IN THE movie “Escape from LA,” the hero Kurt Russel, after finding himself surrounded, dared the four bad guys to a shootout, saying, “I’ll give you assholes a chance. What do you say we play a little, Bangkok rules?” He then picks up a can and says, “Nobody draws until this falls.” He throws it, shoots the bad guys dead and when the can falls, he says, “draw.”
I don’t know how Thailand received that late ‘90s movies, to be implied that Bangkok rules means cheating, but I always remember that scene every time I hear a Pinoy boxer say when they fight in Thailand, “I have to knock him out, so I can win.”
Sure there are hometown decisions but there are Thailand hometown decisions. Any visiting Pinoy fighter knows that to beat a hometown bet, you have to be the aggresor and that sometimes, a knockdown isn’t enough. But in the case of Thailand, or in an increasing manner, Africa, a knockout seems to be the only way to win a fight. They all know that. They all tell us that before a fight in Thailand.
They’ve all accepted that as a fact. And yes, sportswriters, too, have accepted that as a fact.
So it’s good that the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) won’t accept that as a fact. In a laudable move, GAB has asked the World Boxing Council Asian Boxing Council to review the fight between Sirdech Deeok (18-6-1) and Romshane Sarguilla (7-4-2), which saw the Thai winning 58-56, 58-56 and 57-56. GAB reviewed the fight and said, “The review panel came to a common observation that in the fifth round, there was a legitimate knockdown coming from a clean and quick uppercut, which may have been overlooked by the referee.”
That is just diplomatic speak for “it was a clear knockdown your blind referee refused to count to make sure the hometown boy wins.”
But of course, GAB won’t do that. But what they did point out is the accepted practice that in order to win in Thailand, Pinoys have to knock their foes out. Even if battered and bruised, if their Thai foes are still standing, the Pinoys lose.
“In 2019, all 13 Filipino boxers who were authorized to fight in Thailand lost to Thai oppoents, including Ar-Ar Andales, whose recent fight was also deemed controversial,” GAB said in its letter.
Ar-Ar Andales, only 19, lost his World Boxing Association (WBA) minimumweight title fight against Knockout CP Freshmart (Yes, that his professional name) when the fight went to the scorecard after the Thai gut cut in the eighth round. The cut was ruled to have been caused by an accidental headbutt.
That fight, GAB pointed out, has been questioned in the WBA and was just the latest in a long list of fights involving Pinoys getting on the wrong end of a hometown decision.
So GAB is thinking of barring Pinoy fighters from fighting in Thailand and rightfully so.
“Considering the calls from the Filipino boxing community and the historic trend that Filipino boxers lose if they don’t knock down the opponent, the GAB is inclind to suspend authorizing Filipino boxers to fight in Thailand,” GAB said.
Which is diplomatic speak again for,”If you don’t change your Bangkok rules, we won’t send fighters again.”