THREE MANNY?S OF AMATEUR BOXING
By Maloney L. Samaco
Sat, 17 Jan 2009
First there was Manny Lopez who took over the presidency of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines from his father former Manila Mayor Mel Lopez. The Lopezes were in control of amateur boxing for decades. The sport experienced ups and downs, including Onyok Velasco?s popular silver-medal finish at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and the medal-less campaigns in the 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, and 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Then Manny V. Pangilinan of Smart-PLDT took over as chairman with his trusted executive Ricky Vargas taking over the presidential post, and the other Manny sacrificing by sliding down to the vice-presidential post. All ended well in the ABAP organizational face-lifting with everybody promising to give his share for the improvement of the amateurs.
Amateur boxing needs the financial backing to stay alive and offset the mass exodus of excellent boxers to the professional ranks. And MVP, a distinguished sports patron, is hailed as a boxing messiah that could save the dwindling international performance of our amateurs.
Now comes the 2009 Smart-Amateur ABAP National Amateur Boxing Championships which will open today at the Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center in Bacolod City, with no less than the world?s top boxer Manny Pacquiao as special guest. Before the Smart-PLDT takeover, not a few sectors endorsed The Pacman as the next ABAP president with all his boxing expertise and resources at hand.
But even without an ABAP official post, the Filipino ring sensation can help amateur boxing by giving inspiration to the amateur boxers in the grassroots level. And if destiny can lead him to the halls of Congress in 2010, he can make legislations and appropriations for the advancement of the sport which could produce the first Olympic gold medal for the Philippines.
A fourth Manny, in the person of North Cotabato Vice-Governor Manny Pi?ol, a renowned boxing supporter, is expected to come to give his all out support, together with ABAP secretary general Patrick Gregorio and other boxing luminaries.
The hosting of the event is spearheaded by Bacolod Representative Monico Puentevella, chairman of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and vice-chairman of the House Committee on Youth and Sports. He expected about 500 participants from all over the country to grace the tournament.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.
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