Bleacher Talk: Golden Boy, Top Rank & Pinoy Boxing
By Rico Navarro
Wed, 29 Nov 2006
Aren't you already confused with all the alphabet organizations that make professional boxing the most cluttered sport in terms of initials? Well here are two more sets of initials that you'll have to add to your boxing vocabulary: GB and TR.
While they're already well-known and are acknowledged as big names of the sport from an international angle, GB and TR will now be closer to us Pinoy boxing fans as they have now dipped their fingers into the Philippine boxing scene, many thanks to Manny Pacquiao.
Let's all extend our "Welcome to Pinoy Boxing" greetings to Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions (GB) and Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions (TR), the two most prestigious boxing outfits in boxing today. We have always known the two as promoters of big time boxing events that have featured the country's best boxers in the U.S. But with the recent developments that have seen more Pinoy world title prospects finally getting recognized, GB and TR have gone beyond their usual practice of simply featuring Pinoy boxers on their fight cards through one-fight deals. They have now gone into signing up the country's top boxers to multiple fight contracts.
And the biggest and most controversial news is their legal tug-of-war battle for the country's biggest ace: Manny Pacquiao. While we're not an expert on the legal side of boxing contracts, it's safe to say that this is going to be a wicked battle for the country's "Pambansang Kamao." Everyone now wants a piece of the Pacman with both GB and TR claiming to have signed up Pacquiao to a contract. Now if both sides claim to have the Pacman signed up for the next four to five years, boxing fans are now asking, "Kinsa ba gyud and bag-ong promoter sa Pacman?"
Never before in the history of Philippine boxing can we recall a scenario where a Pinoy boxer was the object of a legal battle between two U.S.-based promoters. The mere fact that two international boxing outfits have brought their rivalry to our shores reflects how much boxing has developed in the country. And that's not it. Both outfits have also signed up other Pinoy boxers into their stables with medium-term contracts, and as in the Pacquiao case, with a twist of controversy as well.
Already in the stable of Golden Boy are Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista, Z Gorres, Diosdado Gabi and Gerry Pe?alosa. On deck are AJ Banal and other ALA boxers who could be signed up if they can prove their stuff. It was reported that GB also signed up Jimrex Jaca to a contract, but I'm not too sure if this is more than a one-fight deal. Jaca is challenging Juan Manuel Marquez for the WBO featherweight title in a GB card today (Saturday night in the U.S.) in Hidalgo , Texas.
On the other hand, there are reports that Top Rank has signed up Philippine super bantamweight champion Bernabe Concepcion after his impressive performance last week. Wakee Salud has said that TR has also signed up other Pinoy boxers as part of the contract that Pacquiao signed with them. Former WBC light flyweight champion Brian Viloria is already TR boxer.
The battle to recruit the best of Pinoy boxers has also drawn the local network that both camps have tapped to reach out and scout for talent. GB is working with the ALA group for Bautista and Gorres, while TR is working with Rex "Wakee" Salud (RWS) in the case of Pacquiao. Salud is a close adviser of Pacquiao along with lawyer Franklin Gacal and Michael Koncz. Note: Aside from the lawsuit that GB has filed against TR in the Pacquiao tug-of-war, a separate lawsuit is reportedly being prepared against the Salud-Gacal-Koncz trio.
The irony of all this is how Wakee Salud is the registered manager of Jaca who is fighting in a GB card today "against the wishes" of Salud himself. Salud's other boxer who I'm sure will be fighting in the U.S. soon is Yuka Gejon. Salud is also
networking with other local boxing managers to bring Pinoys to Top Rank. I believe he worked with Aljoe Jaro in Concepcion 's case, and could be working on bringing another Jaro prot?g? in Philippine minimumweight champion Florante Condes.
Koncz is an American boxing patron who came to the Philippines to assist in the career of Bautista and Gabi. Gabi, however, has decided to leave Koncz's camp and now has Freddie Roach as his adviser-cum-manager in the U.S. I'm not sure if Koncz
still has a say as regards the career of Boom Boom Bautista.
With Pacquiao opening the doors of Philippine boxing to the world scene, the well-kept "open secrets" of big time boxing wheeling and dealing, wining and dining, and hardball negotiations have now reached our local shores.
The perfect combination of the U.S.-based Philippine community (that is an instant boxing market audience), the local Pinoy audience, and the influx of world caliber boxers coming out of the country has converged to attract the big names of boxing.
And many more Pinoy boxers will be now given the opportunity to prove that the Philippines is not a one-hit Pacman phenomenon.
It's win-win-win for all and the biggest winner out of all this is Philippine Boxing.
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