Luisito Espinosa overwhelmed after winning SC case
MANILA, Philippines — Can’t blame former two-time world boxing champion Luisito Espinosa for sounding like he had just won the lottery upon learning from the news that the Supreme Court has ordered the heirs of boxing promoter Rodolfo Nazario to pay him the sum of $130,349 (about P6.6 million) plus interest as part of his earnings for his successful defense of his World Boxing Association featherweight title against Carlos Rios in 1997.
‘‘I’ll go into gambling,’’ shouted a laughing Espinosa in an exclusive phone interview on Monday. ‘‘My next plan is to go into a casino.’’
Espinosa, of course, swears he’s just joking.
The 52-year old retired boxer was overwhelmed by after the decision of the High Court, dated Nov. 13, 2019 but was released only on Saturday, denied for lack of merit the petition of the heirs of Nazario to reverse the 2017 ruling of the Court of Appeals that affirmed Espinosa’s monetary claim.
Once the darling of Philippine boxing, Espinosa, a Tondo boy with a ready smile and humble beginnings, said he’d truly be happy if he finally holds his prize money.
‘‘I would like to thank the Supreme Court, the GAB under Chairman Baham Mitra and all who prayed that my case will finally be resolved. But reading it from the news is different from having the actual money,’’ said Espinosa, who now resides in General Trias, Cavite.
Espinosa also had a surprise when he recently received P60,000 from the GAB thru the foundation for former world champions by Thai philantrophist and boxing promoter Naris Singwancha.
Espinosa, then managed by Japanese promoter Joe Koizumi, said what happened made an impact on his career.
‘‘I tried to keep my focus, but I cannot think of a reason why it happened after I fought and defended my title in my country,’’ said Espinosa, who fell into hard times after quitting the sport in 2005.
Espinosa actually won his next two outings after the Rios bout. He beat Juan Carlos Ramirez and Kennedy McKinney in succession to expend his reign but his downfall started when he bowed to Cesar Soto in 1999 at El Paso, Texas.
Again, he failed to take the world title when he lost to Guty Espadas in Mexico in 2000.
Saddled by financial woes, rumors of marital disputes and father time, Espinosa slowly fell into obscurity as he fought and lost to boxers of low caliber. He bowed to Cristobal Cruz in his final pro bout in Stockton, California.
Espinosa said he’s now working at Everlast in Dalian City in China.
‘’They treat me very well, but I really miss home,’’ said Espinosa.
He said he lives in a condominium unit and travels for 25 minutes to reach the gym where he teaches young and old alike the joy of being fit.
‘‘I guess this is my life. If I’ll get my money, then I may build a modest gym to teach young boxers. In all humility, I have the experience and I can share some life lessons on them,’’ Espinosa said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.