Celebrating mediocrity?

2013-03-31 10:00

Recently there has been a trend developing for our local boxers to fight opponents from the Philippines.

According to trainer Anton Gilmore, the monetary factor, coupled with the tough socioeconomic situation in the Philippines, is to blame.

“It is cheaper to bring a boxer from the Philippines than it is to bring one from the US and Mexico,” he said.

He added that promoters select opponents based on what is economically viable and to their advantage.

“Why would a promoter go for American or Mexican boxers, who cost a fortune, when places like the Philippines and Argentina can offer a relatively lower price?” asked Gilmore.

In the past six weeks alone, three Filipinos have come to box on our shores, all of them returning home as losers.

So the question worth asking is: are Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao’s countrymen credible boxers who can offer competitive contests or are they part of the syndrome of celebrating mediocrity?

Boxing is more popular in the Philippines than it is here. In fact, it is well-known that the southeast Asian country, of about 95 million citizens, comes to a standstill whenever their hero Pacquiao steps into the square ring.

But the rather obvious truth is that not all Filipinos are as talented as Pac-Man.

International Boxing Organisation (IBO) minimumweight champ Hekkie “The Hexecutioner” Budler had his last three international tussles against Filipinos.

Last weekend, two of our own pugilists, Vusi “Marvellous” Malinga and Zolani “Last Born” Tete, also went toe-to-toe against Filipinos.

Some may argue that these fellows from the western Pacific came here with impressive fight records.

But the devil is in the detail, and when one examines who they defeated on their way to South Africa, a different picture emerges.

Take, for instance, Tete’s rival, Eduard Penerio, who had lost only once before in 16 encounters, only to kiss the canvas Pacquiao-style in only two minutes and a few seconds in round one.

He hadn’t landed a single meaningful punch on Tete.

The fact that these boxers were rated highly by various global sanctioning bodies calls into question how credible these ratings are.

On the other hand, despite the decline in popularity of the sport locally, South Africa still has a tremendous pool of talent in this sport, from trainers to young fighters.

The question now is, can our boys, after having to fight against such undercooked Filipino fare, stand the test against counterparts from the US and Mexico, where people talk, walk, eat and sleep boxing?

As to whether some of their technical wins came thanks to home-turf advantage is a debate for another day.

Filipinos vs locals

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