Quijano: Is this Golden era for PH boxing coming to a close? (1st of 2 parts)

·2 min read

I cannot attempt to describe the unfathomable joy I felt as a spectator at the recently concluded Palarong Pambansa Boxing VisMin Cup.

Ably stewarded by my good friend and Cebu City Sports Commission chairman John Pages, the event elicited a hodge-podge of emotions for this Last Rounder.

For one, it’s been years since I witnessed a live boxing match due to the pandemic. I felt so alive seeing familiar faces of kindred souls amid the background staccato of punches unleashed in the ring.

As I took it all in, I marveled at how long it’s been since I felt this rush. That some of the fighters showed promise only made my heart feel fuller, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

BOXING. Over the past month we were deluged with despondent tidings about Philippine boxing.

Pacquiao retired. Casimero was stripped. Ancajas lost. Donaire was knocked out.

And to rub salt over our collective wounds, last Sunday, Mark Magsayo gave it his all, but came up short. A few days later, my favorite ALA fighter, Donnie Nietes, finally succumbed to the ravages of Father Time and lost badly.

And just like that, the Philippines is left with no world champion in professional boxing.

Is this Golden era of Philippine boxing coming to an end?

MAGSAYO. In this post-Pacquiao era, Magsayo would have been one of the strongest candidates with the potential to become our flagship fighter. But he lost fair and square to Rey Vargas, a tall lanky Nacho Beristain protégé who, style-wise, was not a good fit for Magsayo.

He came out strong in the first two rounds but by the third, Vargas found his rhythm and was able to properly exploit his three-inch reach and 4 ½ inch height advantages.

This fight was fought at quite a frenetic pace, a testament to the conditioning of both fighters. Most rounds were close and difficult to score, but you got the sense that Vargas was edging it out on account of being the busier fighter.

The big moment came for Magsayo in the ninth when a sneaky right hand which landed right on the jaw, produced the fight’s only knockdown. However, Vargas exhibited tremendous recuperative powers and was able to regain his composure in the championship rounds.

The scores were close, but ultimately you could not really argue with the split decision verdict in favor of Vargas , now the new WBC featherweight champion. (To be concluded).

LAST ROUND. It’s on “Mommy” Nimfa Tero who recently celebrated a milestone as she turned a young and feisty 80. This good doctor actually still goes to the gym, putting beer guzzlers like me to shame. Cheers!

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