Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Latest air tension endangers pingpong, boxing diplomacy

Latest air tension endangers 
pingpong, boxing diplomacy

"Take the diplomacy out of war and the thing would fall flat in a week."  WILL ROGERS 

By Alex P. Vidal

The act of an American private sports outfit to invest in China through the promotion of Manny Pacquiao versus Brandon Lee Rios bout in Macao last November 24, can be considered as "boxing diplomacy" following the famous "pingpong diplomacy" in 1971 and the "badminton diplomacy" (I coined this term in an article I wrote in 2009 in Chicago) in 2009 in Tehran, Iran.
In the Cold War era and during ferocious anti-communist campaign in the 60s, it's inconceivable to see an American sports company like Top Rank doing business in a Chinese property. The Pacquiao-Rios tussle generated millions of dollars in revenues for hotels and shops and capitalism had a field day in Macao for a couple of weeks.  But the boxing diplomacy may turn out to be short-lived if we review the front page story of the Philippine Daily Inquirer dated November 28 or four days after the Pacquiao-Rios duel.


In that front page story, a US B-52 Stratofortress bomber was reported to have flown over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea that the Chinese call Diaoyu Islands. Beijing said on November 7 it monitored two B-52s flying over the islands in defiance of its declaration of an "air defense identification zone" in the area.
“The Chinese government has the will and ability to defend our national sovereignty and security,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang was quoted to have said at a regular press briefing in the report by Agence France-Presse.
Now that tension has again escalated between China and the USA, all the efforts put forward in the past to improve diplomatic relations between two countries through sports, are in danger of being put to waste.
When the war was raging in Vietnam and the Cold War was entering its 26th year in April 1971 or 42 years ago, a Pan Am 707 landed in Detroit, Michigan, carrying the People’s Republic of China’s world champion table tennis team for a series of matches and tours in 10 cities around the United States.


The era of Ping-Pong diplomacy had begun 12 months earlier when the American team-- in Nagoya, Japan, for the World Table Tennis Championship--got a surprise invitation from their Chinese colleagues to visit the People’s Republic. Time magazine called it "The ping heard round the world." And with good reason: no group of Americans had been invited to China since the Communist takeover in 1949.
Why had they been invited? Smithsonian’s David A. DeVoss said the Chinese felt that by opening a door to the United States, they could put their mostly hostile neighbors on notice about a possible shift in alliances. The United States welcomed the opportunity; President Richard M. Nixon had written: "We simply cannot afford to leave China outside the family of nations."


Soon after the U.S. team’s trip, Nixon, not wanting to lose momentum, secretly sent Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to Peking to arrange a Presidential visit to China. Nixon’s journey seven months later, in February 1972, became one of the most important events in U.S. postwar history. "Never before in history has a sport been used so effectively as a tool of international diplomacy," said Chinese Premier Chou En-lai. For Nixon, it was "the week that changed the world."
In February 2002, President George W. Bush, in his second trip to China, recalled the meeting that came out of Ping-Pong diplomacy, telling President Jiang Zemin: "Thirty years ago this week, President Richard Nixon showed the world that two vastly different governments could meet on the grounds of common interest and in a spirit of mutual respect."


Despite its critical diplomatic relationship with Iran, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sent a delegation of 12 Americans, including eight female athletes, coaches, and managers representing USA Badminton, to Tehran, Iran, from February 3-9, 2009.
The team competed in the Fajr International Badminton Tournament at the invitation of the Iranian Badminton Federation.
From pingpong, US had embarked on another peaceful mission through badminton in the hostile territory in a bid to improve its relationship with the Islamic country which has blamed the West for its various problems.


The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and USA Badminton also hosted the Iranian Badminton Federation for the U.S. Open in July 2009. The visit was reportedly part of the US’s "people-to-people" exchanges with Iran.
Since 2006, the US has included Iranians in a range of educational, professional, and cultural exchange programs. In the past two years, over 250 Iranians, including artists, athletes, and medical professionals, have participated in exchange programs in the United States.
Through its Sports United program, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has brought the Iranian National Teams for Basketball, Water Polo, Weightlifting, and members of the men’s and women’s National Table Tennis teams to the United States. The US also sent 20 members of USA Wrestling to Iran to compete in the prestigious Takhti Cup in January 2007.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pacquiao's tax woes a result of bloated purse reportage

Pacquiao's tax woes a result 
of bloated purse reportage

"The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward."  JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES

By Alex P. Vidal

We must go to the bottom first. Who are the publicists of Manny Pacquiao who have been drum-beating about his exorbitant multi-million dollar ring earnings over these past five years?
In those years that I covered Pacquiao's fights in the United States, I observed that these publicists did not report accurately Pacquiao's real purse per fight. 
For instance, if his purse when he fought Oscar De La Hoya on December 6, 2008 was $18 million plus shares in the pay-per-view, publicists reported that he bankrolled $35 million excluding shares in pay-per-view. When he got $12 million against Ricky Hatton on May 2, 2009, they reported in press releases that the Filipino fighter ran away with a whooping $25 million minus PPV shares. When Pacquiao pocketed $14 million versus Miguel Angel Cotto on November 14, 2009, they parroted that he collected $25 million minus PPV share. And so on and so forth.


I couldn't understand why they had to bloat Pacquiao's ring earnings in media. They probably thought "anyway, it's just a news item and people won't really mind how much he earns as long as he always wins." In most articles, they reported the total sum of Pacquiao's cash prize without stating the cuts taken for the trainer's fees, among other slices and deductions.    
If their intention is to confuse the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States, definitely their gimmick defies logic. The more that Pacquiao earns, the more taxes he must pay. The Forbes Magazine has listed him as one of the top 20 richest paid athletes in the world with estimated worth of $100 million.
If their purpose is to portray Pacquiao as one of the highest paid professional athletes in the planet in the league of Tiger Woods, David Beckham, Romario, Roger Federer, and Kobe Bryant, the braggadocio has backfired.
Their false reportage has hurt Pacquiao and he is now experiencing the damage done by that inaccuracy.


Aside from IRS which does not distinguish whether you are a world champion or a patsy as long as you earn and owes taxes to government, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the Philippines has also been doing its homework.
Since the tax agency is claiming that it has not received Pacquiao's tax records with the IRS despite repeated requests, it is possible that it based their estimates of his total earnings or earnings obtained in 2008 to 2009 from these reports--or from taxes he paid in the past, among other sources.
The BIR is hot after the heels of the most celebrated world boxing champion in connection with the P2.2 billion case filed against him for back taxes -- including interests and surcharges. BIR chief Kim Henares confirmed they have started garnishing some of the boxer's bank accounts.


It's the job of Pacquiao's accountants and probably lawyers to handle the problem, and they must deal with the BIR in the most professional manner sans media hoopla and blunderbuss if they hope to ferret out a win-win solution.
They must produce necessary documents showing that the rich athlete has been paying taxes religiously and there was no intention whatsoever to hoodwink the government or dodge his basic responsibility as a Filipino citizen. Bob Arum has volunteered to save Pacquiao from the abyss by producing the IRS papers.
Like any ordinary citizen or businessman, Pacquiao should immediately settle whatever taxes he owes the Philippine government--if the evidence warrants-- without the need to swap brickbats laced with political undertones against politicians allied with the government.
We are always reminded of Al Capone when we remember the popular adage that says, "You can't fight city hall."

Monday, November 25, 2013

'Robin' dead; 'Batman' neutralized

"Even in killing men, observe the rules of propriety." 

AMIYONG alyas "Batman"

By Alex P. Vidal

If "Batman and Robin" were working for government as anti illegal drugs agents, drug syndicates may be starting to smell victory now that they have neutralized Batman two years after they murdered his sidekick, Robin.
I'm referring to retired police Superintendent Musa Amiyong, former deputy chief of the Iloilo City Public Safety Management Company, who has been in state of comatose (as of this writing) at the intensive care unit (ICU) of St. Paul's Hospital after being fatally shot several times on the neck by two motorcycle-riding assailants on Quirino Bridge on November 22 evening.
The attack, the third attempt on his life in four months this year, came after he left the house of his textmate, Melissa Esperonce-Aguirre alias "Love-Love", in Lapuz at past 9 o'clock in the evening.


In an apparent squid tactic, Amiyong's enemies--or those interested to have him liquidated--were now trying to muddle the issue by linking his attack on a supposed mysterious liaison with women. 
It was allegedly his first meeting with "Love Love" and the woman did not know he was a retired cop as he introduced himself as "Bebot".
If "Love Love" did not know "Bebot" personally and met him only for the first time as she claimed, why did she spend time with him in a dinner inside "Love Love's" house together with "Love Love's" trusted friends, Glenda Medrocillo and Racquel Galvez?
Amiyong's companion, known only as "Tukmol" when he visited "Love Love", was nowhere to be found when the shooting occurred.  


Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) director, Senior Supt. Ruperto Floro, refused to speculate if the attack on Amiyong or "Batman", a Muslim, was related to drugs or women.
The task force headed by Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) Special Operations Group chief, Supt. Uldarico Garbanzos, continued to face a blank wall.
Amiyong, 58, is a controversial character in law enforcement. 
His name had been linked to illegal drugs and in the murder of a fellow cop who was an active crusader against illegal drugs; but his accusers could not pin him down on these issues for lack of evidence and witnesses.


Amiyong was also once accused of harassing the political supporters of Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas as he was identified with former justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr., whose son, Raul Jr., lost to Trenas in two successive congressional elections.  
When he was active in police service, he befriended a lot of media people and made one of them as his civilian sidekick in his campaign against illegal drugs in the metropolis.  
Since the murder of his radioman sidekick, Lito Jimena or "Robin", on August 22, 2011 in E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental, he was never the same again. 
He became more security-conscious and would suspect everyone staring at him as a potential assassin.  


On August 24, 2011, unidentified gunmen also tried to kill him while he was about to board a ferry boat back to Iloilo from Bacolod after visiting Jimena's cadaver at the morgue of the Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.
Jimena or “Robin” died from gunshot wounds on the head after being chased down by two hit men while riding on his motorbike.  
In that 2011 incident, the suspects, believed to be cohorts of those who finished off "Robin", spotted "Batman" in the Bacolod pier, sources reported.
The presence of policemen in the wharf alarmed the gunmen, thus they decided to call off the operation, they added.
Since 2011 or even earlier than that, Batman was reportedly aware that he was being followed and also probably marked for liquidation by the same characters who murdered his civilian partner.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Don't go back to Las Vegas, Manny!

Don't go back to Las Vegas, Manny!

"You have been trapped in the inescapable net of ruin by your own want of sense."

By Alex P. Vidal

If we truly love Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao and we want to preserve him as a national sports icon, we must start a nationwide campaign to convince him to retire now that he is still "ahead" by virtue of that face-saving 12-round unanimous decision win over Brandon Lee "Bam Bam" Rios in Macao last November 24.
Many of us are still probably overjoyed that Pacquiao "is back" after that lips-first flat fall disaster against Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8, 2012, but only few have realized that an "ambush" is waiting for him in his next fight if Top Rank's Bob Arum will bring him back to Las Vegas, the lion's den.
Aging Pacquiao will only be fed to the lions and he could suffer worse than the Marquez one-punch brutality that made many of his fanatics cry and run amuck in shame and disgust.


In Las Vegas, the rich will further enrich themselves, the tired and weary will further wear a crimson and exacerbate his physical deterioration. They will pit Pacquiao next against fighters who have studied and memorized Pacquiao's style; and, thus, they know how to avoid being drilled and bulldozed into submission like what Rios did. To survive the distance with Pacquiao was already a "victory" for an upstart like Rios and wily promoters love this scenario.
Pacquiao is still good; he has the speed of Don Quixote's windmills; the congressman tots a menacing stoppage ledger; he can still land a tornado blow and rearrange a camel's ribcage, there is no doubt about it. 
But he is on the way to the slammer and the tell tale signs are crystal clear: his knockout percentage has declined. The last time he scored a short cut win was four years ago or eight fights ago when he bludgeoned Miguel Angel Cotto in the 12th and final stanza for WBO welterweight jewels at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Except for the fourth meeting against Marquez, all of Pacquiao's seven previous fights (5 wins, 1 KO loss to Marquez, 1 draw to Marquez) after wrecking Cotto lasted the distance.
"Pacquiao has lost his sting," observed an American analyst who had predicted a 9th round knockout win for Pacquiao against Rios.
The Rios victory was good for the pride of the country reeling from the aftershocks of super typhoon Yolanda, but it confirmed--more than anything else--that our pambansang kamao (national fist) was seemingly "tired" and now deserves to be shielded--or to put it bluntly, protected from dialectical materialism creeping the industry.


As a prizefighter, we will never hear religious Pacquiao squirm in protest that he is tired of disfiguring handsome faces; we can never hear him grumble "I quit" even if his work rate has ebbed and his kinetic energy has subsided. As long as Uncle Bob and the behemoth Top Rank promotion call the shots, Pacquiao will continue to break bones and damage retinas in the square jungle. 
Still fresh in our memory was the shellacking he inflicted on unbeaten Timothy Bradley on June 9, 2012 in defense of Pacquiao's WBO belt in Las Vegas. 
If a pugilist couldn't nail a KO win, Pacquiao's performance that night was an excellent paragon of why boxing is touted as sweet science. And yet, they robbed him and committed the biggest injustice in history of Marquess of Queensberry by handing to Bradley the WBO bauble on a barbaric split decision.


Las Vegas bookies "punished" Pacquiao for his failure to score knockouts in his last four assignments before facing Bradley thus Bradley became the beneficiary of that "mortal sin." 
The unanimous decision victory in Macao certainly failed to convince them once more as they were baying for a knockout so they could give Pacquiao a red carpet welcome in Las Vegas, the mecca of boxing and entertainment, when Arum, et al uncork the imprimatur for Pacquiao to duke it out against either Bradley or Mayweather next.
Now that Pacquiao failed to deliver in Macao, we fear another "punishment" reminiscent of the Bradley boondoggle. We must save our hero. He must retire now!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pacquiao will win by unanimous decision

Pacquiao will win by unanimous decision

By Alex P. Vidal

Bob Arum would not give Manny Pacquiao a chance to redeem himself after losing by 6th round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8, 2012 if the Top Rank chief executive officer knew Pacquiao could not beat his comeback opponent.
Thus Arum picked 27-year-old iron-jawed Brandon Lee "Bam Bam" Rios (31-1, 23 KOs 1 draw) to test Pacquiao's mettle and see if he still have what it takes to become world champion again at 34.
Never mind if the WBO international welterweight belt that Pacquiao and Rios will dispute on November 24 at the Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort in Macao, China is not a legitimate world championship. Pacquiao's comeback fight against the former world champion Rios is crucial and will serve as the basis if Arum can still sign him up for more multi-million contracts against the current world champions in the 147 lbs division in his next fights.


Pacquiao (54-5, 38 KOs 3 draws) is under obligation to fulfill a contract with Top Rank thus Arum is morally obliged to "protect" his ward by hook or by crook, so to speak.
Under the contract, Pacquiao still has two fights left under Top Rank but he has the option to retire after the Rios fight.
Since Rios does not have the caliber of Pacquaio's previous opponents, oddsmakers are giving him a slim chance to score an upset against the 8-division world champion from General Santos City in Mindanao. 
Upsets, however, happen when they are least expected like in the case of Pacquiao vs Marco Antonio Barrera first fight on November 15, 2003 where Pacquiao scored a dramatic 11th round TKO against the most charismatic Mexican world champion in that period.
Rios has been training for at least five months and he is expected to be in perfect shape when he scuffles with Pacquiao who has trained only for about two months.


If Rios is mentally and physically prepared, he won't be a patsy when he squares off with Pacquiao. Pacquiao will have to be extra cautious when he attempts to finish off the younger Rios in the early rounds so as not to repeat the tragic ending inflicted on him by Marquez in his last fight. And his coaching team is aware of this danger.
If Pacquiao can't put away Rios and the fight goes the full route, he will win by unanimous decision. Both protagonists will be judged by "friendly" officials: Lisa Giampa, Michael Pernick, and Manfred Kuechler and the fight won't be held in the glitzy Las Vegas where mafias wield tremendous power and influence; and where Pacquiao was "punished" en route to losing by a highly controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley on June 9, 2012.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pacquiao aims to do a Pancho Villa after two straight losses

Pacquiao aims to do a Pancho 
Villa after two straight losses 

"With experience in boxing, you learn how to be a scientific boxer and how to fight easy."  MANNY PACQUIAO 

By Alex P. Vidal

Like Manny Pacquiao, Pancho Villa, the first Asian and Filipino world champion, also incurred two straight defeats and was on the verge of kissing goodbye his young fistic career when he slammed a crucial victory that propelled him back to the mainstream of world championship.
After two straight losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao is aiming to duplicate Villa's luck when he battles Brandon Lee "Bam Bam" Rios in Macau on November 24, to stay away from the brink of elimination and keep his hopes alive for a duel versus Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Villa (78 wins with 22 KOs, 8 losses and 2 draws) was 21 years old when his manager, Frank Churchill, brought him to the United States in 1922. Villa had an intimidating record when he left the Philippines: 15 straight wins. He had only one defeat, a disqualification to Eddie Moore in Manila on August 9, 1921. Villa's record when he arrived in the US was 23 wins, 1 loss, 2 draws. Six of those 23 wins came by way of knockout.


Disaster struck in his first two fights on the American soil when he lost a pair of decisions to future world champions Abe Goldstein and Frankie Genaro.
New York speedster Goldstein (70-16, 35 KOs, 7 draws) gave Villa a rude welcome in the land of milk and honey when they clashed at the Oakland A.A. in New Jersey on June 7, 1922. Goldstein, taller by four inches, pounded out a unanimous verdict after 12 rounds.
Villa was back again on the same ring less than a month after losing to Goldstein, only to be trounced via 12-round unanimous decision by Genaro on July 6, 1922.
Churchill was taken aback by the back-to-back setbacks and didn't want his investment on the "Mighty Atom" from Ilog, Negros Occidental go to waste without hoping for a miracle. So he immediately signed up unheralded Frankie Murray to face Villa next. 


Villa traveled to New York and dispatched Murray on points in a six-rounder aperitif at the Margolies A.C. in Queens on July 19, 1922 or 13 days after bowing out to Genaro. 
The win revived Villa's chances to earn a berth at the world crown. Ten days later on July 29, 1922, Villa launched a three-win juggernaut by pounding out a 12-round unanimous decision against Terry Miller at the Asbury Park in New Jersey.
In what could be the briefest preparation in boxing history, Villa returned to New York three days after conquering Miller and outduked Johnny Hepburn in a six-rounder tiff at the Ebbet's Field in Brooklyn on August 2, 1922. This was followed by an 8-round points win against Sammy Cohen on August 15, 1922 on the same venue.
Just when Villa was a cinch away from becoming the first Asian to earn a crack at the world title, Genaro repulsed him again on points in an epic 10-rounder rematch on August 22, 1922 on the same arena in New York.


Villa shrugged off his third loss in the US and sent a loud message by hammering out a spectacular 11th round knockout against Johnny Buff on September 14, 1922 on the same ring in New York.
The big KO win signaled Villa's rise to stardom as he followed it with nine straight victories, toppling like pin balls all the toughest flyweights America could offer, including a 15-round points revenge against Goldstein for the American flyweight crown at the Madison Square Garden on November 16, 1922.
Those who fell from Villa's murderous binge were: Danny Edwards (10-round points), Patsy Wallace (8-round points), Young Montreal (10-round points),  Terry Martin (15-round points in defense of the American flyweight crown), Battling Al Murray (8-round points), Frankie Mason (KO 5th in defense of the American flyweight diadem), Henry "Kid" Wolfe (KO 3rd).
Villa finally yielded the American flyweight title on a controversial 15-round split decision to Genaro in their third meeting.  Scoring referee Andy Griffin and judge Billy "Kid" McPartland saw Genaro the winner while third judge Harold Barnes favored Villa.


After his third loss to Genaro, gold medalist in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, Villa rebounded with four points victories against Young Montreal in rematch, Willie Darcey, Clarence Rosen, and Battling Al Murray in rematch and was defeated on points by Bobby Wolgast.
Instead of being sent home to the Philippines following a loss to Wolgast, Villa was awarded with a berth to the world flyweight crown due to his sterling record (17 wins, 5 losses) in a two-year US campaign.
On June 18, 1923, Villa, whose real name was Franciso Guilledo, made history by becoming the first Filipino and Asian to capture a legitimate world boxing crown by virtue of 7th round knockout over defending world flyweight champion Jimmy Wilde at the Polo Grounds in New York.
Villa rolled to 13 straight wins after disposing off Wilde and lost to Bud Taylor (Villa's world crown not at stake). He collected 10 more straight wins and a draw versus Eddie McKenna, before losing on points in 10 rounds to welterweight terror Jimmy McLarnin on July 4, 1925.
Villa had an ulcerated tooth extracted earlier on the day of the fight. A few days later, on July 14, he died from Ludwig's angina resulting from an infection that spread to his throat. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Will Rios do to Pacquiao what Jaguar Kakizawa did to Elorde?

Will Rios do to Pacquiao what 
Jaguar Kakizawa did to Elorde?

"If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize."  MUHAMMAD ALI

By Alex P. Vidal

After absorbing back-to-back defeats to Yoshiaki Numata, Akihisa Someya, and Eugenio Espinoza from 1967 to 1969, Gabriel "Flash" Elorde refused to heed calls for his retirement.
The longest reigning world juior lightweight champion from Bogo, Cebu was already 34 years old when pitted against Japanese journeyman, Jaguar Kakizawa, at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City on April 26, 1969. 
The same age of Manny Pacquiao today who will tangle against 27-year-old brawler, Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios, for the vacant WBO international welterweight crown at the The Venetian Macao Resort in Macau, China on November 24.
Younger by 12 years, Kakizawa (35 wins, 11 losses with 5 KOs and 2 draws), embarrassed Elorde (89 wins, 27 defeats with 33 KOs and 2 draws) before a partisan Filipino crowd via 10-round unanimous decision.


The loss to Kakizawa was a bitter pill to swallow for Elorde's father-in-law and manager, Lope "Papa" Sarreal Sr., as it was supposed to be Elorde's tune-up fight for him to shoot once more for the WBC junior lightweight title against Hokkaido-born Numata (44-8, 12 KOs, 2 draws).
It was Numata who ended Elorde's reign as WBC junior lightweight ruler for seven years via 15-round majority decision on June 15, 1967, and Sarreal could not forgive Numata, then 22 years old, and the reigning Oriental Pacific champion, for snatching away Elorde's belt. 
The name Numata was an enigma to both Elorde and Sarreal. The same Numata stopped Elorde's eight-fight winning streak when he also grabbed Elorde's OPBF crown by 12-round unanimous decision in Tokyo, Japan on June 9, 1966. 
For Elorde to earn a third match against Numata and a crack at the Japanese' WBC jewels, he needed to surpass two barriers -- Someya and Espinoza. But, alas, Someya repulsed Elorde by 10-round majority decision in Manila on October 28, 1967. To compound his woes and further delay his climb to Numata's throne, Espinoza bombed Elorde out via 10-round unanimous decision in Quito, Ecuador on February 16, 1969. The loss the Kakizawa further derailed the Elorde Express.


Elorde's three straight defeats to Someya and Espinoza and later to Kakizawa, proved to be moot and academic as Numata lost the WBC crown to compatriot Hiroshi Kobayashi on a shock 12th round knockout in Tokyo on December 14, 1967.
As Elorde struggled to get past Someya, Espinoza, and Kakizawa, Numata tried in vain to add the WBC lightweight bauble in his collection of world belts when he was flattened in sixth canto by Mando Ramos in Los Angeles, California on October 4, 1969.
As Numata disappeared from Elorde's radar, Kobayashi was stripped of the WBC title and another Filipino, Rene Barrientos (37-7, 2 draws) of Balete, Aklan, was awarded the world crown that originally belonged to Elorde, who had previously beaten Barrientos on points in Cebu on February 27, 1965. 
Elorde never had a chance to fight for world title again. No more third meeting with Numata. No title shot against fellow southpaw Barrientos, who didn't stay long as world champion. Elorde was already aging when young Panamian dynamo Roberto Duran entered the picture and dominated Elorde's division for a decade.


Elorde retired after being humiliated by a patsy Japenese Hiroyuki Murakami in Tokyo on May 20, 1971. He had the universe under his feet when he wrapped up the WBC junior lightweight title with a devastating 7th round knockout against Harold Gomes on March 16, 1960 at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. The embarrassment inflicted by Murakami in Elorde's farewell fight had served as an ugly blot in a magnificent record that started in 1951.  
If Rios (31-1, 23 KOs 1 draw) will upset Pacquiao (55-7, 40 KOs 1 draw) on November 24, history will be repeated after 46 years. Pacquiao has incurred back-to-back losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, and is itching to climb back the ladder in a hope to get a stab at the legitimate world title once more. 
The vacant WBO international welterweight belt to be disputed by Pacquiao and Rios does not have the legitimacy of a regular world championship. "International" champions, however, are compulsory candidates for world title matches. 
Pacquiao badly needs to roll back into the win column and must beat Rios decisively in order to avert the misfortune that befell Elorde, who refused to hang up his gloves after amassing a fortune in prizefighting--and after securing his highly revered seat in fistic history. Or Pacquiao can opt for a choice retirement while he is still "ahead."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pacquiao hopes to land a 'Yolanda' punch to KO Rios

Pacquiao hopes to land a 
'Yolanda' punch to KO Rios

"I was a tiger, a good fighter, in good shape, but I was always nervous before boxing matches." GEORGE FOREMAN

ROGELIO NUNAL and his list of
Filipino world champions
By Alex P. Vidal

The next person who might need immediate assistance 16 days after super typhoon "Yolanda" wrecked Central Visayas in the Philippines, could be Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios (31-1, 23 KOs 1 draw), who battles Manny Pacquiao for the 12-round vacant WBO international welterweight tiara on November 24 in Macau.
At 34, Pacquiao still carries a force superior than any typhoon or as menacing as the "Yolanda" howler, observed Rogelio Nunal, 75, a boxing analyst and record keeper of all Filipino world boxing champions.
"Once Pacquiao lands his best shots, Rios will be blown away like a typhoon debris," predicted Nunal, a retired equipment custodian of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Region 6.
Nunal said no one can beat Pacquiao (54-5, 38 KOs 2 draws) in his division today even if he suffered a cruel 6th round KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7, 40 KOs 1 draw) in his last fight in Las Vegas in December 2012.


"Pacquiao was on the verge of winning by knockout when Marquez delivered that lucky punch," Nunal stressed. "Marquez would have gone down in the next round if Pacquiao was not hit by that powerful blow."
Nunal, of Baybay Sur, Miag-ao, Iloilo, said he learned from The Ring magazine, considered as boxing's Bible, that once a boxer starts to breath heavily from his mouth, he can not survive long and will either be knocked out or call it quits before 12 rounds.
Nunal predicts a knockout victory for the come-backing congressman from Saranggani Province in Mindanao "but I will not be surprised if the fight goes the distance since Rios is also well-prepared and younger and hungrier," he said.
Nunal, who has three daughters and one son, has been keeping a tab of Pacquiao's fights since the southpaw from General Santos City turned professional on January 24, 1995. He memorized all the details of Pacquiao's world title tiffs in and outside the United States.


"I became interested in collecting the records of Filipino world champions from (flyweight) Pancho Villa to (middleweight) Ceferino Garcia and other world class Filipino boxers in the early 1960s when I became fascinated with (junior lightweight) Flash Elorde," Nunal narrated.  
When he presented Pacquiao the records of the boxer's fights he had kept since the 90s during their meeting in 2011, Pacquiao gave Nunal a copy of the boxer's book.
Nunal cautioned though Pacquiao not to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. "If the fight against Mayweather  pushes through after Rios, I will pick Mayweather over Pacquiao." The unbeaten black fighter will never engage Pacquiao in a toe-to-toe brawl and will use his lateral movements to frustrate the Filipino Hall of Famer, said Nunal.
"Mayweather is an intelligent fighter," Nunal pointed out. "If he knows that he is in danger of losing by knockout, he will dance away from harm and secure a win by decision."


In his arrival statement at Macau International Airport on November 18, Pacquiao quipped: “Am I confident for my fight with Rios? I am more than confident. Rios is bigger than me. Remember Goliath was bigger than David and yet David needed just one stone to fell the giant. I enter this fight stronger than ever. I have the strength of my country and my people coursing through my body. I fight for them, not for me. I fight for their glory, not mine.”
Rios responded: “I want to feel Manny’s power. I want to feel all of it. This is the first training camp I have kept to the game plan and done everything I was told to do. Manny Pacquiao is a big step. I am going to shut everyone up and prove I am the best. The second Alvarado fight was my bad. I was focused on knocking him out and that’s how I trained and fought, throwing one shot at a time trying to land that knockout punch. It was also the first time I ever lifted weights and by the third round I was slowing down. This time I am focusing on winning -- not on the knockout -- and Robert and his dad have designed a lot of ways for me to do that. My body clock has finally adjusted to Macau. I slept until 7 a.m. and was in the gym before 9 a.m. I know we are in Manny’s backyard and I want to win every round. I have trained not to give up a minute to Manny Pacquiao.”

Roger Federer should be voted No. 1 in Hall of Fame

Roger Federer should be 
voted No. 1 in Hall of Fame

"When you do something best in life, you don't really want to give that up - and for me it's tennis." ROGER FEDERER

FEDERER (right) and former world No. 1 Pete Sampras

By Alex P. Vidal

The long wait is finally over. 
When Sportsmail launched it's brilliant new Hall of Fame to celebrate the greatest sporting champions in history on November 14, it picked as its inaugural inductee the  best tennis player in the history of the game, 17-time champion Roger Federer.
I have always considered Federer to be the best tennis player in the world--better than my hitherto all-time favorites Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl. Back in 2007, I wrote a glowing editorial about the phenom from Basel, Switzerland in the Daily Informer after he won the three major titles that year-- Australian Open, Wimbledon Open, and US open.
Born on August 8, 1981, Federer, who owns 17 grand slams has the following sparkling conquests: Australian Open (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010); French Open (2009); Wimbledon (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012); US Open (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008); Olympic silver medallist in 2012.


Tennis correspondent Mike Dickson explained why Federer has to be first in record-breaking champion, ballstriker of balletic beauty, citizen of the world. Dickson believed "that might just be a fair approximation if you try to summarize the life and career of Roger Federer to date."
Arguably more than any other active athlete, Federer can boast a unique combination encompassing sheer weight of achievement, carried off in a style that is hugely pleasing to the eye, while generally conducting himself in an exemplary way inside and out of his chosen sporting arena, Dickson explained.
Since the days when Federer displayed, by his own admission, somewhat brattish tendencies as a junior, the 32-year-old Swiss has done it all and in a brutally competitive environment, he further observed.  "Singles tennis is a worldwide individual sport which draws talent from most corners of the earth, with no different classes, weights or sub-divisions, involving a relentless schedule of play and travel," Dickson wrote.


Each week, Sportsmail team of writers will nominate their latest pick and write why they are being included.
Dickson observed that Federer has become one of a select few athletes who transcend sport, as illustrated by a poll of 50,000 people across 25 countries two years ago. 
When presented with a list of 54 global figures it found that he was ranked, in terms of trust and respect, second only to Nelson Mandela.
"Of course, like all men, Federer is not perfect and it would be impossible to achieve all he has done in a gladiatorial pursuit such as tennis without having a tough inner core and something of an edge, however well he manages to conceal it," Dickson emphasized.


He is entering that period of his career when, inevitably, the losses are starting to come more freely, but if there is a decline it is coming from an astonishingly high starting point. Listing everything he has won is too arduous, but perhaps the simplest illustrations are 17 Grand Slam titles across all surfaces and 302 weeks ranked as the world No 1. 
Delve deeper and there are other statistics which are, possibly, even more jawdropping. From Wimbledon 2004 to the 2010 Australian Open he went 23 Grand Slams in making the semi-finals or better, a run which is 13 more than any other man in history. 
His staggering consistency is further shown in the streak of 36 quarter-finals or better that stretched up to this summer’s Wimbledon.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mayor dismantles Miag-ao's 'Berlin Wall'

Mayor dismantles Miag-ao's 'Berlin Wall' 

"Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers." ARISTOTLE 

Barbed wires are gone. I took this photo on November 14, 2013. 

By Alex P. Vidal

Even before the Flores husband and wife--Gerardo and Julieta--lorded over the municipality of Miag-ao, 40 kilometers away southwest of Iloilo City, sitting alternately as mayor for several years until their defeat in the May 13, 2013 elections, the entire town hall was already surrounded by barbed wires and tall barriers.
Immediately after incumbent Mayor Macario "Mac" N. Napulan delivered his State of the Municipality Address on October 23, 2013 at the Justice Ramon B. Britanico Hall (Miag-ao Cultural Hall), the barbed wires, described by many residents as "Miag-ao's Berlin Wall", were ordered dismantled.
"Barbed wires are grim reminiscent of oppressive regimes like the Martial Law of the Cruel Despot, or the Berlin Walls built by the communist regime of East Germany. Sa pagbag-o, the walls must fall down," Napulan, a doctor by profession, declared.


Napulan lamented that it "defies reason why for a long time, it (municipal hall) had been fenced with barbed wires and tall barriers to physically separate the servants from its (sic) Bosses." 
"The Municipal Building and its employees and officials represent the face of its people," the mayor stressed. "Nagapati kita nga ang Municipio ang premiere government building nga naga-simbolo sang pag alagad sa tanan nga taga Miag-ao labi ragid ang mga kubos." (We believe that the municipal hall is the premiere government building that symbolizes our service to the people, especially the poor.)
The removal of barbed wires also paved the way for  improvement of plaza and municipal building grounds.
The chief executive of the first class municipality with a population of 64,545 people, emphasized that in order to prompt the headway of tourism and economy, "it is always reasonable to first focus on strategic development of infrastructures. For we all know, a magnificent house attracts more visitors." "That is why last month of September," Napulan pointed out, "we officially announced to the public the improvement of our plaza and municipal building grounds with its commencement a week after."


Vicente "Bugoy" Molejona, former municipal administrator, considers the dismantling of barbed wires as "one of the finest achievements of Mayor Napulan" in the administration with a total of 250 workforce.
The Berlin Wall was erected in the dead of night and for 28 years kept East Germans from fleeing to the West. Its destruction on November 9, 1989, which was nearly as instantaneous as its creation, was celebrated by Filipinos and other people around the world.
At the end of World War II, the Allied powers divided conquered Germany into four zones, each occupied by either the United States, Great Britain, France, or the Soviet Union (as agreed at the Potsdam Conference). The same was done with Berlin, Germany's capital city.
"We live in a democratic state. The municipal hall is owned by the people for the people; therefore, there should be no wall or fence that separates them from officials who serve them," said Molejona, whose task included the establishment of personnel program and promotion of career and organizational development.
Napulan acknowledged Molejona's role when the municipal government started it municipal resource management plans with technical help from the Civil Service Commission.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Situation 'improves' as USAID help reaches Yolanda victims

Situation 'improves' as USAID 
help reaches Yolanda victims

"Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you. Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs." SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES 

By Alex P. Vidal

More than a week after super typhoon ravaged Central Visayas, victims of the world's strongest typhoon have started to rebuild their lives and buried their dead in mass graves even as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other international donors have stepped up their distribution of relief assistance in foods and logistics. 
Yolanda or Haiyan had affected an estimated 9 million people and displaced nearly 2 million individuals across 44 provinces in the Philippines, USAID quoted the NDRRMC report.
The confirmed death toll stands at 3,631, although the figure will likely continue to fluctuate pending further verification by the GPH.
The situation in typhoon-affected areas of the is slowly improving, with increasing amounts of relief commodities reaching primary and secondary distribution points, according to the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). Water and telecommunications networks are also gradually regaining function; however, fuel shortages and other logistical constraints persist.
USAID added that to aid populations affected by typhoon, the U.S. Government (USG) is providing more than $22 million in funding for interventions in emergency shelter and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), as well as for support in logistics, humanitarian coordination, and relief item procurement and distribution. On November 14 alone, U.S. military assets helped transport nearly 58,000 pounds of USG and non-USG food items and other critical supplies into Tacloban.


On November 15, the U.N. reported that Tacloban city’s municipal water system is operational, with 28,000 water connections recently restored in 8 municipalities. The system is functioning at 30 percent capacity and providing water to an estimated 150,000 people.
While the Tacloban water system is capable of producing sufficient quantities of safe drinking water to meet the needs of city residents, the system has not yet resumed full operation due to fuel shortages. Relief agencies and the GPH are working to procure the necessary fuel, and DoD plans to provide additional fuel in the short term until the international community organizes additional suppliers.
USAID/OFDA is providing the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), one of the lead agencies for the WASH Cluster, with $750,000 to procure a generator to help restore power to Tacloban’s municipal water system. To date, USAID/OFDA has provided approximately $1.6 million for WASH activities in storm-affected areas.


The USAID DART reports that significant quantities of humanitarian goods are reaching primary and secondary distribution points despite logistical constraints. The GPH, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), and other relief agencies are mobilizing additional trucks, aircraft, and boats to transport relief commodities and personnel. WFP has mobilized at least 16 trucks, which are currently transporting 320 metric tons (MT) of rice to Tacloban, as well as a barge that is transporting approximately 2,000 MT of food and other relief commodities provided by WFP, other U.N. agencies, and USAID/FFP.
WFP has also contracted a large cargo vessel capable of transporting more than 5,000 MT of cargo, which is set to arrive in Cebu on November 18. With the recent reopening of the port in Tacloban, ships can begin to deliver food and relief commodities directly to the city, alleviating pressure placed on the city’s airport and the region’s air transportation network. The Logistics Cluster—the coordinating body for humanitarian logistics activities in the Philippines—reports that a dedicated fleet of trucks is being mobilized to operate in Leyte Province to boost the capacity for aid deliveries.
DoD continues to airlift USAID, WFP, and GPH food, emergency relief commodities, and humanitarian personnel from Manila to Tacloban. On November 14, U.S. military assets transported approximately 2,350 pounds of USAID/OFDA emergency relief supplies, 5,200 pounds of WFP high-energy biscuits, and 50,260 pounds of GPH food commodities to Tacloban. On November 15, the DoD transported 45 humanitarian personnel to typhoon-affected areas.
To date, USAID/OFDA has provided approximately $3.5 million for logistics support and the provision of relief commodities, representing more than 40 percent of USAID/OFDA funding to date. In addition, DoD has contributed more than $2.5 million, primarily for airlifts and other logistical support.


As of November 15, the typhoon had destroyed approximately 384,000 acres of land planted with rice, corn, and other crops, resulting in the loss of nearly 237,000 MT of food crops, according to the NDRRMC. The latest U.N. situation report noted a priority need to provide rice seeds and agricultural inputs to approximately 250,000 farmers by mid-December to allow them to replant lost crops during the rest of the country’s annual rainy season.
Increasing quantities of food distributions are reaching populations in need. By November 15, GPH Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) family food packs—which include rice rations provided by WFP with USAID/FFP support—had reached more than 170,000 people. The food packs contain canned goods and more than 6 pounds of rice and are sufficient to feed a family of five for up to three days. In addition, WFP distributed packets of high-energy biscuits to 5,000 people awaiting evacuation at Tacloban airport on November 14. Distributions of the biscuits--procured by WFP with USAID/FFP funding--are ongoing in Guiuan and Tacloban. To date, USAID/FFP has committed $10 million toward WFP's response in the Philippines.


On November 15, the GPH Department of Foreign Affairs requested that relief partners suspend the arrival of additional foreign medical teams until further notice. At least 16 foreign teams are already en route to the Philippines or in Manila awaiting deployment, according to the U.N.
The GPH Department of Health (DoH) is leading the Health Cluster--the coordinating body for health-related humanitarian activities in the Philippines--with the support of the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) and has deployed 300 additional personnel to affected areas and set up command posts in Tacloban and Manila.
According to WHO, post-typhoon health priorities include injury management, preventing the spread of communicable disease, and provision of maternal and child health services, as well as psychosocial support. DSWD estimates that nearly 208,000 pregnant women and more than 138,000 lactating women—some of whom are living in evacuation centers—were affected by the typhoon and may require assistance in the coming days and weeks.


As of November 15, international donors had pledged nearly $160 million to address humanitarian needs among populations affected by typhoon. The total amount pledged represents approximately 53 percent of the $301 million requested by the U.N. Humanitarian Action Plan for the Philippines typhoon response.
European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva arrived in the Philippines on November 15 to meet with national and local GPH officials, as well as U.N. and other relief agency staff, and to assess the humanitarian situation in typhoon-affected areas. To date, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) has announced a first tranche of nearly $4 million in humanitarian assistance and has pledged approximately $13 million for reconstruction efforts.
On November 15, the Government of Japan (GoJ) announced plans to extend an additional $20 million in funding for emergency response activities in the Philippines. This most recent contribution brings the total GoJ-provided assistance to approximately $52 million, including $600,000 of emergency relief items, $20 million provided through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction of the Asian Development Bank, and $1.5 million donated through Japan Platform, a Japanese non-governmental consortium.

Pacquiao will eat Rios' lethal bombs

Pacquiao will eat Rios' lethal bombs

"He can have heart, he can hit harder and he can be stronger, but there's no fighter smarter than me."  FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.

By Alex P. Vidal

There are facts that belittle the chances of unheralded Brandon Lee "Bam Bam" Rios against superstar Manny Pacquiao.
Most startling of all the disparities is a poignant reality that Rios, 27, pales in comparison to Pacquiao, 34, in terms of experience and quality of opponents.
The seniority did not end in Pacquiao's commercial contracts, money, fame and glory against Rios' relatively obscure background. 
When Pacquiao (54-5, 38 KOs, 2 draws) held Juan Manuel Marquez to a 12-round split draw in thier first meeting for IBF featherweight and WBA super featherweight titles on May 5, 2004, Rios had just signed a contract for his first professional fight two months later against Raul Montes, whom he blasted in three rounds on July 23, 2004 in Oxnard, California.


A month before Pacquiao kept his WBO welterweight diadem by 12-round unanimous decision over Joshua Clottey at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on March 13, 2010, Rios captured his first major title by knocking out Jorge Luis Teron in 3rd round for vacant NABF lightweight crown in McAllen, Texas on February 6, 2010.
Rios (31-1, 23 KOs, 1 draw) seized his first world crown on February 26, 2011 with a 10th round TKO over Miguel Acosta for WBA lightweight championship at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, three months before Pacquiao exposed Shane Mosley as a fading senior citizen with a 12-round unanimous decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 7, 2011.
Despite his 69.7 knockout percentage and age advantage, Rios does not pose a serious threat to Pacquiao's bid to rebound from back-to-back defeats to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.


Rios' duel against the 8-division champion from General Santos City in Mindanao on November 24 in Macao will be his first in the 147 pounds division.
His last two rumbles versus Mike Alvarado were in the WBO light welterweight division or 140 pounds. 
After disposing off Alvarado in 7th round in a bloody duel for vacant WBO Latino light welterweight bauble in Carson, California on October 13, 2012, Alvarado avenged the loss with a 12-round unanimous decision for WBO welterweight belt at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on March 30, 2013.
Pacquiao, who is no stranger to the Goliaths at 5 feet and six inches, will eat Rios' punches. The hard-hitting Filipino lefty doesn't think Rios, who stands five feet and eight inches, can hit as hard as Ricky Hatton and can unload as many bombshells as Bradley.


If he could swallow Miguel Cotto's lethal howitzers, Pacquiao thinks he can chew away Rios heavy bombs. Aside from his tattoo, handsome Rios doesn't have an intimidating personality like Joshua Clottey, Serikzhan Yeshmagambetov and Lehlo Ledwaba. Rios is more of a matinee idol than a nose buster.
The congressman from Sarangani province will collide head-on against the young orthodox fighter, whose trainer, Roberto Garcia, helped plot the destruction of Vic "The Bull" Darchinyan from the hands of Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire Jr. in their rematch recently in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Pacquiao knows his career is on line against the Texas-born Rios, who has never been floored in nine years of professional boxing. A third successive loss would justify deafening calls for Pacquiao's retirement, which started when he destroyed his tallest rival, Antonio Margarito, for WBC light middleweight crown at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Nov. 13, 2010. 


Top Rank CEO Bob Arum knows Rios is not a dangerous customer for a comebacking protege, who recently announced he would dedicate his first fight since being put to sleep in 6th by Marquez in their fourth meeting on December 8, 2012, for victims of super typhoon "Yolanda" in Central Visayas.
Arum knows Rios would not end up a bust if he loses to Pacquiao. A defeat from the most celebrated and charismatic fighter in the world today is not a source of shame, but a badge of pride especially if Rios survives full route. A win would be another story. There's no substitute for victory--especially if registered against a Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao is eyeing an explosive victory in his first and only fight this year to cap Donaire's 9th round disposal win over Darchinyan and raise again the flag of the Philippines in world map.
Rios knows the Pacquiao fight is the peak of his career. An upset win will bring him more lucrative contracts under the tutelage of Top Rank, the outfit that made Pacquiao one of the richest paid athletes in the world.


He has logged 150 rounds in sparring and trained for five months compared to Pacquiao's less than three months of training in a secluded place in Mindanao.
“I want to fight the best and Manny Pacquiao is one of the best in boxing today. I need to beat him to get where I want to go. I am younger, can fight hard at center ring, can take a punch and I am ready, focused. Pacquiao years ago was in the same situation I am today,” Rios recently announced.
"When the first bell rings, Pacquiao will not be charging right at Brandon,” trainer Garcia said. “Pacquiao will want Rios to come to him and exchange. We know it that’s the way its going to be.”
The 12-round battle for WBO international welterweight title will be held at the Cotai Arena inside the Venetian Macau.
Ring officials are: referee Genaro Rodriguez, judges Lisa Giampa, Michael Pernick, and Manfred Kuechler. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Don't blame God for 'Yolanda'

Don't blame God for 'Yolanda' -- Bugoy

"Religions are many and diverse, but reason and goodness are one." ELBERT HUBBARD

By Alex P. Vidal

God has perfected everything in this world. It was man who destroyed His creation. Man, therefore, should not blame God for natural calamities like super typhoon "Yolanda" because He is not a sadistic God.
Thus was the assertion recently made by retired Population Commission (Popcom) Regional Director Vicente "Bugoy" Molejona, a theologian and former professor of philosophy and logic.
"He is not the God who allowed the house of (the late) Cardinal Sin in New Washington, Aklan to be destroyed by typhoon. He is not the God who allowed the people in Tacloban, Cebu, Masbate, Iloilo to suffer and die," explained the 63-year-old Molejona.
When God made the world after seven days, He gave us the responsibility to take care of His creations. God turned over the physical world to the people for them to live and take care of it. But we abused and destroyed our environment, Molejona lamented.


"The God we worship is the same universal God being worshiped by Muslims, Israelite, and Christians. God is just and does not play favorites. It is our faith that brings us closer to Him, not our religion." 
Molejona's view about God and faith brings us to the fundamental misunderstandings about the "differences" between religions where it becomes easier to grasp when one awakens to the fact all religions essentially preach the same core tenet.
In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, for instance, Jesus declared: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even to them."


The Buddha gently counseled his devotees: "Hurt not others with that which pains yourself."
Confucius impressed upon the minds of his followers: "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."
The Qur'an of the Muslims admonishes, "No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."
In Judaism the Torah instructs, "And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
The Hitoppadesa of the Hindus proclaims, "Good people proceed while considering that what is best for others is best for themselves."


Quoting Genesis 2:2 "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." Molejona said the term "rested" means "completed."
"God completed His creation after seven days," he mused. "The word 'rest' did not mean literally He stopped so He could proceed again with His creation. He is not a government employee who will rest on Saturday and Sunday."