Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pacquiao vs. Mayweather: Battle of Minds

If Floyd Mayweather Jr. thinks it’s stupid for Manny Pacquiao to ignore a sure $25 million in exchange for a “Mayweather Commission”-regulated drug test, then it is equally foolish for him to ignore $25 million, now probably $40 million, in guaranteed prize money that is there for the taking whoever wins the fight.

Well, this possibility that almost became a reality not too long ago, will have to take the backseat because Pacquiao fought another fighter in Joshua Clottey and won last March 14, while Mayweather challenges WBA welterweight champion Shane Mosley on May 2.

While everyone in the boxing world applauded the victory of the world’s greatest boxer “pound for pound,” Mayweather dismissed the win as one that exposed Pacquiao’s defensive flaws. “You can have all the offense ability in the world, but with no defense, you’re not going to last long against a good counter puncher such as me," the cocky former “pound-for-pound” king crowed, tik-tila-ok!

Expect the crowing to grow louder if he beats Mosley, the worthy third man in the “hate” triangle started by Mayweather. As far as promoters and fight fans are concerned, the best scenario is for Mayweather to defeat Mosley. This will pave the way to the staging of the world’s biggest and richest boxing match ever.

In such a scenario, Mayweather may have the edge over Pacquiao in terms of bargaining power. Mosley has certainly better credentials than Clottey, whose flawed idea of honor and boxing is to cover his body and head with his arms to avoid being knocked out.

Mayweather will certainly be using the same defensive tactics, like he always did, against Mosley and, maybe, against Pacquiao. If and when he does it against Mosley, then Mayweather exposes his own offensive flaws under the watchful eyes of Pacquiao and his master trainer Freddie Roach.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Taekwondo scores two more; Molina shines again

The Philippines picked up three more gold medals on the 2nd day of the 25th Southeast Asian Games in Laos to remain within sight of its target to improve its worst-ever sixth place finish two years ago.

Taekwondo jins Marie Antoinette Rivero and Alex Briones and swimmer Miguel Molina scored for the Philippines by winning the gold in their respective events. Two-time Olympian Rivero outpointed Nguyen Thi Dong of Vietnam, 2-1, in the women’s welterweight finals while Briones demolished the taller Sorn Elit of Cambodia, 3-0, in men’s heavyweight.

Molina, the best male athlete of the 2007 Games, picked up the first of his four-gold medal target and stalled Singapore’s dominant performance in swimming. Singapore won five golds, including one against Ryan Arabejo in the 200-m backstroke where the Filipino was the defending titlist.
The long-haired Fil-Am swimmer from University of California Berkeley clocked four minutes 27 seconds in the 400-meter individual medley to edge Thai Nuttapong Ketin by .57 seconds.

Singapore, a tiny city state with a population of five million, is amazingly at the top of the 11-nation pack with 11 gold medals, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The Filipinos suffered a major blow in billiards, with World Cup champions Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante losing to the Thai tandem of Surathep Phoochalam and Nitiwat Kanjanasri in the 9-ball doubles.

Asked what happened, Reyes scratched his head and said “I don’t know.”

Boardroom losses

The Philippines lost at least three potential golds in cycling even before members of the Philippine team could embark on their quests.

This is because the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) sent to Laos a team assembled by the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (PhilCycling), a cycling body headed by businessman Mikee Romero that is not accredited by the International Cycling Federation (UCI). The group recognized by the UCI is the Philippine Cycling Association (PCA) headed by Tagaytay City mayor Bembol Tolentino.

Romero bankrolled the participation of 13 Filipino cyclists in Laos and was set to race last Thursday when the UCI announced the ban. Defending road race individual champion Marites Bitbit, the only cyclist in the team with UCI accreditation, was pulled out of the race reportedly on advice of POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco.

Aside from Bitbit’s gold in the road race, the Philippine cycling team won two more gold medals in the SEA Games held in Bangkok, Thailand, two years ago.
This situation is no longer funny because it keeps happening and has become a common fare in almost all sports in the country – basketball, chess, billiards, equestrian, swimming, badminton, etc.

It is hard to imagine how much losses we have suffered in terms of opportunity because of petty squabbling and power play among Philippine sports officials. I imagine they go beyond the SEA Games and the Asian Games.

If only to underline the absurdity of it all, a high-ranking Tsinoy sports official suggests that ASEAN countries should have Pat McQuaid, UCI president, declared persona non grata for turning down his request for temporary accreditation for the 12 cyclists. Well, that sadly makes a whole lot of statement for our sports officials.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's a gold

Three Filipina jins, endowed with beauty and grace, struck the first gold in the 25th Southeast Asian Games in Laos.

The Philippine trio of Rani Ann Ortega, Camille Alarilla and Janice Lagman edged out their rivals from Thailand, 16.97-16.94, to win the gold in taekwondo’s poomsae competitions barely three hours before the formal opening of the Games in this former kingdom historically known as Lan Xang or “land of a thousand elephants.”

The same team won gold in the tough World Pomsae Championships in Cairo, Egypt last week.

RP water polo team snares silver

The RP water polo team continues to be a bridesmaid to Singapore as it settled for the bronze in the finals of the water polo event in the first-ever gold medal awarded in the Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane, Laos.

The Philippines drubbed Thailand, 6-4, in the first day of the tournament, but succumbed to Singapore, 1-8, in the four-team single round robin tournament. Singapore swept the tournament by likewise crushing Indonesia, 14-5, and Thailand, 8-5, while the Philippines settled for the silver after emerging victorious over Indonesia, 13-8, at the end of the tournament.

Bleak forecast

The bleak forecast of 15 golds comes from unofficial sources. In an apparent move to settle conflicting reports, Philippine Olympic Committee chairman Harry Angping played it safe by saying that he would be happy with 32.

In two weeks, the country will know for sure. But what it does know now is that Team Philippines is in hands of leaders with no real grasp of the state of local sports and it would take more than prayers to pull off a repeat of the 2005 feat when the Filipinos won the coveted title of overall champions and the admiration of its Southeast Asian neighbors. .

10 golds from track and field?

Outspoken track and field president and Philippine Olympic Committee official Go Teng Kok believes his team is capable of bringing home at least 10 golds. Go pins his hopes on marathon runners Christabel Martes, Eduardo Buenavista, steeplechaser Rene Herrera, hammer thrower Arniel Ferrera, and long jumpers Marestella Torres and Henry Dagmil.

“Our scouting reports show that 20K walk bet Michael Embuedo, 10,000 and 5000 meter runner Julius Sermona and women’s javelin thrower Rosie Villarito are the best in the region,” said Go.