MAG Pacman’s slam-bang debut
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - December 15, 2013 - 12:00am

Friday the 13th brought lots of luck to MAG Pacman International Boxing Promotions, the newly formed outfit of Manny Pacquiao, gym owner Anson Tiu Co and Gerry Peñalosa. The company’s maiden offering was a huge success at the Solaire Resort and Casino the other night.

The atmosphere in the Solaire Grand Ballroom was perfect for boxing. There were three giant LED monitors on one end, providing the near capacity crowd with slow-motion images of the action, pre-fight interviews of the protagonists, tale-of-the-tape and a larger-than-life portrayal of every bout in real time. Thumping music by a variety of rock artists from The Who to the Jimi Hendrix Experience set the mood before each match as the fighters made their way from the dressing room to the ring. Mariachi music was the choice to welcome the three Mexican warriors in the card. The round girls were stunners and for one fight, four beauties in shorts and high heels raised the placards parading up and down each side of the ring on the floor – an innovation that had the men in the audience howling.

But what was most impressive about MAG Pacman’s debut was the matchmaking. Every fight was entertaining even as a few were one-sided. The main event featured Sorsogon brawler Michael Farenas who made short work of Jesus (Chito) Rios, flooring the Mexican twice before referee Ferdinand Estrella halted the carnage at 2:40 of the second. But the fans didn’t mind. The bout started at 1 a.m. and Farenas’ performance made for a rousing finale.

In the undercard, teenaged Mexican showboat Luis Lugo pushed Richard Pumicpic to the limit but lost a unanimous decision and Dodie Boy Peñalosa Jr. survived several scary moments to beat rangy Mexico’s Alem Robles via a unanimous technical decision. Pumicpic, a come-forward pressure cooker, was aggressive from the start. Lugo played the matador’s role, waiting for the bull-like Pumicpic to charge in, but there was no consistency in his sporadic outbursts. Referee Vio Garcia docked a point on Lugo for using a shoulder to lift Pumicpic off his feet during a clinch in the third round. Pumicpic, bucking a cut in the corner of his left eye, pressed the attack until the final bell and Lugo was lucky to go the full route. The judges had no difficulty choosing the winner as Estrella had it 98-92, Noel Jaduca 98-90 and Dionis Jacobe 96-92, all for the Zamboanga del Norte bruiser.

Dodie Boy Jr. had his hands full against Robles who proved to be a sturdy customer. He repeatedly lashed out at Robles with combinations but just couldn’t hurt the Mexican. Dodie Boy Jr.’s lack of side-to-side movement made him a standing target for Robles who had the 22-year-old fan favorite in trouble at least twice. In the fourth, it looked like Dodie Boy Jr. went down from a punch but referee Silvestre Abainza ruled it a slip. In the sixth, Robles’ counter assault sent Dodie Boy Jr. running for cover and the crowd sensed danger. An accidental clash of heads in the seventh brought an anticlimactic end to the fight as ringside physicians Dr. Marius Sing and Dr. Luzviminda de Chavez ruled Dodie Boy Jr. unfit to continue with a deep cut over his right eye, prompting Abainza to end it.

Dodie Boy Jr. should take pointers from his uncle Gerry on defense. He’s clearly offense-oriented and as he moves on in his career, opponents will be tougher and more dangerous than Robles. There’s no doubt Dodie Boy Jr. has talent and he’ll go a long way but how far will depend on his determination to work on the chinks in his armor. Head movement, spin-outs and lateral shifting are some of the things he might want to practice in the gym. Before the Robles fight, Dodie Boy Jr. had an 11-0 record, with 11 KOs. The win over Robles was his first on points.

By the way, Dodie Boy Jr. was floored by two previous opponents Donnel Marcos and Nimithra Sithsaithong although he got up to score third round knockouts in both fights. The ability to take a shot and how to maintain the proper posture in maintaining a strong anchor on his center of gravity are issues that Dodie Boy Jr. must address.

Other fights in the card were just as thrilling. Ernesto Saulong and Mike Espanosa battled to a split technical draw in the sixth round in a barn-burner. Fernando Ocon was way behind on points when he hammered Jeffrey Cerna with a shot to the solar plexus and scored a dramatic knockout at 1:49 of the eighth. Ocon took a mandatory eight-count from referee Sammy Bernabe in the fourth stanza and was badly beaten to the punch by Cerna until he landed the blow that settled the issue.

Roque Lauro decked Ronnel Ferreras in the first round and breezed to a win on a unanimous decision in a grudge rematch. In their first meeting early this year, Lauro suffered a cut from an accidental headbutt and the fight was declared a technical draw in the third round. Fighting Heno powdered the gutsy but limited Jessie Caballes from pillar to post in carving out a win by unanimous decision in a sixer.


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