight game now and be better off than ninety percent of the boxers in the Philippines. But he chose to stay because the desire to fight still burns. He has said time and time again that he wants to work on his imperfections. Learning curves are different for everyone, students or athletes. Unfortunately for him, he became a star at a point where he should have continued to hone his skills.
He will continue to climb the ladder of championship hopefuls. But ALA Promotions President Michael Aldeguer said in previous press conferences that they will take it slow and assess “Boom Boom” one fight at a time. This is just one fight, one victory.
He may get to fight Ponce de Leon again or he may not. But one thing for sure, tickets will be sold out the next time “Boom Boom” Bautista steps inside the ring.
We've seen what Jason Pagara can do against the Sapapetch Sor Sakaorats and the Billy Sumbas of this world. We'd like to see him matched up against a tough Latino hombre.
Younger brother Albert Pagara won his second pro bout in the undercard and is quite the “body snatcher”. Edrin Dapudong is back on the win column and fans will observe his rebuilding process. We hope he gets another chance to sting Mexico.
People in the expensive seats lined up early for PINOY PRIDE 3, more and more foreign nationals are spotted at ringside...too bad our leaders never had the foresight or the will to build a world class sports stadium here in Cebu.
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