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Bare Eye

Save boxing: Letter to the President

/ 11:23 PM February 20, 2012

Dear President Noynoy Aquino,

It’s not everyday that you get a letter of this petty sort, sir. In fact this is the first time I’ve written to a Chief Executive.
I took the courage to write you upon learning through an item here in the Inquirer that you do answer fan mail.
Please count me in as one of your admirers.
Last week, I tried to bring to your attention the tragic state of Philippine boxing, following the death of the young, talented Karlo Maquinto in Caloocan City on Jan. 28.
I trust you have been aware of this tragedy.
But I doubt if you had read that column, wherein we pleaded for your intercession to lessen, if not totally prevent, senseless savagery inside boxing rings all over the country.

* * *

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I write to repeat that appeal on behalf of many Filipino boxers who continued to fight professionally unarmed with the necessary defensive basics.
In the case of Maquinto, I said that he never stood a chance.
He walked blindly into that lethal combination, like a driver who crashed while texting on the road.
Maquinto was not totally dumb. He brought an unbeaten record to his grave.
But from what was shown on the replay of the tragic bout, Maquinto was totally bereft of sensible defense.
He kept charging in after being tagged with a knee-buckling combination.

* * *

Sir, let me report that there are countless Karlo Maquintos all over the country, whose main idea about prizefighting is to sock it to the opponent, totally unmindful of what they get in return.
There should be an effort on the part of officials to check and correct this corrupt concept.
The so-called Sweet Science predictably slips into sorry savagery if one, if not both, of the combatants knows only how to throw punches, with no knowledge whatsoever of how to protect himself (at all times), as regularly mandated by the referee at the start of a bout.
Minus the scientific safeguards, boxers are worse than motorcycle riders who travel without helmets.
* * *
Sir, I won’t take much of your time. Let me suggest again that professional boxers should be allowed to take out a license only after they’ve passed a strict test on defensive basics.
As noted in a previous column: 1) A boxer should be issued a professional license only after he has passed a strict test ; 2) A professional boxer must be honestly tested for this required competence by a credible, incorruptible body.
In case you’re wondering why the Games and Amusements Board, under your honorable office, has done nothing, let me assure there are tested, trustworthy experts ready to be tapped.
To name only two, there are former world champion Gerry Peñalosa and veteran referee Bruce McTavish.
Gerry has been taking in young aspirants for free in his gym at the Marketplace in Mandaluyong City, while Brother Bruce is a favorite resource person in boxing clinics and seminars abroad.
I could, with my two-cents’ worth of boxing basics, pitch in and help organize for free.
Thank you for reading this, although I’ve to humbly remind Your Excellency that what’s imperative at the moment is immediate action.
This is all. You won’t hear from me again—until after the next ring death.
Wishing you success in your noble crusade.

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TAGS: Boxing, Bruce McTavish, Gerry Peñalosa, Karlo Maquinto, President Noynoy Aquino, Sports
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