Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Remembering ‘Thrilla in Manila’

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”Muhammad Ali

By Alex P. Vidal

ON October 1, 1975 or 39 years ago, the biggest heavyweight boxing title fight in the world was held at the Araneta Colesium in Cubao, Quezon City.
It was a duel that defined Muhammad Ali both as a sports icon and as a human being.
Ali (48–2, 35 KOs) settled his feud with Joe Frazier on a spectacular 14th round TKO (technical knockout).
Frazier (32–2, 27 KOs) did not fall flat on his face from Ali’s barrage of howitzers.
Trainer Eddie Futch refused to let him continue before the 15thround sensing the fight Frazier and Ali were in no longer was a sport.
Referee Carlos Padilla terminated the bout as Frazier loudly protested to no avail wailing at Futch, “I want him, boss.”
"It's all over. No one will forget what you did here today," Futch barked at Frazier, whom Ali slandered earlier and called “ape.”
Both ring titans were exhausted and standing only on survival instinct.
Frazier’s lips had been busted and his face was crimson.


Ali also suffered a black eye in both eyes.
Ali described that third duel with Frazier as “next to death.”
The charismatic heavyweight champion admitted later that he asked Frazier to quit after 10 rounds.
“C’mon, Joe, that’s enough. There's still life after this fight,” Ali allegedly whispered to his nemesis while they were swapping bombs.
I asked Padilla if he heard those words when I had a chance to work with him in 1996 during the 12-round WBF welterweight fisticuffs between Amerasian William Magahin and Australian Brad Moderidge.
Padilla, who was the referee while I was a judge in the fight, told me he didn’t exactly hear the sentence uttered by Ali, but confirmed Ali was saying something that only the two boxers had understood.
I was a kid wearing shorts at that time of the historic tussle between two of the heavyweight’s most feared fisttossers.
We watched the fight on a black and white TV set in Molo district, Iloilo City after our classes at the Iloilo Central Commercial High School (ICCHS) in the morning.
My recollection of the astonishing showdown was based on the journals, magazines and newspaper clippings I gathered.
I also watched some of the videos of the fight and interviewed some personalities involved in the epic battle here and in the United States.


Three years ago, I met Sports Communicators Organization of the Philippines (SCOOP) president Eddie Alinea, who acted as Frazier’s press liaison officer, when we covered Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Joshua Clottey in Arlington, Texas.
Alinea said he was assigned by the Office of Media Affairs (now the Philippine Information Agency) to accompany Team Frazier while the boxer was in Manila.
He described challenger Frazier as “a monster in the ring but a gentleman outside.”
Alinea showed to me a black and white photo of a press briefing taken at the Manila Hotel where he sat beside the behemoth champion from Louisville, Kentucky who called himself as “The Greatest” and was formerly known as Cassius Clay.
Alinea, now in his 60s, also kept some souvenir items bearing the signature of Frazier who thanked Alinea for the Filipino scribe’s services and presence in Team Frazier.


According to some boxing experts and historians I met in the United States, the “Thrilla in Manila” is the greatest ever world heavyweight championship in history.
In terms of heated rivalry, intensity, brutality, action and courageous display of skills, talent and spirit, nothing can beat the “Thrilla in Manila.”
There have been great marquee names in world heavyweight that emerged after Ali's exit.
Trevor Berbick, Greg Page, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Mike Tyson, to mention only a few.
But none of them could match his charisma and impact in the hearts of sports fans all over the universe.
The record established by “Thrilla in Manila” has not been broken until today.
As a member of the world boxing fraternity and as a sportswriter, I agree.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Duterte can’t shoot all people

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John C. Maxwell

By Alex P. Vidal

The alleged threats of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte that he would shoot those behind the “Duterte for president movement” is just a pakitang tao.
A hogwash.
Some observers believe Duterte is only overexcited because there are sectors all over the country that really demand for a change in the leadership of our country from “soft” to “hard” whatever that means.
For all we know, those pushing for Duterte’s presidential candidacy in 2016 could be his own people masquerading as “independent” reformers and advocates of law and order.
Duterte is a known disciplinarian and tough guy who believes in the extra-judicial solution for heinous crimes in our society.
In other words, he does not care or advocate for the human rights of criminals.
Duterte wants to finish off every criminal he meets on the street, if he has his own way.


As early as 2004, his name was already floating as among those potential presidential aspirants. His fans and admirers believe this country needs an iron hand to deal with dangerous criminals who kill civilians with impunity after robbing them and raping women and children.
But Duterte can’t just issue threats left and right against anybody in this peace-loving country.
For sure, the Roman Catholic Church as well as other religious groups that don’t advocate violence as a solution to improve peace and order in our country will oppose him from pillar to post.
It’s OK to issue a stern warning and send shivers down the spine of kidnappers, rapists, bank robbers, smugglers, drug traffickers, etcetera, but there is a limit to all of these braggadocios.
When dealing with civilian groups, apolitical sectors and non-combatants in our society, Duterte must learn to choose his words.
In others words, he must be circumspect and observe proper decorum even in the way he expresses himself and his ideas.
Duterte can’t just issue bizarre threats against anyone he suspects of being a threat to society.
If there are civilians in this country who really want him to be the next president because they believe in his leadership, Duterte should not be so cruel with his statements toward them.
The final decision still rests on him.


Nobody can force Duterte to run if he doesn’t feel like extending his political tentacles to the Malacanang.
By issuing threats that he would shoot those who spearhead the movement to compel him to run for the highest position of the country, Duterte sounds corny.
He should remember that he is not the only human being who carries a gun or any deadly weapon.
If Duterte continues to chew more words than what he can actually swallow, he is sending a mixed signal to the criminals.
There are criminals who are not intimidated by mere words. There are those who will really test Duterte’s mettle whatever position he carries if cornered and have nowhere to hide.
If he wishes to attract more admirers and supporters in the national level, Duterte must learn how to speak softly.
He can always carry a big stick without the need to telegraph his punches.
In that manner, Duterte can gain the respect of even those in the sectors of religion, academe, and business. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Spirited show of support for 2 jailed Iloilo cops

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.” Sam Walton

By Alex P. Vidal

WHAT the Philippine National Police (PNP) needs today is leadership by example.
The morale of the members of the controversy-laden organization is boosted when their superior officers show exemplary acts when the goings get tough.  
But unlike PNP Director General Alan Purisima who has been playing Houdini these past weeks, Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) director, Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas displayed a classic leadership when he personally visited the two policemen detained at the Iloilo Provincial Integrated Jail in Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo for murder.
Inspector Rey Castro and PO3 Aaron Gaton are not yet convicted criminals though.
They were ordered arrested by Judge Rene Hortillo of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 68 for the killing of poultry dealer Arlie Decolongon at the Dumangas public market in Dumangas, Iloilo on January 2, 2014.


Decolongon’s family pursued the case against Castro, then the Dumangas deputy police chief, and Gaton, then the Dumangas police investigator.
The two tackled Decolongon when they responded to a complaint that an armed civilian was acting unruly inside the public market at around 11 o’clock in the morning.
Efforts to pacify Decolongon reportedly proved futile when the latter shot the cops but missed. 
Senior Inspector Jonathan Pinuela, then the Dumangas police chief, confirmed that Castro shot Decolongon on the left thigh to neutralize him.
Decolongon reportedly tried to shoot them again but Castro fatally mowed him down with his .9mm service pistol.
The responding police officer claimed they killed Decolongon “in self defense” and the encounter happened “in the line of duty.”
Salinas stood by his men.
“Our men only defended themselves from someone who was armed with a gun and trying to shoot them,” declared Salinas, who was accompanied by lawyer Troy Warren Cayanan and Iloilo Police Provincial Office’s (IPPO) 1st Maneuver Platoon head, Inspector Marlon Girasol.
They handed to Castro and Gaton grocery items and some cash for their families.


Any embattled cop in the shoes of Castro and Gaton would be elated after Salinas assured the two cops that the IPPO, the Police Regional Office-6 and the Capitol led by Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. would support them all the way.
The act of voluntarily surrendering to Salinas after the warrant for their arrest came out two weeks ago was a sign that Castro and Gaton gamely accepted their fate and were prepared to undergo trial proceedings.
As professional police officers, they did not circumvent the law and submitted themselves peacefully.
Unlike some high-profile political personalities like former senator Panfilo Lacson and former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, who used their connections and resources to disappear like comets when news about their impending arrest came out.
Castro and Gaton believe that every episode that transpired after they killed Decolongon was only part of the democratic system.


With due respect to the Decolongon family, who is the aggrieved party here, Salinas should be credited for the moral support he gave the two inmates. 
His acts of personally visiting and giving them assurances of total support from the PNP organization must have brought instant optimism and buoyancy in the cops' detention cell.
In their darkest hours, the two police officers needed the kind of moral support shown by Salinas and the inmates’ classmates in the police organization.
From being law enforcers they now find themselves in the company of other lawless elements detained in the same facility.
PNP leaders can’t afford to be indifferent when their men are the ones on the defensive position, let alone accused of a criminal offense.
A true leader must be able to read the psyche of his embattled men and be able to inspire them despite their setback when they lest expect it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Money can’t buy happiness

“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.” Benjamin Franklin

By Alex P. Vidal

Despite their fortune, some of the wealthiest people on earth are also the loneliest if not the saddest.
According to a conventional wisdom, those who are really wealthy aren't any happier than those who are poor, and there is evidence supporting this.
The very wealthy have different concerns and stresses from the poor, but they're not on balance any happier.
The late Fernando “Nonoy Junji” Lopez Jr., son of the late former Vice President Fernando “Toto Nanding” Lopez Sr., admitted that the P500-million he inherited from his parents did not actually give him true happiness.
“How can I enjoy my money when I am already old (he was in his late 70s),” Nonoy Junji told us during a dinner in Villa, Arevalo district, Iloilo City in 1996.  
“And besides, not all of those who wink at you, wave at you, smile at you, hold the umbrella for you, and heap praises on you really mean what they are doing. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize anymore who is real and who is fake.”


A former Iloilo congressman recently shed tears while giving a speech in a private affair, lamenting that he has not touched the hand of his only son for a long time.
His wife, also a politician, has missed a lot of important events in their family and the purported source of her “disgust” can be best described by Segmund Freud in the theory of psychosexual development.
Despite his wealth, happiness continued to elude the former Iloilo congressman, who is now in his late 60s and has built a vast political and financial empire in their district unparalleled in Iloilo history.
Several days ago, Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, appeared aghast on sports television sitting beside boxing celebrity Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Despite his money, Buffett wasn’t yet satisfied with his achievement in life. He was actually rooting for the unbeaten champion in the boxer’s rematch versus Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas last September 14.
Those who didn’t recognize Buffett mistook him for Mayweather’s trainer because he was wearing an event I.D. He could not find real happiness and satisfaction as a Forbes Magazine celebrity that he needed to go down to the level of the coaching staff.


The wealthiest member of the Iloilo provincial board also reportedly isn’t happy with her political life and is contemplating on quitting politics.
With assets totaling P93,320,312 and liabilities of P2,186,480, according to her most recent  Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), Carmen Rita Monfort-Bautista’s happiness appears to be in the private sector as a businesswoman. Not in politics.
According to grapevine, she won’t seek another term in 2016 as she finds it hard to fly back and forth from Iloilo to Manila, where she lives, vice versa.
Many rich in our society today die unhappy. A rich and popular Ilonggo politician died while his children and second wife were feuding violently many years ago.


A macabre episode ensued inside the Iloilo St. Paul Hospital when the politician’s cadaver was forcibly taken away by his children and grandchildren from the morgue while the wife watched helplessly in horror, unable to do anything to stop her rampaging grandchildren.
The wife, who had been beside her politician husband in the hospital for several months before his death, never saw the body of his popular politician husband again.
The children buried the body without her.
When he was 83 years old, Plato, the teacher of Aristotle and student of Socrates, died in his sleep.
He spent the night before his death dancing, according to T.Z Lavine in his book “From Socrates to Sarte: Philosophic Quest.”
He had no material wealth except his wisdom. Plato was the father of logic and his best work was “The Republic.”
He died a poor but happy man.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why Drilon should accept Syjuco’s challenge to a debate

“A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.” Nelson Mandela

By Alex P. Vidal

If we were Senate President Franklin Drilon, we would accept the challenge of former Tesda director general Augusto “Buboy” Syjuco to a debate.
The debate with Syjuco would be a perfect venue for the Ilonggo senate president to prove his critics wrong about so many issues that have bedeviled him these past months.
This would give Drilon the chance to disabuse the minds of the Doubting Thomases that he and his selected minions benefited from the P479-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) project in Iloilo City.
The debate would be a perfect opportunity for Drilon to dispel or refute allegations that he misappropriated his multi-million pesos Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP) or pork barrel share.
Since it appears that nobody in the senate today has the guts to engage him in a debate over so many controversial issues, Drilon should accept Syjuco’s dare.
But immediately after Syjuco made the challenge last September 16, Drilon rejected it.
He called Syjuco a "discredited" politician.
The senate big man said he is willing to face Syjuco in a debate if the latter is already a senator.
But Syjuco is very much qualified to debate with the third highest official of the country.
Aside from being a former congressman for three terms, Syjuco was a member of the 1973 Constitutional Assembly where he was the constitution principal author and sponsor of accountability of public officers, Sandiganbayan, and Ombudsman; and the law on dual citizenship and absentee voting.


Syjuco’s challenge went this way: “Drilon, be a man. Kakasa ka ba, or kakaba-kaba?
“Mr. Drilon: ‘I am for truth, no matter who tells it. I am for justice, no matter who its for
or against.’ – Malcom X
“Some time ago, I challenged you to a public debate. You merely made excuses and crawled away.
“For the second (2nd) time now, I am again challenging you to a public debate, in Plaza Miranda. Let us together, you and I, bring back the revered tradition of taking public issues to our people, in Plaza Miranda.
1. Choose your date & time.
2. You and I will share the physical costs of the debate.
3. My subjects are your Iloilo Convention Center pet project, and other projects you have overpriced.
4. You can choose your own subject(s) to hurl at me.
“Take this now my 2nd challenge. Running away shows you to be guilty. Be a man. Clear your name and reputation.
“Show us all that you are right, and that I am wrong. Let our people decide.”
If Drilon has nothing to hide and if he believes that he can prove his critics wrong, why not accept the challenge?


Anomalous appointment.
This was how Ilonggo lawyer-philosopher Ernesto Justiniani Dayot viewed the recent appointment by President Benigno S. Aquino III of fellow Ilonggo lawyer Francis Jardeleza to the Supreme Court.
While he was also proud and happy that another Ilonggo jurist has made it to the higher court, Dayot, 81, said Jardeleza virtually became a tuta (puppy) of the president because of his being a former solicitor general.
“A solicitor general works under the president,” Dayot pointed out. “There would have been no controversy if Jardeleza came all the way from the lower courts or in other agencies not directly under the president. It’s pure and simple delicadeza.”


Dayot said Mr. Aquino wanted to send a curt message to Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno who did not support him in the DAP or pork barrel tumult.
As for Sereno, who was accused by Associate Justice Arturo Brion of manipulating the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to make sure that Jardeleza would not make it to the shortlist of the nominees, she should not only resign as suggested by many legal luminaries in the country, he said.
“She should be impeached,” stressed Dayot of Dingle, Iloilo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Garin, Valencia ‘no’ votes reek of 2016

“Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.” Alexander Hamilton

By Alex P. Vidal

We don’t kick a person who is already down and politics is addition.
These could be the two wisdom or schools of thoughts behind the nay votes registered by Iloilo first district board members Ninfa Garin and Dennis Valencia during the voting September 15 whether to uphold the decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) committee of the whole to suspend Maasin Mayor Mariano Malones.
The committee found Malones “guilty of simple misconduct” and slapped him with a three-month suspension last September 8.
This was in connection with the complaint filed by dismissed Maasin municipal assistant human resources officer, Elsa Maternal.
When the committee report was tackled for approval, only Garin and Valencia voted not to uphold it.
Those who voted to uphold the committee findings suspending Malones were board members Demetrio Sonza, June Mondejar, Carmen Rita Monfort-Bautista, Emmanuel Gallar, Jesus Salcedo, Jeneda Salcedo-Orendain, Paulino Pari-an and Niel Tupas III.


Those who inhibited from the voting were board members Licurgo Tirador and Shalene Palmares-Hidalgo.
We have a message for Tirador and Palmares-Hidalgo: The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who refuse to make a stand in times of great moral or political conflict.
While we respect their stand, we find it illogical for Tirador and Palmares-Hidalgo to remain neutral since the provincial board had already approved the committee findings and all that was needed was for them to uphold or reject it.
Neutrality has no place in the committee findings voting.
Meanwhile, other reason for Garin’s and Valencia’s no votes could be political.
Garin’s husband, Oscar Sr., is rumored to be eyeing the gubernatorial post in 2016.
They can’t afford to relinquish the vote-rich Maasin as well as the other towns in the third district where Malones is popular.
When they cast their votes last September 15, Garin and Valencia probably were looking beyond Malones’ suspension.
Malones now owes them a “debt of gratitude” and any payback, if ever the votes had political strings attached, will be settled in the 2016 elections.
Since Malones’ suspension is only for three months, he will still be there when Oscar Garin Sr., or any member of the Garin dynasty, will woe the voters of the third district in 2016.


Also, there are fears that Malones’ feud with Board Member Manny Gallar might escalate.
Malones may have lost the provincial board war but the battle with Gallar isn’t yet over.
Before the provincial board rendered a verdict last September 9, Malones and Gallar were locked in a heated verbal tussle with the mayor accusing the board member of maintaining “ghost employees.”
Malones could not forgive his former political ally for supposedly influencing his fellow board members to decide against the mayor’s favor, an accusation vehemently denied by Gallar.
The board members convened as a committee of the whole chaired by Vice Governor Raul Tupas to declare Malones “guilty of simple misconduct”.
The bigger battle is supposed to be Malones’ allegations of “ghost employees” against Gallar.
The accusation did not come from an outsider. It came from someone who knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak.
Malones is also a former board member and is familiar with the culture of hiring casual workers in the provincial board.


Gallar has never categorically disputed Malones’ charges, but fired back at Malones by claiming that the mayor also had his own “ghost employees” in Maasin.
It appears that nobody from the provincial capitol is interested to tackle Malones’ allegations against Gallar.
Malones did not just whisper to any Tom, Dick and Harry his attacks. He announced them over radio RMN-Iloilo.
Did Malones accidentally unload a bombshell against the entire provincial board?
Tupas and the other board members should conduct a motu propio investigation on the “ghost employees” brouhaha so that the people will not think that they, too, are maintaining their own “ghost employees” and are deliberately playing deaf and blind on Malones’ muckraking.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Will cops behave if they get a P50,000/monthly pay?

“Let me be clear - no one is above the law. Not a politician, not a priest, not a criminal, not a police officer. We are all accountable for our actions.” Antonio Villaraigosa

By Alex P. Vidal

Another reason why members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are demoralized aside from their low salary is because of the way they are treated by our justice system after doing their job.
Take the case of Inspector Rey Castro and PO3 Aaron Gaton.
They were ordered arrested by Judge Rene Hortillo of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 68 for the killing of poultry dealer Pinky Decolongon at the Dumangas public market in Dumagas, Iloilo early this year.
Castro was the town deputy police chief while Gaton was investigator when the incident happened on January 2, 2014.
The two responded to a complaint that a man was making trouble inside the public market at around 11 o’clock in the morning.
When they pacified the suspect identified as Decolongon, the latter fired at the cops but missed, according to Senior Inspector Jonathan Pinuela, former Dumangas police chief.
Castro shot Decolongon on the left thigh to neutralize him, Pinuela added.


When the suspect tried to shoot them anew, Castro reportedly finished him off with his .9mm service pistol.
The cops insisted they killed Decolongon “in self defense” and the encounter happened “in the line of duty.”
It was Decolongon’s family that pursued the case against Castro and Gaton, it was learned.
The family insisted the cops murdered the wounded and defenseless Decolongon.
When the arrest warrant came out the other week, they voluntarily surrendered one after another to Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas, Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) director.
The two cops are now detained at the Iloilo Provincial Integrated Jail in Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo.
This scenario where the cops land in jail for a job-related offense is sending mixed signals to other cops.
When confronted with the same situation like the one in the Dumangas public market in the future, other cops will no longer react according to how they were trained to react as law enforcers in the face of imminent danger.
Because of what happened to Castro and Gaton, the other cops will now face a dilemma of damned if you do and damned if you don’t when in the same situation with Castro and Gaton.


Will a low-ranking policeman who gets a P50,000 monthly salary stay away from temptations of committing crimes like “hulidap” and "kotong"?
Will a police chief superintendent who brings home a monthly salary of P200,000 to P500,000 reject a monthly payola from illegal gambling and other organized syndicates?
This is the question that authorities should study and deal with seriously if the proposal of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will push through or taken into consideration.
Duterte said he would implement the eye-catching salary increase once he becomes president of the country.
The mayor believes that the reason why some cops are engaged in criminal activities like the members of the La Loma PNP in Quezon City, is because they get only P18,000 a month.


He described it as “kulang na kulang talaga yan.”
One way to discourage them from doing monkey business while in police service is to increase their salaries and other privileges, according to the tough mayor known for executing criminals in his city.
Duterte’s proposal must have sent shivers down the spine of other rogue cops beholden to crime syndicates.
Because they are at the beck and call of crime syndicates, these ruffians in uniform can’t just easily severe their ties with the underworld or face the consequences—even if they receive the “decent” monthly pay from the government as suggested by Duterte.
But Duterte must run and win first before this proposal will be realized. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Marcos who doesn’t think

“Boxing is not about your feelings. It's about performance.” Manny Pacquiao

By Alex P. Vidal

When we hear the name Marcos, two things immediately come to our mind: Martial Law and brilliancy.
The late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos was known both as a brilliant orator and as a leader of the most hated regime that lasted for 20 years.
But he was a thinking president; perhaps, one of the most intelligent presidents to ever serve the country.
That was the secret of his staying power.
There was another Marcos whose name reverberated all over the sporting world last September 14.
This Marcos, 31, is otherwise known as “Rene Maidana” of Margarita, Santa Fe, Argentina. He is known in the boxing world as Marcos “El Chino” Maidana.
He is the Marcos who does not think.
Awarded with a once-in-a-lifetime rematch against boxing’s most charismatic personality, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs) blew away a second chance to become the first man to beat the 37-year-old black tornado, who cruised to a 12-round unanimous decision--John McKaie, 116-111; Dave Moretti, 116-111; Guido Cavalleri, 115-112--in their championship tiff at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.


Instead of using his brains, Marcos Maidana used his teeth in desperation in the 8th canto to bite Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs).
It’s good the referee did not disqualify him for doing a Mike Tyson on Mayweather.
Early in the bout where they disputed the three baubles: WBC welterweight, WBC light middleweight, WBA super world welterweight, the five feet and eight inches Mayweather made sure Maidana could not anymore trap him on the ropes like in their first bout on May 3, 2014 on the same arena.
So accommodating was Mayweather in their first duel that he allowed Maidana to come near him they almost had a kissing scene from first to the 12th stanza.    
Mayweather’s laxity in the first battle nearly cost him his unblemished record en route to escaping with a majority decision win--Dave Moretti, 116-112; Burt A. Clements, 117-111; Michael Pernick 114-114.
Although Mayweather spent the night eluding Maidana’s heavy-loaded uppercuts and maximizing his signature lateral movements, the tattooed Argentine brawler failed to introduce a new strategy that would convince his fans he deserved a third match should the fight ended in another hairline win for the loud-mouthed American champion.


Like in their first meeting, Maidana could not send home a combination and missed several shots in the midsection.
It was also a failure for Maidana’s headhunting binge. 
Maidana wanted to brawl; Mayweather wanted to dance and uncork crisp punches side by side, fully aware that he needed to widen his lead in the scorecards if no knockout would come.
They had a mismatch even in the tune and the calisthenics.
Both their work rates were not as intense as in their first fracas in May this year where Maidana became the first fighter to inflict a wound on Mayweather’s right eyebrow with a legitimate punch.
The majority decision win in their first showdown also boosted loser Maidana’s stock and put a big question mark on Mayweather's capacity to absorb a punishment from never-say-die fighters like Oxnard-trained Maidana.
The unanimous decision win last September 14 stretched Mayweather’s victory without a knockout to five.


His last KO win came three years ago when he pulverized in four Victor Ortiz for the WBC 147-lb diadem on the same ring.
Mayweather’s not-so-impressive triumph in the Maidana rematch had the tell-tale signs of tiredness and weariness.
When he faces Manny Pacquiao (56-5, 38 KOs) in 2015 according to the grapevine, Mayweather will be up against the faster version of Marcos Maidana. He can still run yes, but he won’t be able to hide.
Pacquiao, 35, must first tackle tall Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) for the 12-round WBO welterweight championship in Macao on November 22, 2014.
A loss to Algieri will further dampen the dream match against Mayweather.
But since the Filipino congressman-cum-boxer and professional basketball coach is expected to walk over the inexperienced Algieri, there’s no stopping now for boxing’s two toughest senior citizens to finally meet in 2015 for boxing’s biggest and most expensive promotion in history.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Spare the girls, Mrs. Monfort-Bautista!

“Who would have known that this seed of innovation would grow, and carry to so many millions of kids who have participated since its creation? Little League, a simple idea has grown, multiplied and become an international institution.” Dave Winfield

By Alex P. Vidal

It’s been three weeks since our softball players from Zarraga, Iloilo came home from the 2014 Little League Softball (baseball) World Series in the United States, but the Iloilo provincial board, or any government agency for that matter, has not yet recognized their efforts and those of their coaches and mentors.
Although they failed to win the championships in Portland, Oregon last August 7-13 and in Kirkland, Washington last August 10-16, the girls, mostly below 18, ably represented the Asia Pacific Region despite coming for the twin tournaments late.
Because they forfeited their first matches, the softbelles finished by the wayside (not 10th or last as we wrote earlier).
Delegation chief, Dr. Myrna Castillo, DepEd-Iloilo division superintendent, blamed the delay of their arrival in the United States to the late release of their visas.
Battling a jetlag, the girls immediately buckled down to work as soon as they arrived and wrapped up their remaining matches, it was learned.
Lady luck wasn’t on their side as they lost one game after another en route to a dismal campaign.


Even if they failed to bring home any trophy or medal, the Ilonggo girls made us all proud as representatives of not only the Philippines but the entire Asia Pacific in the Little League World Series, which incidentally is on its 75th year.
If they were Cubans, Chinese or Guamanians, the girls would have been given the red carpet welcome despite their dismal performances.
Even socialist and communist regimes like Fidel Castro’s Cuba celebrate the defeats of their athletes. 
No blaming game. No finger-pointing.
In the World Series, what counts most is the teams’ presence in the prestigious gathering of softball players—seniors and juniors—from Asia-Pacific, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Europe-Africa, Japan, Latin America, and Mexico.  
The teams’ participation is more of a commitment to promote and establish international goodwill, peace and camaraderie rather than counting of trophies and medals.  
The Zarraga girls and their coaches left and arrived in the Philippines in cognito
No frills and fusillades of publicity.
But instead of being cited for their gallantry, they or their coaches and other delegation members will be summoned for investigation in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) committee on youth and sports development.


Their trip, results of their matches and the composition of the official delegation are being tagged as a “sports fiasco.”
Board Member Carmen Rita Monfort-Bautista, the committee chair, has requested the committee on education to join the investigation.
We don’t know what is there to be investigated for, in the first place, since there was no taxpayers money involved in the girls’ trip, according to Dr. Castillo, who spearheaded the last-ditch efforts to solicit from private sources to raise funds.
DepEd officials and other non-playing team members spent their own money, added Dr. Castillo, saying they could not afford to skip the tournament or face suspension from the organizers next year.
Instead of passing a resolution to congratulate the girls and their coaches in order to lift their spirits, this is what Monfort-Bautista and her peers will give to our tired and weary World Series heroes.
Adding insult to the girls’ and the coaching staff’s injury.


If the committee investigation will push through, it will send a wrong signal to our young baseball girls and other athletes.
They will think that their local officials have no love lost for them; they will feel abandoned and betrayed.
“Is this the price that we have to pay only because we failed to win the championship?” they might ask themselves.
Still basking in the glory and prestige of having played in a major international sports arena, the girls will end up demoralized if not emotionally and mentally terrorized.
Is this how we reward our returning athletes? Only in Iloilo. Only in the Philippines.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Iloilo World Series coaches don’t deserve crucifixion

“There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.” Indira Gandhi

By Alex P. Vidal

INSTEAD of crucifying the coaches and officials of the girls from Zarraga, Iloilo who competed in the recent 2014 Little League Softball World Series in the United States, let’s congratulate them all for giving their best against the world’s strongest softbelles.
We don’t agree that just because the two teams we sent to Portland, Oregon last August 7-13 and Kirkland, Washington last August 10-16 wound up 10th place or dead last after losing all their games, the players and their coaches must face the firing squad back home.
There could be some factors why the high school and elementary girls yielded all their matches in the twin events.
Poor training and lack of preparations for the bigger competitions in the United States must be among these reasons.
Coming from a Third World country, the same handicap had saddled other poorly-trained and ill-equipped RP teams competing in international games in the past.


Not to mention the lack of financial support from sports institutions in the country like the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) or even the Department of Education (DepEd).
The argument that Little League World Series is not sanctioned by the DepEd because it is a private undertaking and not related to DepEd sports programs, thus the government can’t provide enough financial support, is hogwash.
Softball is a team event in the Palarong Pambansa. 
It is a medal event in both the SEA Games and the Asian Games.
World Olympic Games organizers award medals in softball.
In other words, it is not a demonstration event like bowling, billiards and chess.
Both the PSC and DepEd—and even Malacanang (with all its vast social funds) are morally obliged to provide financial support to the Little League World Series teams as well as other Filipino athletes here and abroad. No ifs. No buts.
The players that competed in the Little League World Series were all girls or below 21. They are all potential medalists in the SEAG and the ASIAD.
It is the duty and obligation of government to support their training and exposure in competitions abroad.


It is the doctrine of former President FVR’s “Sports For All” slogan. It should be sustained until today.
The issue isn’t new. It isn’t even earth-shaking, to say the least.
We’ve seen our other teams not only in softball but also in other major sports events falter in international competitions since time immemorial.
For sure our girls did their best, but their best clearly was not enough.
It’s their participation that matters most.
Their presence enabled them and their mentors to share and extend goodwill and camaraderie with other nationalities.
In competitions, there are winners and losers.
We can’t win them all. They lost fair and square.  
Not because some members of the delegation “were not actually coaches” but junketers.
In the first place, members of the delegation led by DepEd division superintendent, Dr. Myrna Castillo, could not have obtained travel visas and left the country if they were spurious or hangers-on.
Even if all the non-coaching staff in the delegation were toadies and sycophants, we can still win the world crown if our girls were well-equipped, well-trained and not malnourished.


Diet and exposure to big tournaments prior to the Little League World Series are also some of the main factors to consider.
Not because the son and daughter or office mates of a DepEd bigwig went with the two teams. The issue is water under the bridge.
Before a team can leave for an international event in the United States or any destination outside the Philippines, there are screening processes and accreditation.
If members of the RP Teams were not qualified or had no accreditation, they would not have made it to the World Series, a prestigious event, to accompany the 40 players mostly from Zarraga, Iloilo.
We should stop the culture of blame each time our teams or entries in any competition abroad fail to bring home the bacon or medal.
Our athletes competing abroad are our ambassadors of goodwill and peace.
Win or lose, they deserve to be treated as heroes because they represented our culture, our race, our character, and our dignity as Filipinos.
Sports competitions are not necessarily about winning; it’s also about how we made an impact in terms of display of character, agility, sportsmanship and belongingness.
It’s how we made our presence felt before an international arena.
If we have issues against any member of the delegation, we must address it in the proper forum; let say the committee of the World Series before the tournament.
Not after our battle-scarred heroes and their mentors have returned.