De los Santos: The sweet science (5th column)-A A +A
The 11th Hour
Saturday, March 19, 2011
NONITO Donaire’s clinical demolition of Montiel now ranks him among the world’s most colorful boxers, and it won’t be long before he eclipses Pacquiao’s attraction at the title. Even if the Mexican fighter, whose own ring record is also the envy of the boxing world, is the reigning champion, Donaire topped Montiel’s purse by one hundred thousand dollars, indicating clearly that even if he were only a challenger, Donaire is what the boxing crowd want to watch. And he did not disappoint them. Like a bolt of lightning, Donaire’s right fist exploded on Montiels’ temple, crumpling the champion to the canvass with legs twitching.
The country, euphoric over Donaire’s spectacular demolition of the Mexican ex-champion, is now comparing him to Pacquiao. For indeed, there is much the two fighters have in common. Both have lightning speed and enormous power in their fists. Both are also possessed of raw courage, a priceless asset a boxer needs to overcome the initial shock of being hit by the opponent. In fact, in the case of our two champions, being strongly hit even fires their determination to overcome. It seems like receiving a blow is the adrenalin that fires them up, as evidenced by the frenzy with which they launch their counter attacks.
The comparison, however, ends there. Donaire is clearly the more skillful boxer. Pacquiao is a brawler, even though Freddie Roach has recycled him such that there is now method in his way of fighting, an adeptness in the use of both of his fists zooming from all directions, that confound the adversary. Although oftentimes in his fights, we see the young Pacquiao slugging it out, reminiscent of the street fighter he must have been in the early years.
There is excellent method in Donaire’s style, clearly showing that he is an intelligent boxer and aside from his fists, he uses his head too.
I saw on TV his fights with Sidorenko and the much touted Barrera (a relative I suppose of the great boxing legend, Marco Barrera) and came to the conclusion that while both Barrera and Sidorenko can match him in brawn and courage they do not have what Donaire seems to have in abundance, a superb intelligence that surveys the field of battle, studies the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, and then moves in for the final act that would send the enemy flat on the canvass.
What astounds is that he identifies the enemy’s weakness in just a few minutes of exchanges, as when he learned where Montiels’ head leans every time he throws a punch. He simply faked a right. Montiels’ did throw ahead a punch with his right but Donaire knew that Montiels’ right does not pack a deadly wallop so he just allowed Montiels’ punch to land and almost simultaneously threw his own left bomb on Montiel’s temple, sending the latter to the canvass with legs involuntarily twitching. So drunk was Montiel with Donaire’s punch that, the warrior that he is, he tried vainly to rise only to crumple again. He did finally beat the slow count by a second. With Montiel dazed and practically defenseless, Donaire moved in with another punch that would have sent Montiel to the canvass again had not the referee mercifully moved in to avoid what could have been a carnage.
Boxing did us proud. Decades ago, we had the first Flash, Gabriel Elorde. Decades before that, we had Pancho Villa. In between them were pugilists whose names escape me at the moment. Today, we have Pacquiao and Donaire and Miligen, if he finds a first class trainer like Freddie Roach, and pack more wallop in his fists. In other sports and entertainment fields, we have billiards’ Bata Reyes, singer Charice Pempengco and that woman boxer, Ana Julaton.
What I find unfortunate is that the whole stage of Sports and Entertainment had the whole world chanting for us. But it also ridicules us for the corrupt and mediocre leaders we have. There is much to be proud in our country but there is also much to be embarrassed about. It is as if Alibaba and his forty thieves have taken up residence in our country, and their raids on the public coffers do not seem to end.
Other countries have their own thieves, of course. But they cleanse their countries of the filth they caused by the maximum act of expiation –suicide. Here, our leaders are not only shamelessly corrupt, they are cowards too. Except Angelo Reyes. At least, he did show that there is honor, even among thieves.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 19, 2011.