Monday, January 21, 2019

Limpag: The curse of ALA fighters

IT’S something that has become rather common in the past few years, starting with Rey Bautista. An ALA fighter loses abroad and armchair experts are quick to blame the trainers and managers for the loss, saying all their fighters lack stamina, proper training, proper fights or discipline.

It was the same for Milan Melindo, minutes after news of his loss in Japan was posted. They all came out of the online trenches, blaming, among others, Melindo’s lack of quality opponents.

His training and the like were criticized too but I’d let ALA, should management want to, address that. I’d like to answer the charge against the lack of quality foes, for this is something most boxers, not just ALA’s, regularly face.

Boxers aren’t in world title bouts in every fight and there are “activity fights.” Called as such because they are arranged just to keep a fighter busy (and make him earn money). It’s the promoter’s job to sell fights so activity fights aren’t packaged as such and no sane promoter would say, “Nah, we just looked for a readily beatable guy because our fighter needs to be busy.” It’s the same for the critics. I know most have jobs and I’m sure they aren’t in life and death situations every minute of their working life. Before punching out, some have “activity time,” posting on social media about how to do the jobs of other people in fields they aren’t experts of.

I tell you, it’s not only ALA who does activity fights. There are regional title fights, too, where the quality of the opponents depends on whoever the outfit contacted. ALA, like other outfits, had some missteps in this, like the time someone promised to take Albert Pagara to boxing school but kept on running. Similar to when the Indonesians promised to give Jhack Tepora and Christian Araneta a real fight but went down at the first opportunity.

As for Milan, here’s the thing. He hasn’t been in an activity fight in over a year and it’s a big disrespect to say he hasn’t faced any quality foes going to the unification bout with Ryoichi Taguchi. In fact, one writer had Milan as his candidate for Fighter of the Year for the quality of his foes before the Japan fight.

He stopped Japanese legend Akira Yaegashi in one round, survived Hekkie Budler in 12 and took on the reigning WBA champion in his own turf in a unification bout.

Anybody who says those aren’t quality foes deserves a right hook from an angry Boom-Boom.
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