Michael Pastrano Aldeguer is the president of ALA Promotions. ALA, of course, is Antonio Lopez Aldeguer. The father-and-son tandem has organized a real-life, better-than-the-reel-movies blockbuster: “Philippines vs. The World!”—that’s this Saturday at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.
“This is our biggest promotion since ‘The Moment of Truth’ with Gorres vs Montiel in 2007,” said Michael Aldeguer. “To put together world-rated Filipino fighters and a former world champ in one card is not easy. Plus, bringing four foreigners with good records entails a huge budget. But this is the plan of ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN—to bring world-class boxing here, in Cebu, which is RP’s boxing capital—just like Las Vegas is to America.”
Who are fighting? There’s Florante Condes vs. Sofyan Effendi (Indonesia). There’s Jimrex Jaca vs. Pipino Cuevas, Jr. (Mexico). Milan Milendo fights Jin Man Jeun (Korea). And, Rey Bautista is against Alejandro Barrera (Mexico). With BoomBoom, if his opponent’s second name sounds familiar, that’s because Alejandro’s cousin is Marco Antonio Barrera.
“It will be star-studded,” said Michael. “It’s hard to say which fight may steal the show but, for one, BoomBoom’s fights are always exciting. The fans know that anytime, BoomBoom can knock-out his opponent—or that he himself could be knocked-out. Alejandro Barrera is a former WBC and NABA champion who holds a record of 20 wins (13 KOs) with only three losses.”
As to the other fights, Michael adds: “Milan will be fighting Jin Man Jeon, a Korean champion rated # 4 in the OPBF. This will be exciting because Koreans come to fight just like Big Yoo (AJ Banal’s last opponent). Milan loves to brawl.
“Jimrex is against Pipino Cuevas Jr., the son of the legend who fought Tommy Hearns. Cuevas is a knock-out artist; in his 14 wins, he had 12 KOs. Jimrex comes to fight so whoever throws the first big punch will win by KO.
“The fans will be excited to watch Florante Condes in his comeback fight under ALA Promotions. He is a former world champion and one of the biggest punchers in boxing. He has the power like Manny Pacquaio.”
Back to B-B-B, this Saturday will be crucial for the Candijay, Bohol-native. “BoomBoom has gone through adversity. Not many know that he was fighting injured the past years. When he lost to Heriberto Ruiz last Nov. 2008, we found out that he had a rotten bone in his left wrist that needed major surgery. He came back last Oct. 2009 but after he knocked-out his opponent, he felt the pain again. His last fight was in Dubai last April which he did not feel any pain. BoomBoom had a good training camp for Barrera. He knows that this is his biggest test… if he has what it takes to be a world champ.”
On this World Champion topic, I asked Michael about ALA stable’s No.1 warrior. “We are very proud of Donnie Nietes. He has gone through a lot. He started as a janitor at the ALA gym. Through hard work, he made it to the top. He drives his own car now and lives in a three-bedroom house. Donnie made history last Sunday when he won in Mexico making him the only Filipino to win three world title fights in Mexico against Mexicans.
“We took the risk of fighting in Mexico for the chance to make history. We knew Donnie could do it. He had the mental toughness. He himself wanted to fight in Mexico to prove a point. He deserves all the attention now because he is such a humble person. Not many know that the Philippines has only two world champs: Nietes and the great Pacquiao.”
Finally, I asked about everyone’s sentimental favorite: Z Gorres. “He’s doing very well. It’s a miracle where he is now after what he has gone through. The support of the Filipinos worldwide was overwhelming. Z once told me that aside from his family, he now understands his reason to live: he has inspired people. Z is one of the nicest guys and he deserves a second chance to live.”
Back to this Saturday’s festival: Boxing fan or not, you must watch. For this event can happen only in the “Las Vegas of the Philippines.”