Protecting our boxers’ interests

WE have always maintained that rather than attend conventions of the various world boxing organizations abroad, along with his two commissioners Fritz Gaston and Atty. Aquil Tamano at considerable expense to the taxpayer, Chairman Ramon “Monju” Guanzon could afford to have one person attend and instead make sure to attend world title fights, or even interim title fights of Filipino boxers to make our presence felt, strengthen the confidence of our fighters and serve  notice to promoters, especially in countries like Thailand, South Africa and Mexico that we won’t stand any nonsense.

The International Boxing Federation flyweight title fight between former light flyweight champion and mandatory challenger Johnreil Casimero against Thai champion Amnat Ruenroeng two Saturdays ago at the Hua Mark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok was an utter disgrace.

Ruenroeng, who was ironically trained by Filipino Aljoe Jaro and his brother, resorted to every conceivable dirty tactic in securing the victory, aided and abetted by a pathetically incompetent referee who, on the basis of his performance in that fight, should be banned for life by the IBF if it has any desire to protect its name and the integrity of the sport of boxing.

An unshaven, ragged-looking referee Larry Doggett appeared totally confused as the Thai champion, from the opening bell, resorted to dirty tactics which, when unchecked, gave him the license to commit acts most foul.

Numerous take-downs associated with Muay Thai and wrestling and a series of strangleholds around Casimero’s neck, plus a number of holding and grappling fouls, turned what could have been a good  fight into a foul-infested contest, where legitimate fight fans and respected men in media both in the United States and the Philippines were left aghast at the ineptitude of referee Doggett and the ugly tactics of Ruenroeng.

Such supposed champions are a disgrace to the sport as well as their country. That two Filipinos in Ruenroeng’s corner did nothing to even remotely try and stop the Thai champion’s madness, somehow compounded what was clearly an unmitigated crime.

We understand that for the Jaro brothers, it was merely a job. But considering the fact that they were helping a Thai against one of their own countrymen, that job should have been carried out with far more restraint and certainly with more concern and respect for a Filipino former world champion.

If, as we have often suggested, chairman Guanzon was at ringside, then surely his mere presence could have served as some form of deterrent even to the Jaro brothers, who could have been made to answer for their connivance with the Thai champion if nothing else. Winning at all cost should never be an option!

The vast powers of the GAB chairman could have come into play. But his absence allowed them to get away with an act that bordered on the criminal.

We hope chairman Guanzon with whom we have had many differences will heed our sincere advice and from now on be present at world title fights involving Filipinos. It doesn’t have to be a Manny Pacquiao, who is perfectly capable of taking  care of himself and protecting his interests. But it’s the other budding challengers that need Guanzon’s presence if not his help.

Chairman Guanzon is an honest man, that much we can say. That is why we want him to be the watchdog at fights and not someone like Boxing Division chief Dr. Nasser Cruz.

We cannot forget how Dr. Cruz was in the corner of Hong Kong’s popular Rex Tso in a fight at the Cotai Arena in Macau wearing Tso’s uniform in a bout, where the Hong Kong fighter was trained by Aljoe Jaro.

Imagine, a Philippine government official working the corner of a Hong Kong fighter and enjoying the perks that went with the job. Disgusting to say the least and a reflection of the sense of decency if nothing else, of Dr. Cruz, who somehow gives the impression that he is running circles around Guanzon and playing favorites with individuals like Brico Santig and Thai businessman Naris Singwancha whose name once again surfaced affixed to a Filipino boxer in the main event at the recent OPBF Convention fight card in Bacolod in partnership with Brico Santig.

In an administration where President Aquino constantly reminds us of the straight path, one of the agencies under the Office of the President —the GAB—is sadly taking its own  route, which is certainly nowhere near what the President envisions.

GAB chairman Guanzon, as we said before, is an honest man. What he needs to do is to ensure that his personal honesty manifests itself in the actions of the boxing division, while anyone who fails or falters should be fired or in boxing lingo —knocked out cold!

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