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ĎBoom Boomí ponders future

Rey (Boom Boom) Bautista turned pro at 16, a week shy of his 17th birthday, in 2003 and now at 27, heís a grizzled veteran with 37 fights under his belt. Tomorrow night, he promises to make a sensational debut as a superfeatherweight against Mexican Sergio Villanueva in a 10-round appetizer to the Donnie Nietes-Moises Fuentes rematch at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Bautista wasnít his usual self in his last outing which he lost to Mexican Jose Ramirez on a split decision in Davao City a year ago. He went down in the first round, got up to floor Ramirez in the eighth but ran out of gas down the stretch. Bautista said he had difficulty making the 126-pound featherweight limit and couldnít get it together.

ďI couldnít focus right away,Ē said Bautista in Filipino. ďI drank two bottles of different energy drinks in the dressing room and I got dizzy. Ramirez isnít a good fighter. It was just that I was dehydrated. But no excuses, I lost that fight. Now, Iím up to 130. If Ramirez wants to go up to superfeatherweight, Iíll be ready for him.Ē

Bautista said when he was knocked down in the first round, it didnít bring back the nightmarish memory of his bleak try to wrest the WBO superbantamweight crown from Mexican Daniel Ponce de Leon in Sacramento in 2007. Ponce de Leon knocked out the previously unbeaten Bautista at 2:30 of the opening round.

ďIíve put the Ponce de Leon fight out of my mind,Ē said Bautista. ďI was young then, immature. I wanted to take him out with one punch in one round. Now, things are different. When I went down in the first round of the Ramirez fight, it was because of lack of concentration. I didnít think about Ponce de Leon. I just knew it was because my weight problem.Ē Yesterday, Bautista said he was three over the 130-pound superfeatherweight limit. It wonít be an issue scaling down at the weigh-in today.


As for the future, Bautista said heíll grab whatever opportunity comes his way. ďIf I get another world title shot, Iíll do my best to win but if I donít get it, that means itís not for me,Ē he said. ďI leave it up to Sir ALA (Tony Aldeguer) and Sir Michael (Aldeguer). Iíll keep on fighting. Iíll never leave ALA, I owe everything to ALA. But what I also want to do is to join the military. Iíve always dreamed to be a soldier. I applied to join the Air Force at Villamor but I was denied because Iím married. Thatís not fair. Iíve been told the Army will accept married men so Iím applying for the Army. I think Iíve given honor to our country as a fighter and I want to keep on giving honor to our country as a soldier. Boxing is not something you do forever. When Iím finished fighting, Iíd like to train military boxers. I know thereís a training camp in Baguio. I also know there is a drive to bring the troops closer to sports. I hope to be able to contribute to that effort.Ē

ALA trainer Edito Villamor said if Bautista makes progress as a superfeatherweight, the plan is to eventually put him up against Ponce de Leon in a rematch or former WBO superbantamweight and featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez of Puerto Rico. Ponce de Leon, 33, has a 45-6 record, with 35 KOs, and was stopped by Lopez in a battle for the vacant WBO International superfeatherweight crown in Puerto Rico last March.

While heís thinking of the future, Bautista said itís important to take care of business tomorrow night as his immediate priority. ďVillanueva is a jabber,Ē he continued in Filipino. ďIíve watched one of his fights on tape. In the first few rounds, he runs, jabs, moves side to side. Heís very frisky. Then, in the middle rounds, he goes in. Thatís when Iíll wait for him. Although Iíve moved up to 130, I still have my power. In the gym, I worked out with Nick (Curson) and I did a lot of new exercises for balance, relaxing my muscles and explosiveness. I even did exercises in the swimming pool.Ē

Curson owns and operates a training center in Redondo Beach, California. He offered his services to ALA in an e-mail and Villamor checked him out when the trainer went to Los Angeles with fighters Milan Melindo and Genesis Servania a few months back. Villamorís feedback was positive and Curson was brought to Cebu to work with the ALA Boys.

ďNickís approach is very scientific,Ē said Villamor. ďHe isolates your fast-twitch muscle fiber and works on your explosiveness. He makes you relax your muscles so you get maximum power when you strike. Heís been a big help to our fighters.Ē Bautista said with what he learned from Curson, expect an explosion tomorrow. ďBoom Boom is back,Ē he said. ďJust watch my fight.Ē

Bautista said heís now settled in with his wife Maria Sheryl and their 1-year-old son Rey Gabriel. ďWith what Iíve earned in boxing, I was able to build two houses in Bohol, one in my hometown of Candijay and another in Tagbilaran,Ē he said. ďI also have two passenger jeepneys and three tricyles in Bohol. In Cebu, I have a house where I live with my family. Iím really thinking of the future now. For example, I donít want my son to become a boxer. Iíll teach him boxing for self-defense in school but I donít want him to suffer what I suffered, I donít want him to get hurt, to get his nose broken or to get cut up. Boxing is a hard life. I donít want him to experience my hardships. But if after I explain to him how difficult a boxerís life is and he still wants to try it out, Iíll support him all the way.Ē

Photo: Rey 'Boom-Boom' Bautista (C) poses with Milan Melindo (L) and Donnie Nietes (R) during yesterday's presscon of Pinoy Pride 25 at Bayview Hotel in Manila.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.

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