Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Brutal Than Boxing
The memory of Greg Page flashed in my brain when I saw Ricky Hatton being attended by the ring physician right after that killer right straight courtesy of Manny Pacquiao. I was watching the live coverage of last Sunday’s boxing event dubbed as “Battle of East and West” at our Chancery’s Refectory, together with some seminarians, members of the Save OMECO Movement and former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Edicio Dela Torre.
Greg Page is the former World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion who passed away just days before the Pacquiao-Hatton Showdown. Page, 50, was KOed by Dale Crowe in Erlanger, Kentucky., in 2001 and left him in a coma for almost a week. And during post-fight surgery, he suffered a stroke and paralyzing him on his left side. Page won a $1.2 million settlement from Kentucky state boxing authorities whom he said failed to provide an ambulance or medical personnel at the ring and left him with permanent brain injuries.
Here in the Philippines,- Manny Pacquiao’s home country, a congressman has filed a bill banning boxing tournaments in the land. He is Eduardo Nonato “Edno” Joson from the province of Nueva Ecija. Joson justified his bill and in his explanatory note he stated: “Banning boxing contests and/or exhibitions as a form of public entertainment can put an end to needless deaths, injuries and most of all, put a death to the culture of violence prevailing in our society." He filed the bill March 11 last year.
The lawmaker even stated further that, "The money and fame a few champion boxers get sends a wrong message to young people. Many young boys are thus lured to boxing because of the thought that entering the ring is a way out of poverty." Joson's bill (or House Bill 3743) also would penalize boxing promoters, event organizers, referees and judges with the same penalty of prision correccional or prision mayor if the boxing match results in a death. According to Joson, boxing is a dangerous sport whose basic tenet is to inflict injury on the opponent. Generally speaking, a knock out tends to produce a temporary loss of brain activity, consciousness and mobility.
It was Englishman Jack Broughton in 1743 devised the rule in which a fallen fighter could pick himself up after 30 seconds. Then in 1867, to avoid outright defeat, a boxer should be able to beat the count of 10. To a TV viewer, a knock out is the most spectacular moment in a boxing match.
But millions of Filipinos do not buy Joson’s proposal. In response, Secretary Jesli Lapus of Department of Education said that he is not amenable to scrapping of boxing tournaments saying it is one of the aged-old sports where the Philippines is being recognized globally. Lapus said it is through boxing even at a young age do the Philippines produce the likes of Manny Pacquiao also known as the Pacman. In case you do not know, Pacquiao’s first professional fight was in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro some years back.
I do not know what happened to Joson’s HB 3743. But one thing I am sure: There are government officials who are into promotion of boxing with the youth. Most of them even watch Pacquiao’s fight abroad. Politicians who use his popularity for their own political ends and allured the Pacman to join them in their mad world. Stick to boxing Pacman and move away from politics be it in General Santos or in Saranggani. Do not throw your self in a hornet’s nest. Remember your defeat to Darlene Custodio last May 14, 2007. And remember as well the sad fate of the boxers who were put up into mismatches to pad up records of other boxers specially in a foreign land. And how are they being used.
Last March 31, 2007, a Filipino boxer named Angelito Sisnorio, Jr., a native of Koronadal City, died after getting head injuries and brain damage in a bout in Thailand against a veteran boxer named Chatchai Sasakul. Just like what Greg Page have suffered. May their souls rest in peace including other boxers who suffered on top of the ring. But here in my province, or the country as a whole, the way how politics is practiced is more brutal than boxing!
But while the worldwide debate is on whether to ban boxing or not, let the world enjoy the intensity of the Pacman fever (or was it influenza?)…