A tragic hero named Boom Boom
FIGHT judges Salven Lagumbay and Danrex Tapdasan saw Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista, gutsy but lightless, the clear loser. They submitted identical scores of 114-111 in favor of Jose “Negro” Ramirez, a Mexican journeyman who, according to one of the ringside commentators, had previously been knocked out thrice.
A third judge surprisingly saw Bautista the winner on a score of 114-111.
Bautista was not totally outclassed, despite suffering a first-round knockdown.
Respected sportsman Antonio Aldeguer, who discovered and pushed Boom Boom to half-stardom (18 straight wins, majority by early knockout), however, refused to be disconnected together with the third erring judge.
Aldeguer promptly announced Bautista would not be allowed to enter the ring again.
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It was a hard, bloody bout and Ramirez, the winner and new WBO International featherweight champion, swore Bautista, 26, was a good fighter who had a big heart.
Aldeguer would have none of it.
Knowing Aldeguer, he would’ve asked Bautista to hang up his gloves after his WBO International featherweight title fight against Mexican Daniel Ruiz of Mexico at the Mall of Asia last October.
Boom Boom got badly beaten in that bout and was, in fact, downed and tossed out of the ring in an apparent final-round knockout. He was saved by the bell.
However, Aldeguer could not properly tell the terribly outclassed Bautista to quit on the spot, unlike what he did in Davao City last Saturday.
Reason: Two Filipino judges declared the battered Bautista the winner, while a Mexican judge called it for his superior countryman, who was declared loser by split decision.
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Would’ve Aldeguer allowed Boom Boom to fight on had, say, another judge foolishly sided with the clear loser in Davao on Saturday?
Knowing Aldeguer, he would’ve stuck to his gun.
Why? Aldeguer is not the sort who would dare continue peddling a faded fighter.
For the record, Bautista, in suffering his first defeat (a first-round KO in Sacramento, California, against Daniel Ponce de Leon in 2007) had been coddled and made to recover whatever was left of his shattered boxing wits.
He continued to deteriorate, however, through the agonizing resell process.
Of course, the Bautista they were trying to prop up back to stardom often ended up as a tragic ring tale that kept being told and retold.
Despite this, though, they were able to sell Boom Boom as someone worthy of a second shot at a world title. In fact, the Pinoy Pride promotion that featured Bautista in the main event was a sellout in its first appearance in Davao.
It was a neat recycling and reselling they had done with Boom Boom.
In fact, the morning after, plain fight fans out in the street and the wet market were one in ruing Bautista’s defeat, lining it with the alleged jinx suffered by Manny Pacquiao, Brian Viloria and Nonito Donaire Jr., in that order.
Lesson: There was no jinx—Pacquiao, Viloria, Donaire all lost to superior boxers who were honed in a system of intelligent, sharper tactical and technical combat.
For Boom Boom, he was a rare talent that figured in a tragic ending after being pushed too high, too soon.
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(NOT BAD: From a boxing expert whom we had referred to as a disciple of Bob Arum in our last column: “Good morning, I take exception to how you referred to me as BAD (Bob Arum Disciple or the literal meaning of the word.) I have never been an Arum fan and will never be! My comment is mine and mine alone. If you did not agree with my observation, you should at least respect it as I do yours. That’s the least you can do. Repeat: I am not BAD.” Sorry about that, sir. Please keep my respect and admiration. My love to your family.)