GAB wants boxing reforms, too
It was inevitable that the proposal for the creation of a Philippine Boxing Commission has escalated into a tug-of-war between boxing superhero Manny Pacquiao, the main proponent, and the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).
GAB, under the Office of the President, has no choice but fight back after the boxing commission bill, filed by Pacquiao in the Senate, threatened to wrest control and supervision of professional boxing from its mandate.
In fact, the GAB, now under the leadership of former congressman Abraham Mitra, has started announcing plans for reforms in professional boxing, started with the reshuffle in manpower and division leadership.
It’s unfortunate that, before the desired reforms could take shape, disaster struck in Cebu the other week when two straying Indonesian boxers, with nearly a dozen defeats between themselves, were matched against two unbeaten fast-rising Filipino talents.
As reported here, “fight fans were shamelessly fed boxing garbage after Jack Tepora and Christian Araneta, both unbeaten, were fed super patsies who both got swept one after the other in the first round.”
“Cebu fights sanctioned by GAB,” reported veteran international referee Bruce McTavish.
“Boxing garbage, indeed, ” quipped respected Cebu sportsman Tony Aldeguer, patriarch of the famous ALA Boxing Stable.
Reacting to the column, Fritz Gaston, a GAB commissioner, said: “Sir, I read your article yesterday. I was calling if we could meet so I could discuss, update and brief you on GAB’s boxing division changes and activities.”
Gaston, a jolly and respectful former PBA player, has been assigned to head the GAB boxing division since two months ago.
Anyway, as I had already prepared a column on the proposed boxing commission, centering on the debate between Sen. Pacquiao and former Senate president Franklin Drilon, I requested Fritz to see the piece first before we talk.
In the said column, it was noted that “with or without a boxing commission, what’s truly imperative is for a competent and dedicated group of tested and incorruptible authorities to run professional boxing in the country.” It was added: “Pacquiao cannot afford to lose now, going by the sorry, sinful manner professional boxing is being run in the country.”
Gaston, obviously frustrated, retorted: “Sir, I read your column this morning. It seems your mind is made up with bad impressions on GAB and you have nothing good to say. So maybe it’s best we meet to give you a fair amount of information and update on Pacquiao’s bill, as well as what is happening in the GAB. Have a good day.”
Gaston has been an acquaintance since the early PBA days. I had to beg off though as I’ve been hobbled by a bum right knee the past two weeks. At the same time, I left him my e-mail address, where he could send urgent communication. I’ve promised to print the GAB side.
With no response until last Monday, I repeated the request by resending my e-mail address. I will continue to wait here, Sir.
I retorted: “I really wanted to sit down and take your side, if not for this bum knee which has been bothering me for two weeks. If you find it’s worth it, I’m giving you my e-mail address, so I could have the chance tell the public your plans and other pertinent matters.”
There has been no reply, and I repeated the offer.
I will try to meet with him next week, when my knee no longer hobbles me down.