IT CAME a full week late. But local boxing devotees got a big bonus on Sunday when GMA 7 finally showed the main undercard to the world light middleweight championship between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez during the replay of “The One” on Sunday.
The magnificent, bruising bout between unbeaten world welterweight champion Danny Garcia and the brave, big-punching Lucas Mathysse of Argentina turned into a grim battle for survival and loomed as Fight of the Year candidate.
In fact, once they were done with the Mayweather-Alvarez mismatch, some fans were overheard as swearing the Garcia-Mathysse thriller was the real thing.
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Fans who had expected a full-scale war blamed Mayweather for electing to turn the bout into a recital of delightful dexterity.
The mismatch was branded as tasteless, if not total rubbish. Fans alternately blamed Mayweather for either being too good or playing it fanatically too defensive.
A more believable view noted Mayweather actually “did not want to hurt the kid.”
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A supreme mismatch in whatever term, although there was no inkling the bout would readily deteriorate into the most forgettable fight of the decade. In the first place, how do you prejudge a mismatch, unless the bummer starts to unfold before your eyes?
Truth is there are mismatches elsewhere in this world where poor citizens receive regular one-sided beating in their communities that have remained the showcases of neglect.
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It’s like this: Last weekend, I decided to honor a commitment and took a bus from Cubao to Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, to help honor a man I had met once when I slept in his house in West Covina during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
His name is Porfirio Della, who turns 92 today.
I had proposed to get off the bus in San Julian, before Moncada proper, then take a tricycle to downtown Cuyapo.
Percy vehemently refused and instead fetched me on the highway off San Julian.
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The Nampican-Cuyapo road leading to the town proper is only six kilometers, but it offered a preview of the mismatch poor residents (Cuyapo has an estimated population of 50,000) suffer from.
Half of that stretch—rutted, perennially flooded—is not fit even for carabao cart.
Maybe the provincial government of Nueva should try and enter the inhuman road as obstacle course in Xtreme Games?
“We’re not sure if this is national or provincial road,” Percy explained. “But shouldn’t our governor be attending to this?”
You have a governor, but has no government?
Percy nodded wanly.
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Needless to say, that savage stretch has helped obstruct the possible flow of progress to Cuyapo proper.
“At least we’ve now one 7-Eleven outlet,” Percy quipped. “That means we’ve also arrived.”
Not quite. We checked in late, as expected, and finally settled down for a late round of beer, an exquisite duck dish invented by Percy. Then the lights went off.
Anyway, when we woke up early for a trip to the town market that had been razed by a fire, power was still off.
Of course, the perennial power cut-off also resulted in the whole community going waterless, meaning life and commerce also stood at a standstill.
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“Please help us, call the attention of our governor,” cried Boy Della, single, Percy’s youngest brother.
The governor’s name is Aurelio “Ogie” Umali, noted for having put an end to the Joson dynasty in Nueva Ecija.
He has succeeded in bringing 7-Eleven to god-forsaken Cuyapo, where adorable, good-natured citizens have been left to lead refugee existence right in their place of birth.
Boy Della was begging for an honorable exit from all the man-made mess.