I WAS an 18-year-old correspondent for the other paper when I learned that Luisito “Lindol” Espinosa was going to face Carlos Rios in South Cotabato. Using the old kababayan network—friends of friends back home—I managed to write a few stories of the fight preparation, which I think was Mindanao’s first major world title fight.
Espinosa won in what I thought was the first and only real case of a boxer who was truly thinking for the country over himself, a mistake. I’m sure he has long regretted 22 years after. You see, no fighter will defend a title—the World Boxing Council featherweight belt at that—without getting a portion of his purse first. I guess things operated differently at that time.
Espinosa, who was supposed to get $160,000 for his title defense, hasn’t been paid up to this day and he has long since abandoned the notion of getting that money. Even a recent Supreme Court ruling that ordered the heirs of Rod Nazario hasn’t given him much hope. I think he lodged an appeal to two Presidents already but a decade or so ago, accepted that he’ll never get paid.
What happened and why wasn’t he paid? The promoters of that fight—the local government unit of South Cotabato and Rod Nazario got into a disagreement and passed the blame on each other. The fight didn’t earn any money because the delayed telecast never happened. I’ve forgotten the details, which I learned only years later. But I think the private plane that was supposed to ferry the tape of the fight to Manila never got to take off.
No telecast, no advertising money, no income for the promoters. No purse for Espinosa.
He was still at the peak of his career then, and he’d make two more defenses of his belt before losing it to Cesar Soto.
But that feeling of being robbed in his own soil got to him. It was in 2015 that he won the case he filed for the nonpayment—15 years after the fight—and up to now, he still hasn’t seen a single centavo.
Will the Supreme Court ruling finally mean Lindol gets his due? I hope so. Now based in China as a trainer—he took on odd jobs in the US after retiring—getting his long overdue purse might mean Lindol can finally retire at peace.
The Supreme Court has added a six percent interest per annum, meaning his $160,000 fee is now worth $371,200 or P18.5 million. That’s a nice retirement package.
I hope he finally gets it.