It was a glorious day for team Philippines as they snatched the $500,000.00 prize money and a whooping trophy embedded with pure gold and diamonds. But all of the jubilation and triumph had a glimpsed of sadness as team Philippines team captain the 21 year old phenom from candijay Bohol Rey “boom boom” Bautista suffered the lone defeat in the hands of the former Olympian the WBO champion Ponce De leon. We all could remember Deleon’s last outing wherein he was out classed and out witted by the smart and precision punching dynamo of the Phil. Gerrry Peñalosa. Sportswriters and other commentators from all over the world saw it a closed fight and even pick Gerry to be the victor on that said matched. But the judges gave more points on the volume of punches rather than the quality of punches thrown.
Rey on the other hand became De leon’s punching bag as the latter gave Bautista a barraged of punches proving to the world that he deserves to be a champion and gave Mexico something to smile about. (Ironic as it is last year Mexico went 5-1 against Thailand now the Asians returned the favor as team Philippines went 5-1 against Mexico). Rey didn’t stick to his game plan of boxing out and finding angles to neutralized Deleon’s power instead he played Deleon’s game and went toe to toe with him with the champion making a right left combination rocking Boom boom and the Philippines hope of a 6-0 sweep against the Mexicans, Though he tried to get up but his wobbly legs once again failed to stand up as Bautista succumbed to a barraged of punches given to him by Deleon.
Though Rey suffered his first defeat at least it came from a world champion who is undefeated for 7 fights making his record to 32-1 with 29 KOs and has proven that Rey needs to master his defense and had to learn from this experienced though painful but he still has a lot of years ahead of him to hone his boxing skills. He underestimated Deleon’s power thinking that Gerry Peñalosa took Deleon’s blow with ease counter punching Deleon with précised angles. But Rey has to be a thingking fighter like Gerry is. He has to move his shoulders side to side and going left making it hard for a south paw like Deleon to box and also Gerry has a granite chin with 52-6-4 record on his belt and has never been down on all his fights. Though Rey was emotional after the fight we still are damn proud of him because being a champion is not measured by how much you won and how much you earn, a champion is measured by heart and no one not even Ponce Deleon could take that away from Rey.
In the lighter note Michael Domingo made a name after upsetting Miguel Roman the undefeated Mexican in 6th round winning a unanimous decision. Michael was believed to be the least of all Pinoy fighters to win a match in the World cup event but he showed class and gave Roman a taste of defeat.
Diosdado Gabi also drew first blood for team Phil. as he won a unanimous decision against Beranza followed by Michael Domingo and AJ Banal’s third round TKO.
The ever reliable Z Gorres proved too much for Ortiz as Gorres showed the tactical side of boxing with combinations. In round 8 Gorres almost decking the former champion with a left hook on the head prompting the referee to stop the fight as Ortiz is not fit to continue as advised by the ringside doctor. The TKO win was the exclamation point for team Philippines making team Mexico desperate with Johnny Gonzalez and Ponce Deleon as the only hope for a victory and to win the two most important fight of the night.
The 35 year old Gerry Peñalosa step into the ring with a 1-4 chance of winning against the champion Johnny Gonzalez. Gerry appeared to be in trouble as the crafty Mexican appeared to be in control throughout the game. But like I said Gerry is a thinking fighter though he is behind in the score cards he has bad intentions against Johnny… as Johnny went forward with a right hook Gerry went under and move forward setting up a thunderous left straight into the champion’s liver creating a late reaction with Johnny moving two steps behind and went down as he failed to get up with the referee stopping the fight.
Philippines and Mexico started an instant rivalry between the two nations. The World cup made the Pinoy boxers known all over the world. I was even delighted to see Michael Katsidis on the entire ringside matches of the Pinoy boxers he even wore the team Phil. Jacket and was quoted that he has high respect for all Filipino boxers he wanted to show his support and said that he believes that team Phil. will win the world cup.
And where’s Manny Pacquiao?? Well after the Barrera press conference instead of showing support in the world cup or start his training for his anticipated Barrera match he booked a plane to Manila for unknown reason…
Overall my heart is full of joy and over flowing with pride as I salute the ALA boys for making us proud and for showing that in spite of being a third world corrupt county we are still world class people with a heart of a champion!!