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One Game At A Time

Boxing lessons from Mang Moy

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BOXING man Ramon “Moy” Lainez passed away this weekend at age 70 after a mild stroke and a subsequent heart problem. He was a promoter, manager and TV analyst who genuinely relished the sport. He had seen them all from Flash Elorde to Erbito Salavarria, from Manny Pacquiao to the present crop of upcoming boxers.

Lainez was “Mang Moy,” a term of respect for an elderly and wise mentor. This is how we revere elders who matter in our life, even if we are not at all related to them.

Mang Moy was how boxers, fight managers, TV crew and ringside workers addressed the friendly and approachable Lainez.

Although he had dabbled in show businesses at Vic Sotto’s M-Zet Productions, he was a boxing man at heart and returned to the sport after a brief hiatus. Thus, “In This Corner,” a popular boxing show that Lainez was also a part of in the 1960s and ’70s, was reborn in 1999. We became partners for close to 13 years, traveling all around the country in search of the next great champions.

Lainez was my boxing Henry Higgins and Yoda rolled into one as he taught me the nuances of the fight game. It was a hearty education learning how boxers prepared for battle, adjusted inside the ring and handled both the joy and frustrations of the sweet science.

Here are a few choice cuts of the lessons I learned from Mang Moy through the years.

Imagine a raspy senior citizen’s male voice dishing out ringside comments in Filipino during a fight, exactly how Moy would punch them out in our telecasts:

“Ang boksingero, ’pag umiling na kunwari’y ’di nasaktan, asahan mo nasaktan ’yun. (When a boxer shakes his head to show he wasn’t hurt, for sure he was seriously hurt by a punch).”

“Kailangan dulo ng suntok o knuckle ang tumama sa kalaban para sapul (A punch delivered must make an opponent feel the knuckle of the hand).”

“Kulang sa hangin ang boksingerong ito. Masama ang ensayo. (This fighter is gasping for air.  He trained poorly).”

“Walang power ang suntok. Kulang ng trabaho sa heavy bag (There’s no power in the punch. The boxer lacked work on the heavy bag).”

“Mahina ang ayuda ng trainer. Kailangan madinig ng boksingero ang korner niya sa laban (There’s no encouragement from the trainer.  The boxer must hear his corner during the fight).”

Mang Moy would also not mince words about cornermen who mindlessly poured water on boxers heading for their stools in between rounds. He wanted them to be prudent in the corners so that the boxer would not feel heavy and sluggish rather than revived.

Having been part of Pacquiao’s first management team, he saw up close how cutmen in the United States handled wounds of fighters and urged our own corner men to invest in the proper medicine and tools to take care of fighters.

Moy Lainez was passionate about boxing and wanted to see more Filipinos become world champions. We who have been left behind will try to see that more of his wishes come true as we live out the lessons he taught us.


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