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De La Vega: Donaire-Gaballo Postscript


PhilBoxing.com



Donaire (R) comforts fallen compatriot Gaballo.
The all-Filipino title fight between WBC champion Nonito Donaire Jr and his challenger Raymart Gaballo held last Saturday night, December 11, 2021 at the famed Dignity Health Center, left some impressions worth talking about.

First and foremost, the event was pure class, at least in so far as the fighters were concerned. There was no trash talking to generate interest to the fight unlike when WBO champion John Reil Casimero challenged Donaire to unify the bantamweight belts. We all know how that proposed fight went. It never happened!

The description of “pure class” was further demonstrated when Donaire knelt next to Gaballo soon after he knocked him out with a wicked left hook to the liver, to comfort him and perhaps show his compassion for the fallen countryman. What made the scene so poignant was Gaballo’s handler, JC Mananquil the CEO of San Man Promotions in the Philippines, witnessed it.

What a demonstration of classic sportsmanship from Nonito Donaire, Jr!


Gaballo's manager JC Manangquil (L) looks on as Donaire comforts Gaballo.

Then there was the weather.

I always find it amusing why promoters pick open-air venues during wintertime. Someone said that perhaps it’s cheaper to rent that kind of a venue during wintertime, when business is not too brisk when it’s cold and dreary. But what do we know?


The sparse crowd who attend the Donaire-Gaballo fight at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

The Dignity Health Sports Center is an awesome place for boxing during spring and summer. But during winter, the place is too cold for an open-air boxing event at night.

When Donaire and Gaballo finally got to the ring to initiate the main event that was seen live on ShowTime PPV, the temperature was 53°F (11.6°C). The poor crowd that waited between fights was literally shivering in the cold. And, the fights did not come successively. There was some wait time in between sometimes lasting more than 20 minutes. On the other side of the coin, the long wait allowed more time to buy beer!

Maybe to one of the fighters in the card, Canadian Cody Crowley, the temperature did not mean much as it often times gets below freezing in some places in Canada. No doubt 53°F is mincemeat to Crowley.

In addition, there was the obvious absence of Philippine-based media.

There could be two reasons for this. Perhaps the event is no big deal to the Philippine local media folks so they did not spend extra efforts to come unlike when Manny Pacquiao fights in the US. But, as one pundit stated, the fighters involved, unlike Pacquiao, did not provide free round trip flight tickets and hotel rooms.

In retrospect, perhaps the real reason they didn’t come was to avoid the hassles of travelling during these times when the coronavirus still reign supreme all over the world.

Finally, the absence of the home-based Pinoy media was not as glaring as the absence of the hordes of US-based “boxing-fans” that are often seen when Pacquiao fights in the US. As another pundit stated, “Pacmania is over and thus there were no free tickets to give away for the fight”

In fact, one joke that was stated goes as follows: “How do you recognize a Filipino boxing fan from a Latino amongst those folks outside the venue?”

Answer: The Latinos are those in line to buy tickets, the Filipinos are those in line waiting for free tickets.”

Had it not been for the Latino crowd that came and supporters of the fighters on the undercard, the venue would have been pathetically empty. There were so few true Filipino boxing fans to speak of that came and bought their tickets. And, there were also a handful wearing “credentials” but obviously had no role in the fight except to get a free access to the venue.’


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ed de la Vega, DDS.


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