By Rico Navarro
Sun, 23 May 2010
Sounds like a new airline company, doesn?t it? In a way, ALA?s like an airline company; starting with value/low fare domestic flights, but now venturing to new heights. When the ALA Promotions team went to Dubai to bring a set of boxers to fill up a card, we had analyzed that something was brewing. Little did we know that after the Dubai trip came the announcement that ALA was going international. International? But aren?t they already international sending their boxers to fight in Dubai, Vegas, Mexico and LA? I guess this wasn?t ?international? enough in their eyes because here they are now venturing to become an international boxing promotions/management team.
Don?t look now, but it looks like they have plans of making it even bigger. By international, you?re talking about the likes of Top Rank and Golden Boy. In the Asian scene, Teiken Promotions of Akihito Honda of Japan would be the benchmark although most of their projects are in Japan. Where will ALA want to place itself in this boxing business which isn?t as glamorous and as clean as it looks?
By the way it sounds, the drive is obviously strategic with an eye at the long term. And being strategic includes the willingness to change the way they do things in order to get to their goals. One of the biggest twists of direction is that ALA will no longer rely solely on its exclusive set of ALA-bred boxers for its boxing ventures. ALA has announced that they?ll sign up boxers who have the potential to go international. Among their first ?projects? include the comebacking Jimrex Jaca and former world champion Katsunari Takayama of Japan. Both boxers were never known to be regulars at the ALA gym, but what has to be done has to be done. This includes breaking out of the close outlook to adopt a more comprehensive and outward looking approach at things. Takayama was set to fight last night but had to pull out due to an injury he incurred while training. Jaca is set to fight tonight in the supporting main event of the Michael Domingo-Luis Melendez fight at the Waterfront Hotel. Who?s next? I wonder if ALA will also be willing to sign up boxers from the likes of Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico or even the U.S.? You never know.
With a top-heavy stock of boxers under its care, ALA can now look forward to organizing more events that can be spread out across the year. After two fight cards in two straight days, people are already looking forward to the June 26 card featuring Brian Viloria. Then you have the July defense of WBO minimumweight world champion Donnie Nietes in his hometown of Bacolod. I just found out that AJ ?Bazooka? Banal and Boom Boom Bautista are set to fight in Norfolk, Virgina also on June 26. Somewhere in between, I?m sure Milan Melindo will most likely fight in any of these events. Boom Boom Bautista is reportedly also set to fight again in Dubai in October. Overseas, Mark Jason Melligen is ALA?s tie-up prospect with Top Rank. It sure looks like ALA has learned a lot from its tie-ups with Top Rank and Golden Boy. My guess is that ALA will now set a medium to long term program for its boxers with the goal of getting them as far as they can in the international scene. And this means no less than a world championship. In the minimumweight division, they already have a world champ in Nietes. Melindo is another hot potential here as well as in the 108-pound division, and he also spends time in the flyweight weight class (112 pounds) due to the lack of breaks. Domingo is just waiting for a call for a world title fight, while Banal is just buying ?maturity? time before going for it all. It may take awhile before Boom Boom gets a call for a world championship fight, but if he can keep himself busy winning fights and earning money in Dubai, he?ll be fine.
At the bottom line of all this is just that: the bottom line. Boxing is both entertainment and a business, and people don?t go into boxing for the simple fun of it. They?re also there for the ?fund? of it. This is where I?d like to see how ALA digs in to get ?down and dirty? in this messy world of boxing. There is a saying that the world of boxing is composed of off the ring activities which comprise 90% of boxing, and only 10% left for the actual boxing on the ring itself. A lot of wheeling and dealing plus wining and dining will have to be done. While the ALA team is no stranger in this department, the ugly part is that they?ll have to do more of this if they want to get to the top. Sad, but so true. But this looks like a lot of fun. Sports is fun and when it also happens to be work, then work should be a whole lot of fun. How I wish I could be like them.
To the ALA Team: Hope your international airline flies high with everyone having fun on the way up there.
Time-out: I?d like to thank Coaches Ompong Segura and Bunky Bacay for spending time in teaching Cebu?s kids the basics of basketball at the Milo BEST basketball clinic. >>> You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local boy Michael Domingo (L) and Columbia's Luis Melendez will duke it out tonight at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City as one of ALA Promotions offering for this year.
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