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Bare Eye

Will the GAB allow more one-handed Filipino pugs?

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DID Denver Cuello honestly think he stood a chance at winning last Friday in Dubai?

It’s painful to imagine how Cuello could’ve beaten the Chinese world minimumweight boxing champion, Xiong Zhaozhong, with only one good hand.

Cuello may indeed own a heart bigger than Dubai, site of the championship battle, but what stood out loud and clear was the irresponsibility of the World Boxing Council which, given the advice of a competent ring physician, should’ve disallowed the bout.

* * *

A top sports injury doctor who had previously attended to the peppery Pinoy fighter yesterday told the Inquirer Cuello should’ve been getting total rest and undergoing rehab the day he climbed the ring in Dubai.

Now the WBC, through its fumbling over-aged head Jose Sulaiman, was telling the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) that the Mexico-based boxing body would answer for Cuello’s treatment and medication.

This after Cuello was not properly compensated by the Dubai fight promoter, said to be backed by a Chinese operator with a shady character.

Cuello has been scheduled to be operated on by a Dr. Beng Javier at the Makati Medical Center for free.

* * *

If anything, the 24-year-old Cuello had insisted on fighting to show the world how courageous Filipino ring warriors are.

Of course, there was initial fear the bout could’ve deteriorated early into a pagan mismatch of the Roman times, when unarmed Christian slaves were left out in the arena to fight for their life against a lion or a heavily armed executioner.

In fairness to Cuello, he made a good account of his lame self, dropped his foe in the first round, and could’ve eked out a points win or an honest draw, had all the three judges been more fair.

He was declared loser by majority decision.

* * *

It was of course an ugly fight, an absurd theater, any way you looked at it.

You could not help but wince, groan even, as Cuello plodded gallantly with only one good hand.

Shouldn’t have the ring physician, granting there was one in Dubai, ordered a halt after Cuello’s rotator cuff muscle on the right shoulder got completely torn in the seventh round?

“He just refused to give up. In fact he was given the chance to withdraw a day before the fight,” informed a Cuello close-in adviser, who helped the gritty boxer secure free medical attention.

The adviser said Cuello would not let the chance for a world crown, which he had been pursuing for over three years, fizzle off.

* * *

Anyway, there’s this assurance that Cuello, despite the danger he faced, will be back in perfect form to fight again.

We can be truly thankful that Cuello, despite the crippling handicap, made a good account of his courageous self.

Unfortunately, there’s not a single sign the GAB has learned a lesson from that absurd boxing theater in Dubai.


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