Quijano: Is this golden era for PH boxing coming to a close? (Conclusion)

·3 min read

Donnie Nietes’ defeat was exceptionally disappointing for this Last Rounder. Nietes was the very first boxer I interviewed one-on-one for this column. That he would later on become the country’s longest reigning boxing world champion, surpassing the great Gabriel Elorde, was unforeseeable at that time but brought us all immense pride and joy when it happened.

In their first fight back in 2018, Nietes handled Kazuto Ioka quite well even though the verdict was a split decision.

But in the second fight, “Ahas” seemed reticent and lost the fight simply to the higher volume and busier work-rate of his Japanese counterpart.

Nietes also showed his age and suffered a cut in the 10th round. No complaints there. The scorecards were on point and Donnie lost fair and square.

ERA. With the longest reigning world champion finally succumbing to defeat after 18 years, and the greatest Filipino fighter of all time hanging up his gloves, it seems like this golden boxing era is indeed coming to a close.

If so, I have no regrets. And what an era that was. Ushered in by his victory over Lehno Ledwaba in 2001, Manny Pacquiao would go on to arguably become one of the top five greatest boxers of all time.

We also had Gerry Peñalosa winning another world title. Nonito Donaire became a nine-time world champion. We had Brian Viloria.

On the second tier in terms of prominence, we had Florante Condes, Sonny Boy Jaro, Marvin Sonsona, Milan Melindo, Merlito Sabillo, Joma Gamboa, Rodel Mayol, Vic Saludar, Marlon Tapalles who all became world champions.

Not only that, we had many boxing promotional outfits that led the surge, most prominently ALA Boxing which was able to promote fights outside of the country.

Boxing became sexy again and who could forget the Sunday mornings when we were all huddled in front of our screens waiting for Pacquiao to beat the living daylights out of his opponent while outside the streets were deserted and crime rate became a non-existent stat?

HOPE. I had high hopes for the new generation of champions in Magsayo, Ancajas and Casimero who came at the tail end of this era, but it remains to be seen if they can bounce back from the setbacks they each have suffered one way or another.

Remember, an era is not only about winning titles. We can always win an alphabet belt here and there. It’s also about sustainability and consistency when it comes to winning and dominating at the world stage.

But yes, there truly is hope out there. At the recently concluded Palarong Pambansa Vismin Cup there were a few that stood out; one in particular was JB Baricuatro from Talisay City.

But there’s no story to be told here yet. It’s too early to anoint anyone as the next someone. Somewhere out there is a young fighter, hitting that heavy bag, who will hopefully usher in another boxing milestone.

Till then, this column will continue to be the boxing fan’s column, whether in the brightest of eras or in the bleakest of boxing epochs.

See you at the fights!

LAST ROUND. It’s on two dear friends, lawyer Kenneth Yap and on Liezel Gedorio who recently turned a milestone. Happy Birthday and cheers, guys!

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