Boxing? A sport? No, it’s entertainment

Antonio Lopez Aldeguer, quoted by Quinito Henson in yesterday’s issue of The Philippine Star, summed it up best: “Boom Boom was in top shape. I don’t know what to say. We did our best to prepare him for this fight. Our critics exaggerate our losses and forget our wins. This hurt us. We can’t seem to win the big ones. We wanted a tough opponent for Boom Boom to test him. We got what we asked for. We did everything possible for Boom Boom. I just don’t know where to go from here.”

The one trait I admire most about ALA—apart from being Cebu’s undisputed Sportsman—is his candor and straight talk.

You saw it, I saw it and Mr. Aldeguer, without mincing words, saw it—that, against a hard-bitten, rigid and durable opponent, our own Rey Bautista was tyrannized.

Sure, Heriberto Ruiz’s head collided with Boom-Boom’s to unleash a torrid of red lava that flowed non-stop, but even before that head-butt and, worse, after that, B-B-B was outclassed and outperformed.

Where to go from here? If, even ALA himself can’t answer that question, you and I shouldn’t even speculate a reply. Only Boom-Boom—all of 22 years young, lest we forget—can answer that. But, let me just say this: Before we proclaim that Bautista has zero chance to be a world champ, for comparison’s sake, another fighter also sported the same two-loss credential (he was knocked-out twice) at about the same youthful age. His name: Manny P.

HATTON. Shouldn’t we take our hat off Hatton? His style is to do a blitzkrieg, to unleash an onslaught of bullets off his gloves, to slam and dig and zinger, like KFC, the enemy. He’s barbaric, hostile, quarrelsome. And, against Paul Malignanni last Sunday morning (RP time), what a start-to-finish military bombardment Ricky Hatton inflicted on the New Yorker.

In fact, had Malignanni not wrapped his arms around the Briton every 15 seconds, he’d have wrapped his arms on the floor much earlier than the 11th round stoppage.

Didn’t Malignanni look like a coward, hardly throwing a punch? Sure. But, upon closer inspection, it’s because Hatton—like the man whose name rhymes with his, Gen. George Patton—is one of boxing’s most feared generals. Like the arrogant, eccentric and controversial Gen. Patton, Hatton is controversial, eccentric and arrogant.

Did you see Hatton’s shorts? Did you hear his previous “Ricky Fatton” moniker, when he ballooned by 40 pounds and weighed 180?

But the best question of all: Can you imagine a Hatton vs. Pacquiao fight?

That “Fil-Brit” combination would look perfect: an aggressor against an attacker; offense vs. assault, disruption vs. destruction.

Imagine their encounter at one of football’s most famous sites, the Wembley Stadium? Where the FIFA World Cup and the EUFA Champions League games have been played. Imagine 100,000 screaming British fans, all roaring and yodeling and hollering?

UNLIKE ANY OTHER. For here’s my conclusion: There’s no sport like boxing. Chess and tennis and fencing and judo may be one-on-one, but nothing compares to this mano-a-mano.

For, when we watch a mega-fight, we’re not only viewing a sport—we’re gazing at a show. At entertainment. And there’s no entertainment with more fireworks and pomp than two men, bare-chested, with no helmets, face to face.

Also, in boxing, you can’t run or hide. Basketball has four others with you on the parquet floor; in boxing, your only teammates are your two arms, both your legs and one heart.

And isn’t the heart revealed more in boxing than in any other arena? Knocked-out in the first round both by Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr., what does Joseph William Calzaghe do? He stands up, calls upon that muscle beneath his chest to rise, and defeats two of the greatest fighters of this era.

That’s heart. That’s boxing. That’s Hatton. That’s Patton. That’s Boom-Boom?

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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