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February 21st, 2010 | by Oliver Suarez

The Philippines always had a fondness for boxing, the reason that it has always been a hotbed for talented young boxers. The emergence of Manny Pacquiao as a major star in boxing has only added more talent to its boxing stable by influencing many of the country’s younger generation to participate in the sport.

It can be argued that Philippines is as great a boxing nation as Mexico and Puerto Rico. Mexico and Puerto Rico are only more recognized because before Pacquiao, Filipinos were not given the same opportunities to display their skills at the world stage.
But now the country is slowly gaining respect as more opportunities become available to Filipino boxers because of Pacquiao’s popularity and the magnitude of the Filipino market.

The Philippines now currently has four major title holders with Filipino descent: Nonito Donaire, Donnie Nietes, Manny Pacquiao, and Rodel Mayol.

Still, it’s still questionable if the success of Philippine boxing can be sustained after Pacquiao. Would promoters and others continue to invest on Filipino boxers after Pacquiao?

It depends if the most influential figures in Philippine boxing has already set a stable foundation to ensure its continued success after the current pound for pound king retires. Did they properly take advantage of all the opportunities provided by Pacquiao’s success?

They certainly had enough time to develop a stable foundation since Pacquiao has been a star of the sport for quite sometime

The truth is they have not because their priorities may not have been in the right place and thus affected the potential success of many Filipino fighters.

The problem is most of the Filipino boxers are not being provided the best chance to win. Success is great but it can lead to greed and questionable decision making.

Ciso Morales is a great example of a fighter of this questionable decision making. Now some are questioning his heart and courage because of his devastating loss to Montiel. But the question that should be put out is if he was given the best chance to win. Morales is a young kid who has not fought any notable opponent, yet was pitted against a world class fighter in Fernando Montiel. Not only that, he had to go down in weight to face him.

If they are not given the best chance to win, then they are destined to only attain mediocre type of success. Those who are responsible for these boxers’ careers must evaluate their priorities. Do they care more about immediate success and make money in the short term or do they care about the long term success of their boxers?

A great example of how to properly prepare a fighter is Andre Ward. For the longest time, his handlers and he were criticized for not facing elite fighters or fighting for a title. It was because his handlers wanted him to be both physically and mentally prepared before he stepped up in competition. Now, he just beat a world class opponent in Kessler and is now considered one of the best young fighters in the game.

Developing young fighters who can contend is a major factor in ensuring the success of Philippine boxing. This doesn’t only include that they are physically and mentally ready, but ensuring that they are provided the right strategies for their fights and choosing the right opponents that can help them prepare for future fights against elite opponents. Constantly pitting them against journeyman fighters to hype up their record only does more harm than good in the long term.

Filipinos are just like any other sports fans, they want winners and if they are constantly provided mediocre products then sooner or later they will stop supporting it.

If that happens, then Philippine boxing might again be on the outside looking in after Pacquiao. Filipino fighters once again will find it difficult to get those opportunities to fight for world titles against notable opponents.

Another factor that must be answered is if many of the Filipino fans who support Pacquiao are truly boxing fans or just fans of the Filipino icon.

It is a question that is still need to be answered. How many Filipinos who are ‘supposedly’ boxing fans know about other boxers such as Eden Sonsona, Marvin Sonsona, Aj Banal etc? The fact is a great number of Filipinos I’ve come across with are not familiar with any of the names mentioned above and only know Pacquiao.

Will they continue to support and have the same passion for the sport even after Pacquiao in order to entice promoters to keep investing on Filipino fighters?

Nonito Donaire Jr. is a great champion who just keeps on winning and it’s a wonder why he has not gotten the support of more Filipino fans. People are quick to judge him for failing to fight notable opponents. Some of that may be due to some fighters’ hesitancy to fight a fighter of Donaire’s caliber, but it’s also because the financial incentives might not be enough for them to face ‘The Filipino Flash.’

Filipinos need to support Donaire to convince promoters that the Filipino market in boxing is not dependent on Pacquiao. In fact, it might be necessary and not an option because if other Filipino fighters are only achieving mediocre success, then the responsibility of keeping the fire burning for Philippine boxing will all fall on Donaire’s shoulders.

So will Philippine boxing continue its current success after Pacquiao retires? Only time will tell.

What do you think?


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