One Game At A Time

Even Odette couldn’t stop the fights

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IT’S not standard fare that a boxing card is held in a plush village south of Metro Manila. But it’s also not everyday that you have three championship bouts in one evening.

This was the boxing menu last Saturday at Alabang 400 when an 80-round card descended upon this quiet residential area. Homeowner association president Louie Casiño generously offered to boxing promoter friend Rommel Nazario his village’s covered court as an option when Nazario couldn’t get the fight card to happen in Biñan because of the unpredictable weather.

The slugfest was welcomed warmly but not without a scare of rescheduling that arrived as the curtain raiser began hostilities. The tailend of Typhoon Odette dropped a ton of rainfall and nasty winds carried the water inside the covered venue. The four-rounder had to be stopped while everybody sought cover in the remaining dry sections.

It was an opportunity for the boxing community to talk shop. I chatted with top Filipino referees Silvestre Abainza, Ferdinand Estrella and Virgilio Garcia and asked if any previous fight nights had to be reset because of nasty weather. Estrella couldn’t recall one while Garcia mentioned a promotion in Baguio. Abainza recalled one in Indonesia where the late Grego Garcia’s fighter battled on a wet ring as the fight proceeded in the rain.

All three remembered the early years of Manny Pacquiao when a scheduled bout against Raffy Montalban was called off. Gerry Garcia, my new tag-team partner in the “In This Corner” TV show, said that Gerry Peñalosa had won a fight and then there was an awarding ceremony afterwards that included former President Fidel V. Ramos. Too many personalities and security climbed up the ring and proved to be too much weight for the set-up. The President was unhurt but the damage to the ring was enough to cancel Pacquiao’s fight.

Games and Amusement Board boxing division chief Dr. Nasser Cruz told me that the GAB could postpone boxing schedules if the conditions of the venue are not safe for the fighters. Of course, this is done after consulting with the promoter who made a substantial investment in the event. As always, a crew from the GAB supervises professional boxing events.

But the rains and wind did take a break and allowed the fights to proceed.

In the title bouts, rugged Ardin Diale retained his Philippine flyweight crown with a TKO of Jeffrey Cerna in the fifth round. Referee Garcia stepped in to prevent any more serious damage on Cerna who was being punished with an endless barrage of punches.

Ronelle Ferreras got a unanimous nod to win the Paba interim miniflyweight title against Jerson Luzarito, and Angelito “Matrix” Mirin prevailed by unanimous decision over Rene Dacquel for the WBC Youth super flyweight crown. The youth category is for boxers 24 years and below and serves as an incentive for young prizefighters to aspire early for a title.

But Mother Nature is not to be denied when she wants to unleash her might.  When the final bell sounded, the skies dropped the rains again and let the winds waft in on a fight night that was packing up.

Mother Nature simply took a boxing break.

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