FILIPINO boxing aficionados can look forward to three sizzling matches involving the country’s world champions in April.
First in the calendar is the Brian “The Hawaiian Punch” Viloria-Juan Estrada faceoff scheduled in Macau April 6.
Brian is defending the WBO/WBA flyweight belts he won over Hernan “Tyson” Marquez last year via a 10th round TKO.
Estrada is from Sonora, Mexico, and currently holds a 22-2-18 record. He last fought against Roman Fonzales, who beat him by unanimous decision after giving him a really difficult time.
Estrada is said to have a rock-solid physique, complete with a hard-set jaw. One boxing writer describes him as very aggressive and “sugod ng sugod (a relentless fighter).”
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Next is the Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr.-Guillermo Rigondeaux fight which should be a blockbuster. Nonito, the WBO superbantamweight champ, will face his WBA counterpart, a two-time champion from Cuba who has seen action in a couple of Olympiads.
Abner Mares was actually Nonito’s first choice but their promoters—Bob Arum for Donaire and Golden Boy Promotion’s Oscar De La Hoya for Mares—failed to come to terms. The two camps have never been on friendly terms. A rematch with Vic Darchinyan was also considered by Arum of Top Rank.
By the way, Top Rank is trying to arrange the next Pacquiao fight also in Macau, although no opponent has been picked at this point.
No less than Top Rank president Todd De Bouef flew personally to Macau to negotiate, but he could not get the schedule he wanted.
The date and time De Bouef wanted conflicted with the booking for a concert of a Korean pop star.
Top Rank continues to look for a venue, not to mention an opponent for Pacquiao’s tuneup match. Manny wants to stage the fight right here in his hometown but Arum, a hard-core businessman, would not hear of it.
He said there is no money in the Philippines.
In fairness, he has a point. From what I heard, Manny’s last fight in Manila (against Oscar Larios) was a financial disaster.
Incidentally, in case you didn’t know, Arum now handles the top three Filipino pugs. The last one added to his list is Viloria.
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Speaking of the Pacman, a young boxing writer tracked him down playing basketball at the Lopez Compound in Parañaque recently.
The scribe scheduled an interview with the Saranggani congressman but he had to wait for about two hours before he finally got a chance to talk with the boxing icon.
The scribe watched in awe as Manny ran, jumped, rebounded and shot the ball through two straight games, hardly taking time out to rest. He marveled at the champ’s energy and stamina.
The scribe said this was how Manny keeps himself fit and in good physical condition until he can get back to his regular training routine.
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HOOPVINE: I tried to find out from Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao how he would adjust his coaching schedule during the campaign period, but got no reply. Yeng is running for a seat in Congress and I read somewhere that he would not be able to coach if an RoS game falls on a Wednesday. His assistant Caloy Garcia will handle the team… Nolan Bernardino, son of the late PBA commissioner Jun Bernardino, suffered a massive heart attack and is now confined at the ICU of the Medical City in Pasig. Let’s pray for his recovery.