Cebu’s Frank Sinatra, Jhun Villahermosa once asked me if his idol was also involved in sports. Well, I told Jhun, Sinatra did not indulge in sports himself but he once owned a piece of heavyweight Tami Mauriello and promoted the 1947 boxing bout between Jersey Joe Walcott and Joey Maxin. He was a regular at ringside for big fights and gave generously to Joe Louis when the boxer fell on hard times. At first, Sinatra initially castigated Muhammad Ali but later embraced him. He was even in the press section for the March 8, 1971 “Fight of the Century” between Ali and Joe Frazier. Of course, we cannot deny the fact that Sinatra had ties with the Mafia. He was pictured as a tough guy but he was’nt much of a fighter . In 1967, Carl Cohen, an executive at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, removed the caps from two of Sinatra’s front teeth with his fists when Sinatra became too abusive. He should have been called “Ol’ Black Eyes” instead of “Ol Blue Eyes”. Too bad, Frank did not inherit his father’s talent. Antonio Martino Sinatra who was born in Sicily on May 4, 1894 came to America in 1903. He worked as a shoemaker before deciding to try his hand at boxing and fought under the name Marty O’ Brien. His first pro fight was a fifth round knockout loss to Bull Anderson on January 6, 1911 at the Bedford Athletic Club in Brooklyn N.Y. His second fight six weeks later, also resulted in a knockout to Hugh Ross. After a six-month lay-off, Sinatra (O’Brien) returned to the ring but lost badly to Mickey Cashman. Obrien was knocked-out in 45 seconds. But still,Sinatra refused to give up and fought Mike Rosen losing in a decision this time. After another layoff (20 months), Sinatra fought Young Sieger twice in a span of two weeks. He was knocked out in the first bout but won the second when Sieger was disqualified in the eighth round. On Valentine’s Day 1914, Sinatra eloped with Natalie Graventa and on December 15, 1915. Francis Albert Sinatra was born. In 1920, needing money, O’brien returned to the ring after a six-year absence. He lost twice and retired for good in 1921 with a record of one win and seven losses. I had the golden opportunity to watch Frank Sinatra when he came to the Philippines in the mid-80s but he had to look at the monitors. Hecould’nt remember the lyrics. Ol’Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra died in 1998 at age 82.
Speaking of Sinatra, Jhun Villahermosa joined Elvisaya. Tom Jones of Cebu (Edison Monternel), Leo Alcibar, the Luis Miguel of Cebu, tv host Amie Filomeno and emcee/stand-up comedian Sam Costanilla in a very successfull Christmas with Elvisaya and Friends at the Activity Center of Robinsons Fuente. Herbert Buot the Perry Como of Cebu was supposed to perform with the group but had to beg off after he lost his voice (napagaw).
Even before the 2016 UAAP started, I picked La Salle to go all the way to the championship. No, it’s not that I’m a La Sallite myself but on paper, La Salle was the team to beat as many people agreed. How could you lose with a line-up that included Ben Mbala, Jeron Teng, Kib Montalbo, Tomas Torres and Alvin Melecio? So as the saying goes, the rest was history. Now, let’s look at this year’s edition. Teng, Torres and Jason Perkins are gone but the Archers still have Mbala, Montalbo and Melecio not to mention Prince Rivero who had some brilliant moments during the championship game. Ateneo, Adamson and FEU would still be teams to reckon with this season but make mine La Salle. By the way, did you know Jeron Teng scored 104 points as a 16-year old praying for Xavier School in the Tiong Lian Basketball Association?
Note: Belated Birthday greetings to Jackylou Gaviola who turned a year older last December 29.
“My Way” probably is the most abused song in the world written by Paul Anka in 1969. Frank Sinatra bluntly told in Atlantic City audience in 1979 “ I Hate This Song”. However, Sinatra could’nt help but follow the demand of the fans in concerts who asked him to sing “My Way” most of the time. In the Philippines, “My Way” is the cause of many deaths in videoke bars.
TOMMY MORRISON. Remember him in Rocky V? in 1996, Morrison tested positive for the HIV virus prior to his fight with Arthur Weathers in Las Vegas. The fight was cancelled and Morrison announced his retirement a few days later. In 2007, Morrison however got a license to fight in Chester, W.V. where he stopped John Castle in two rounds. Morrison rose to popularity when he defeated an aging George Foreman to win the vacant WBO belt in June 1993. Morrison died in an Omaha, Nebraska hospital in 2013 reportedly of AIDS.
JOHNNY TAPIA. In May 27, 2012 the five-time world champion in three weight classes was found dead in his Albuquerque, N.M. home. Police reported that pills were found near his body. The 45-year-old Tapia’s struggle with drug addiction and depression were the focal point of his autobiography “Mi Vida Loca (“My Crazy Life”).