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Monday, March 1, 2010

Pacquiao Watch: The follies of would-be Mannys

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We have seen prospects described as the second coming of Manny Pacquiao fall by the wayside since the Filipino boxing champion burst into the boxing limelight.

Promoters, managers and even the boxers themselves have been trying to cash in on Manny’s popularity by developing a new champion that would inherit his mantle as torch bearer of Philippine boxing.

Rey ‘Boom-Boom’ Bautista, AJ Banal, Z Gorres and, lately, Marvin Sansona have become fallen victims of the Pacquiao hype.

Except for Sansona, the three Filipino prospects are managed by ALA boxing promotion of Cebu.

Sadly all three displayed the same weaknesses. They lack stamina and their development was somewhat rushed. The trio, once the brighter prospects of Philippine boxing, have the tendency to fade in the homestretch – the championship rounds as they say. To jaded trainers, lack of stamina could sometimes be fatal.

Z Gorres is just one of the epitomes of a boxer with enough skills, but is wanting in experience and stamina.

In his last fight, Gorres was knocked out by a fatal combination of hard punches and exhaustion. His near fatal win (he won by decision but was rushed to the hospital and was in coma for several days) unfortunately led to his forced retirement from the sport.

All of them are products of ill-advised training regimen as well as inadequate physical conditioning. No boxer should be conditioned to fight for just 12 rounds. They should be trained as if they are going at fight least 18 rounds.

In the case of Sansona, his not-so-shocking knockout loss was a case of a boxer who became cocky and who was led to believe he was the next Manny Pacquiao.

In December, his promoter Sammy Gello-ani arrived in General Santos City frantically looking for him. Gello-ani was supposed to bring Sansona to the US to train for his title fight against Wilfredo Vasquez Jnr as early as December.

For reasons only known to Sansona and his handlers, the young boxer from General Santos failed to meet with Gello-ani who left the day after I met him at one of the bars in General Santos.

Gello-ani, whom I approached because he was by his lonesome, was visibly disappointed by Sansona’s prima donna attitude.

Aspiring boxers who dream of becoming the next Manny Pacquiao should build their careers through discipline, hard work and careful planning.

Manny is a freak of nature. Nevertheless, he is a quintessential pro when it comes to honing his craft. Stories of his total concentration when in training are well documented. His physical conditioning and regimen is one of the best that there is in the business.

Boxers who want to follow his track should also emulate his discipline and determination.

Gerry Peñalosa is also one of the most disciplined boxers the Philippines had ever produced.

His longevity and durability combined with his superior technical skills made Gerry one of the best boxers in all of Asia and made him a feared opponent in his weight class around the globe.

Promoters and managers should realize that any diamonds in the rough in their stable must be nurtured, but not necessarily babied and given light assignments on their way to the championship.

I have seen protégées being fed with bums, trialhorses and to a large extent manipulated by fixing match ups to sweeten their records. This is a fatal mistake, if not a highway stick up in the highest order.

We know that boxing is the red light district of sports. But when there is one prospect worthy of challenging for a world title, they should be nurtured like gems – carefully polished and brought to the market when they are so.

No need to look for another Pacquiao – there will only be one Manny. New talents are what Philippine boxing needs and honest to goodness promoters and managers.


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