Sports Eye

Magsayo, my next boxing hero

By Jesus A. Garcia

I MISSED the Magsayo – Hayashi World Boxing Organization (WBO) international featherweight championship fight held last November 25 in Tagbilaran City, Bohol because of my commitment to direct the Le Tour de Norte’s qualifying race supposed to be held on the same date. Unfortunately, the bikefest pffft because of organizer TrailZion Events Production’s financial constraints.  The latest report I got was the decision to hold the four-day LTDN open road race (for both professional and amateur riders) on December 9. Hopefully, the single day road battle will finally push through if only to avoid another embarrassment for the organizer. I’m not part of the organizing committee, just the plain race director. Had I known earlier that the race will be postponed, I would have traveled to Tagbilaran City to watch the latest Magsayo fight with media colleague Jun Velasco, an avid boxing follower, like me. Boxing is on our blood.

I’ve never been in Bohol that’s the second reason why I looked forward to visiting the place, see the province’ famous Chocolate Hills. Kaya next time na lang if there’ s another event in Bohol.

I had no choice but to watch it the fight on TV the following day,  how the Tagbilaran-born, Cebu City-based Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo beat the visiting former world champion Shota Hayashi to retain his title. Jun V and I scored the first seven rounds for Magsayo but the succeeding rounds, especially the last three, were for Hayashi. But I guess the three ring judges were right to score 115-112 unanimously for Magsayo. In my card it was 115-113 for the Boholano fighter whom I personally met and talked to briefly during the Pinoy Pride 42 in Cebu City with my children Jazy, Jereza, Rejee and Moses.

The latest talk in the town is that Magsayo is now ripe to fight the unbeaten WBO world featherweight champion Oscar Valdez of Mexico and it could be held in Las Vegas, Nevada possibly in February next year. Or to fight the former World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champ the Mexican-American Abnel Mares before fighting Valdez if victorious. Or perhaps even the reigning WBA titlist Leo Santa Cruz also from Mexico. The two Mexicans were both four-time world champion in different classes with Mares the more veteran.

Valdez, 26, carding 23 wins and 19 of them by knockouts barely defeated the former unbeaten Filipino world contender Genesis Servania last September 22 in Tucson, Arizona.
I still recall how Servania knocked down the sturdy Valdez in the fourth round but who surprisingly got up, recovered and eventually decked Servania in the sixth round to win via unanimous decision.

Like current Filipino world champs Donnie Nietes, Milan Melindo and Jerwin Ancajas, the durable and hard punching Magsayo, 22, has a big chance to be another new Filipino world champ. Yes, no doubt that the guy is improving, but my gut feel says he should first fight ex-champ Mares before fighting Valdez or Cruz because Mares makes for a good dimension for him to see how far he can go in a solid 12 rounds fight. If lucky enough, then he can take a shot at the world title fight and indisputably bankable to any boxing promoter. He’s my new boxing hero.

Siya nawa!  Let’s wait and see.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. MATTHEW 10: 28

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