Meet a most unlikely heir to PacquiaoBy Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
IT WAS hard to believe, but they also saw a future Manny Pacquiao in Filipino fighter Lorenzo Villanueva, who suffered his first defeat (in 25 fights) Saturday night.
It was not a routine defeat.
Villanueva, 26, readily slipped into a fulltime fraud after having scored a screaming knockdown early in the first round of the International Boxing Organization featherweight championship at the packed Marina Bay Sands Exposition Hall in Singapore.
Villanueva, who had looked headed for a startling win, was instead counted out on his feet after having had to rise from another knockdown in the second round.
It was a shocking twist that had left his handler, sportsman Manny Piñol, wondering if Villanueva would still dare stick it out in boxing.
* * *
Anyway, shortly before he checked out of the fabulous Marina Bay Sands on Sunday, Piñol got caught in a chance negotiation at the hotel lobby.
“Lend him to me and let me take him back to Sydney,” a middle-aged foreigner in gray t-shirt and playing shorts, told Piñol.
Piñol, who said he still had to ask Villanueva about his immediate plans, identified the fellow as Angelo Hayder, former manager and trainer of Vic Darchinyan, an early victim of Filipino boxing sensation Nonito Donaire Jr.
“Pacquiao was exactly like him (Villanueva), very powerful very brave, but practically with no defensive basics,” the Australian said.
* * *
For his part, Piñol observed that Villanueva had obviously become too cozy after having scored a total of 23 knockouts in all his previous 24 fights.
He noted Villanueva must’ve also felt as invincible as he was powerful.
However, the Australian boxing expert noted that Villanueva, just like Darchinyan, had refused to believe in tested scientific breathing; he refused to launch his punches through the seat of power deep in the navel area, and instead slammed bombs from the shallow shoulder.
Piñol went on to say Villanueva sulked and cried in a corner after the shock defeat.
“He did know what happened to him. He just got instantly wasted, totally lost.”
* * *
As expected, Piñol approved on the spot the offer by the Australian to train and reform Villanueva.
The former governor of North Cotabato, who sustains an energetic boxing program with the help of his brothers at the Braveheart Stable, won’t easily give up on Villanueva
“He did not have the experience and ring savvy, but I have always admired his heart and power,” Piñol said.
Piñol also noted Villanueva’s desire to win in order to lift his siblings “out of poverty and provide them with decent education.”
Explained Piñol: “His story is also the story of many poor Filipino kids, among them boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, who see boxing as the easiest and quickest way out of the squalor of poverty,”
This early, Piñol is looking for more knowledgeable trainers who can assist him in reforming Villanueva—and all other poor members of his promising stable.
More from this Column:
- What a class act by Alaska
- It’s a no-contest tune-up for Manny Pacquiao
- PBA has a big problem, no thanks to Ginebra
- An urgent pitch for Koko
- Pardon the extortion, please