Eumir Marcial’s line in the sand
In dramatic fashion, local boxing alliance chief Ricky Vargas last week commanded certain parties to stop in their tracks and quit dangling big bucks to Olympics-bound national middleweight fighter Eumir Felix Marcial.
In a gangster film, it would be the heated moment that a volley of shots by police rained on the wise guys, or the other way around.
What really occurred was not that distant—a strongly worded bullet of an appeal was especially made for Vargas by his wordsmiths to remind “certain individuals and entities” that flag and country come first for Marcial.
Marcial topped the recent Asia-Oceania qualifying tournament in Amman, Jordan, recently. The 2000 world junior champion is seen by boxing experts as a potential marquee ring attraction.
Among those reportedly offering to sign him up for millions of pesos even before he throws a punch in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are New York promoter Shelly Finkel and two promotional groups from the United Kingdom and the United States.
Finkel is a Hall of Fame promoter who used to handle Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao.
Mincing no words, Vargas told those competing to sign Marcial now to leave the 24-year-old Zamboangueño alone so he and his dad could realize their dream of winning an Olympic gold medal.
Vargas said that after the Olympics, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) he heads “will not stand in the way of whatever path he (Marcial) may wish to take in his boxing career.”
Marcial is aware of the line in the sand separating his Olympic dream and his future boxing career.
Was there a need for a reminder from Vargas?
“What the interested parties are saying to Marcial is to sign up with them now and Eumir can still go to the Olympics,” said Abap executive director Edgar Picson. “He turns pro after Tokyo. But they will give him money up front upon signing. It all sounds hunky-dory but the truth is it messes his mind.”
“When you are suddenly awash with tens of millions, you tend to think about how you’ll spend them right?” Picson observed.
“The matter of boxer Marcial going to the Olympics or to become a pro is his decision to make,” said William Ramirez, chair of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). ”He knows the paths he needs to take, having spent many years in amateur boxing while competing around the world.”
For all elite athletes, including Marcial, the government, through the PSC, has spent billions for their training and international exposure, including the Olympic qualifying tournaments already concluded or resheduled due to the postponement of the Tokyo Summer Games for a year because of the coronavirus disease pandemic.
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