Those involved in a congressional probe on the latest boxing death in the country would do well to zero in on the lack of defensive basics among many of our professional boxers.
Yes, correcting this sordid flaw would not totally eliminate ring deaths.
But just like with unwanted pregnancies, sound defense could work like a condom or a birth control pill in diminishing, if not totally eliminating, tragic accidents inside the boxing ring.
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To illustrate, it must be made clear that when the referee orders combatants to “protect yourself at all times,” the warning is against something more serious than a knockdown or a knockout.
A boxer’s fists are licensed weapons, and no official in his right mind would like to work a fatal bout.
Death lurks in every professional boxing bout.
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This should mean there had been criminal negligence on the part of supervising officials when they failed to immediately provide an oxygen tank after Karlo Maquinto lost consciousness at the end of a drawn bout in Caloocan on Jan. 28.
To make it worse, the mishandling of the victim, who was dragged like a cadaver from the floor, according to columnist Joaquin Henson, obviously contributed to the fatal deterioration of the victim.
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But trying to pin down those clearly responsible would be a waste of time.
These jet-setting officials would always find ways to escape blame.
In the case of Maquinto, he never stood a chance.
He practically walked into that fatal combination, like a driver who crashed while texting on the road.
This is not to say Maquinto was totally dumb, he had been unbeaten prior to the tragedy.
Maquinto just happened to be totally defenseless.
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Given the basics, he could’ve rolled to lessen the impact.
He could’ve have also stepped back, or clinched, instead of charging in after he got tagged hard in the second round.
There are many ways of recovering and lessening the impact of a punch.
Take if from Manny Pacquiao, who himself started out as a pure slugger, who got knocked out before finally realizing the urgent need for sound defense.
“Kailangan handa ka sa anumang mangyayari (You must be ready for exigencies),” Pacquiao advised.
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Pacquiao had also said boxing must be treated with utmost seriousness and care:
“Hindi biro-biro ang mag-boxing, pwede kang mamatay (It’s no joke fighting inside the ring, you could get killed).”
The message, let’s pray, doesn’t get lost again on responsible parties.
The Games and Amusements Board, with its dismal record for incompetence, will never see to the need for proper remedies.
But here’s an urgent call: 1) A boxer should be issued a professional license only after he has passed a strict test on defensive basics; 2) A professional boxer must be honestly tested for this required competence by a credible, incorruptible body.
As the GAB is under the Office of the President, President Aquino is hereby requested to see to the immediate implementation of these measures.
It’s not only about simple basics.
It’s about fighters being able to properly protect themselves at all times.
Boxing can still be saved by official honesty and a little common sense.