Sports Eye

They came, they saw, but failed to conquer 

Jess Garcia

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


CEBU CITY–I keep coming here just because of boxing and cycling events. My visit here this time was my third in nine months. I was invited again to attend an international boxing bout and without thinking twice I accepted it again. I watched the nine pairs of boxing clashes of ALA Promotions in the evening of May 25 held at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Lahug district.

It was my Mexican-American friend Cebu City based Michael Angel Lopez who invited me, him being one of the matchmakers of the event. Dubbed as “Pinoy Pride XX Laban Kung Laban”, the fights featured our three potential world champions headed by the youthful Jason Pagara, Genesis Servania and Jimrex Jaca, all of them from this tourist place that they call “Queen City of the South.” The three were pitted against three foreigners, two from Mexico named Jose Emilio Perea and Aaron Herrera and one from Indonesia with boxing nom de guerre Isaac Junior. Luckily our three local bets were victorious. The winning punchers Pagara and Jaca won via12 rounds unanimous decision and the wily Servania via third round knockout victory.

Those who watched the fights on TV as a delayed telecast on May 26 unfortunately only saw the Pagara vs. Herrera and the Servania against Junior and missed the Jaca-Perea fight, which I think was the most thrilling of all the nine battles held. It was a toe-to-toe brutal brawl from the first ring up to the last sound of the bell with Jaca getting the upper hand despite the knockdown he suffered in the 12th and final round and was saved by the bell to the delight of the roaring partisan crowd. Jaca captured the WBO Oriental light welterweight crown and Pagara seized the WBO international lightweight tiara. Servania was just a supporting event and fought in ten rounds.

After the bouts, Lopez with Herrera and his manager (sorry I forgot his name) and I went to a nearby fast food where we ate and talked. Lopez told us the next world title fight will be held in Manila, probably in July, featuring world flyweight champion Merlito Sabillo and most likely against a Mexican. If the plan pushes through, yes, of course I have to see this fight in the flesh again. Why, because it’s in my genes, being a Mexican and a Filipino hombre. Like Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan who came here and fought our natives and was supposed to conquer our land — the foreigners came, saw but did not conquer our natives in the field of sports and that is boxing which many believe is the number one game of the Cebuanos that was started by the late great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde from Bogo City. Elorde reigned as the world junior lightweight (130 lbs) champion for seven years, 1960-1967, a record in world boxing that until now has yet to be surpassed by anybody.

I know that our national dailies did not print all the nine results of the event so let me add here the six results:

Jonas Sultan of Zamboanga del Norte knocking out Kazuma Ejiri of Osaka, Japan (first round); Richard Barrios of Bais City technically knocking out Lauro Balweg of Jagna (first round); Bohol, Elmo Traya of Tabuelan, Cebu technically knocking out Jonie Villacrusis of Cebu City (first round); Roland Servania of Bacolod City by unanimous decision over Andrew Palas of Cebu City (four rounds); Ralph Lulu  of Sultan Kudarat by unanimous decision against Junnie Salogaol of Borbon, Cebu (eight rounds) ; and Jessel Magsayo of Tagbilaran City knocking out Melton Sandal of Zamboanga del Norte (first round).

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My heartfelt congratulations to our local cyclist Alfie Catalan for winning the gold medal in the individual pursuit velodrome event during the Philippine National Games recently held in Quezon City. The pride of San Manuel, Pangasinan, Catalan, 31, is a two-time Southeast Asia (SEA) Games gold medalists. Also to Ronald Oranza of Villasis for winning the silver medal in the 151.4-kilometer massed start road race held in Tarlac City, which was won by Rustom Lim of Guimba, Nueva Ecija. The two plus six others will don our national colours for the coming 2013 SEA Games to be held in Myanmar.  Carry on the good work, guys. We, Pangasinenses are proud of you.  

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: He who despises his neighbour sins; but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. PROVERBS 14: 21

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