New boxing hero search continues | Inquirer Sports
In Huddle

New boxing hero search continues

/ 10:26 PM July 17, 2013

MORE than the exciting world title fights lined up last weekend at the grand ballroom of Solaire in Parañaque, what made me  drive all the way from West Triangle, Quezon City, to that  place on a dark, drizzly Saturday night was curiosity.

I wanted to see for myself the newest resort hotel casino in that area which friends have been raving about.

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And so when I got this invite from  ALA Promotions president and CEO Michael Aldeguer for Pinoy Pride 21 “When Worlds Collide,” which was to be staged at that venue, I did not hesitate to accept.

Unfortunately, I would accomplish only half of my mission that Saturday night. Traffic was heavy in several parts of the route going to Solaire and I arrived there to catch only the last two matches. I missed even the  bout between AJ  “Bazooka” Banal and Abraham “Cholo” Gomez of Mexico, who surrendered even before the first 6 minutes were over.

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The Filipinos easily demolished their foreign opponents in the last  two fights. Referee Janrex Tapdasan  stopped the bout between King Arthur Villanueva and Mexican Arturo Badillo  in the fourth round to prevent further injury to the badly battered Badillo,  whose forehead was bleeding profusely.

In the main event, Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo sent Colombian Jorle Estrada down to his knees with a body shot to win by knockout in the ninth round and  retain his WBO minimumweight title.

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“So who are the boxers to watch out for from the ALA stable? Will the Philippines be able to produce more boxing champions like Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire Jr., Brian Viloria, who all seem to be fading into the sunset?” I asked boxing writer Nick Giongco who has covered all the Pacquiao fights.

Nick said it will be almost impossible to produce another fighter with the same talent and skill, charisma and staying power like Pacquiao. Aldeguer’s two world champions Sabillo and Villanueva are prospects, he said, but at 29, the former may no longer have too many years in his boxing career.

“No matter how promising a boxer looks, it’s hard to tell who’ll make it to the top and stay there to reach the stature of a Donaire or Viloria, who was in the US Olympic team,” Nick said, as he mentioned that Milan Melindo, also from ALA, will be fighting Juan Estrada in Macau next week.

Juan Estrada is the fighter who wrested the WBO/WBA bantamweight unified title from the Hawaiian Punch Viloria last April in Macau. Nick declined to predict the outcome of the Melindo-Estrada match, rating Estrada as “one tough fighter.”

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But Nick believes that if there’s a fighter from the present crop who will reach the stature of  a Pacquiao, Donaire or Viloria,  he will come from the ALA stable. “ALA is the most organized promoter in the country today.  The Aldeguers are seriously into developing boxers unlike many. They have a program, they follow a plan.”

I never got to witness the beauty and majesty of Solaire which means “Sun” in French. I had to leave for another commitment after last Saturday’s main event. Another veteran colleague said it must be the breathtaking view of the Manila Bay sunset from Solaire that makes the place so enchanting.

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HOOPVINE: A high-ranking PBA official believes coach Alfrancis Chua may be prevailed upon to stay with San Miguel, if not as Ginebra head coach, perhaps in some other capacity. On the other hand, a San Miguel insider said Alfrancis is bent on jumping ship.

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TAGS: Alfrancis Chua, Basketball, Boxing, GINEBRA, Michael Aldeguer, Pinoy Pride 21, Solaire
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