Taking care of their own

By: Hidelito Pascual January 07,2017 - 09:04 PM

I have always been an admirer of ALA Boxing, for a couple of reasons.

First, because I know that from the beginning, Tony Aldeguer took boxers into his fold because of his love for the sport. In those days, Bidoy, as Tony is fondly called, supervised the training of his boxers personally.

I used to see him at the old Lahug airport making his wards go through the required kilometers to strengthen their lungs. At the time, Bidoy’s vision was for the Philippines to get an Olympic gold medal in boxing.

But things soured up his noble intention for Philippine boxing.

It turned out that there were so many things outside his control, including the hideous politics that beleaguered amateur boxing then, because the national association could not countenance an outsider showing them that what they were doing was wrong.

So it happened.

A group of ALA boxers were denied their rightful slots on the Philippine boxing team, after the boys had won the right fair and square. That made ALA change its vision, and instead went professional, where things are more under control.

The developmental nerve in his bones however, did not completely go away.

When I asked Bidoy to help me resuscitate amateur boxing in Mandaue, he readily said yes, and we were able to come up with weekly boxing tournaments giving life to the boxers of around five boxing clubs in the City.

One prominent product of the program is Albert Pagara, if my memory still serves me right.

Second, is that ALA looks out for the welfare of its boxers.

Even with the shift to professional boxing, their values have remained the same.

It therefore did not came as a surprise when ALA announced that Rocky Fuentes may have seen his last days in the ring after he failed in his last fight in Japan.

When Bidoy sees that a boxer has seen the limits of his potentials, he is asked to hang up his gloves and is given a chance to work within the vast Aldeguer enterprise.

One of the early beneficiaries of this benevolence is a boxer whom I had a very close affinity to.

Ramy Dumpa, remember him?

Ramy was a product of the boxing program of the ACMDC Sports Department under Esau Villagonzalo and George Bitacura. He was taken in by ALA because of his potential, and also because he was already a featherweight, something that is quite rare in Philippine boxing.

If you can still recall, Ramy was a banger and had all the courage in the world, and fought as if there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately, he got as many punches as he gave his opponent, maybe more of the latter. With his experience, Bidoy probably saw where Ramy was heading to, and advised him to retire.

I believe Ramy still works with ALA in some other capacity up to the present.

Another beneficiary of this kind of concern is one of my favourite boxers, Peter Cuizon.

Well, Peter lives just a block away from our ancestral home, and his father was the favourite barber of the family.

Peter was also very instrumental in making that boxing program with ALA very successful, not because he was designated by Bidoy as ALA’s point person of the project, but also because, like myself, Peter shared the vision for Mandauehanon boxers.

Peter was a favourite because he was a good boxer. What he lacked was however the kind of power that can shorten the rounds, and prolong a boxing career.

When he retired from the ring, Peter became one of the finest trainers in the ALA stable, which he continues to do up to now.

A boxer is indeed lucky if he is taken in under the wings of the ALA Boxing Club, where the caring goes beyond his usefulness.

In some other places, a boxer, after his prime either becomes half blind, half crazy or ends up begging for his keep in the streets. I do not think this has happened, or will happen, to any of the wards of ALA.

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TAGS: ALA, ALA Boxing, boxer, boxing, Cebu, Tony Aldeguer

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