ACTUALLY, the writing was on the wall. The widely successful Pinoy Pride boxing series had mustered up what would turn out to be its last iteration in Pinoy Pride 46 last Aug. 17, 2019 in Ormoc City.
But prior to that, the boxing events have been few and far between, owing to so many factors.
The non-renewal of ABS CBN’s franchise and the consequent quagmires brought on by this pandemic proved to be the coup de grâce that would ultimately fell ALA Promotions and usher in the end of an era in Philippine sports.
ALA. Antonio Lopez Aldeguer, more popularly known as “ALA,” the country’s preeminent boxing patron started it in 1985.
His avuncular approach to grooming local fighters led to the rise of the likes of boxing legend Gerry Penalosa, Malcolm Tunacao, Edito “ALA” Villamor- among the first-tier of talents who benefited by ALA’s patronage.
Through the years, we saw the emergence of a new generation of local fighters such as “Z” Gorres, Michael Domingo, Ray “Boom- Boom” Bautista, Milan Melindo and AJ “Bazooka” Banal which culminated in the clinching of ALA Boxing Stable’s first world title by Donnie Nietes in 2007.
Today, Nietes is the country’s longest reigning world champion and is also a boxing titlist in four weight classes.
FAN. But aside from the collection of boxing trinkets and accolades, probably what will stand out more is how ALA cultivated and supported Philippine boxing.
As a boxing columnist and fan, I am truly saddened to see ALA boxing promotions fold up. I started writing this column back in 2006 right smack in Philippine boxing’s so-called 2nd Golden age.
This was brought about by the emergence of Manny Pacquiao as one of the world’s finest fighters and ALA boxing by that time was already well entrenched and well-established.
It was able to parlay that readiness into opportunities to sign up local talent, promote them and bring boxing back into the mainstream.
The term you hear most nowadays amid this pandemic is granular, in reference to lockdowns. But granular can also refer to how ALA Promotions did it.
You want granular? They held boxing shows not only in big cities such as Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-lapu, they did it in small municipalities and towns.
They even did it in neighboring regions, in Ormoc City, in Nietes’s hometown in Bacolod, in Dumaguete, and in the nation’s capital. You name it and they’ve done it.
On the world-scale, they have partnered with Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank Boxing in producing world-class events here and abroad.
On a personal note, I still remember the first column I wrote for this paper entitled “An Invitation.” A few weeks later, the man himself, Mr. Aldeguer commended and informed me he wanted to personally thank me for writing such a piece.
As a newbie columnist and boxing fan, I felt like I had landed a left hook on Mike Tyson’s chin and socked the living daylights out of him.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. The fan in me is in denial and disbelief. Perhaps, they could just lie low and regroup? Perhaps things will get better in a couple of months and the public will hanker for fights like never before?
Say it isn’t so ALA Boxing Promotions. Perhaps it is “Au Revoir” and not really “Adieu”?
LAST ROUND. It’s on one of my best buddies, Dr. Gerry Ypil, who celebrates his birthday this week. Cheers!