Thursday, November 19, 2015

Can Francisco do a Buster?

An upset, especially if it’s via KO, is one of the great splendour of the sweet science. There is nothing as theatrical, exiting and as dramatic as an upset in boxing or in any other sport. When the San Jose-born, Sablayan-raised boxer Drian “Gintong Kamao” Francisco (28-3-1) slug it out against Guillermo “El Chacal “ Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KO’s) this Sunday (Saturday in the US), November 22, 2015, in the undercard for the Miguel Cotto-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez mega fight in Las Vegas. Francisco, despite of short notice, is surely going toe-to-toe with the heavy favourite and very impressive Cuban defector-pugilist. He had been training hard for a fight against compatriot Danilo Pena here in the Philippines when he was officially invited to the Rigondeaux match-up, so he immediately packed his things and flew to the US. Francisco is unfazed and confident of winning. This is indeed, our man’s dream fight. In 2012, Francisco had a chance to face Rigondeaux but something went wrong along the way. The notice came shortly after Drian's birthday last November 10.

Francisco, former WBA interim junior bantamweight champion, in an interview with Ring TV said, “All boxers, their greatest goal is to have a fight for a world championship. So I'm not going to let this pass me by. I'm going to do everything I can to win. I have been thinking about it for a long time on how I'm going to beat him.”  Despite Drian’s usual pre-fight calmness and oozing confidence atop the ring, it would take a miracle, if not divine intervention, to win against the two-time Olympian Rigondeaux who defeated Nonito Donaire, Jr. in 2013. By mere mentioning how Rigondeaux skilfully, though boringly, overpowered and out-boxed Donaire, Francisco needs a miracle of sort to blemish the Cuban’s flawless record. To add, Rigondeaux, former super bantamweight champion, is considered by many boxing gurus as one of the best boxers in the world. Records has it that only last May, Francisco suffered humiliating a 1st round KO against Jason Canoy, a Cebu-based puncher, in General Santos City. But before that, in his US tour in July 2013, Drian encountered a sorry loss against American Chris Avalos via 10-round unanimous decision in a game held at Dallas Events Center at Texas Station in Las Vegas. In his fight against Canoy, Joe Francisco, Drian's father and a former boxer himself, told this lowly blogger that our champ was suffering from severe flu during the fight. 

But in the world of sports, each time a giant killer is born. Just last week in MMA, the heavy favourite Ronda Rousey was beaten by lesser known Holly Holm at UFC 193 with the perfect and powerful second round knockout kick to the face. This is a stark example that big upsets really do happen. Since the time of David and Goliath, human history is supplied with occurrences symbolizing David’s triumph and they are too many to mention.

Mike Tyson (37-0, 33 Kos) was also the man of the hour, the apparently invincible iron man, when he faced James “Buster” Douglas (29-4-1) at Tokyo Dome in Japan on February 11, 1990. Tyson was unbeaten that time and he was at his prime 23 years of age. Tyson was the overwhelming 42-1 favorite over Douglas. Douglas, who rose from the canvas in the 8th round after enduring one of Tyson’s powerful signature uppercuts, completely seized control late and pounded Tyson’s left eye shut. Douglas landed a beastly five-punch combo that floored the beaten Tyson in the 10th frame at 1:23 of that decisive round. Douglas was later awarded the IBF, WBA and WBC heavyweight championships. Douglas, 29-years old then, destroyed Tyson leaving him shocked and stunned and gave face to the greatest upset in sports’ history.

Indeed, in boxing, even the unthinkable is understood. But either way, there are two things certain: First, there is no turning back for Drian against Rigo and our man will surely exchange punches with his opponent and let us support Drian in our own little ways. Second, Drian is the present generation’s boxing pride of Occidental Mindoro whom the Municipality of Sablayan vested an achievement award in sports some years back.

Can Francisco do a Buster Douglas? Who knows….


(Photo: Yibada)

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