Daddy in daughter’s corner
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2019 - 12:00am

It’s not unusual for a father to work his son’s corner in a boxing bout. But once upon a time, the WBC attempted to ban the connection. In 2009, WBC president Jose Sulaiman said there was actually a prohibition but the rule hadn’t been enforced. Sulaiman cited several instances where fighters died from injuries inflicted in the ring with fathers in their corner. Johnny Owens, Kiko Bejines, Jimmy Garcia and Leavander Johnson were mentioned as examples.

Sulaiman has since passed away and his son Mauricio is now the WBC president. Despite the rants over the years, fathers continue to work the corners of their sons without restriction. Last year, the new WBC president said he wanted to revive discussion on imposing the ban. There has been research done to correlate a fighter’s willingness to go beyond the call of duty because of pressure from his father. Sometimes, the willingness defies the prudence of stepping back to call it a night, causing tragic effects in the ring.

But there have also been sons rising to the occasion with fathers driving their motivation to succeed. Floyd Mayweather Jr., Vasily Lomachenko, Shawn Porter, Robert Guerrero, Wilfred Benitez, Erik Morales and many, many more world champions overachieved with fatherly prodding. 

Brothers have also been active in the corner. A prime example is Robert Garcia who takes care of world lightweight champion Mikey. Jorge Barrera, who worked his brother Marco Antonio’s corner, is another example. It was Jorge who threw in the towel when Manny Pacquiao was battering his brother in San Antonio in 2003. Wives aren’t an exception to the rule. Nonito Donaire’s wife Rachel has worked his corner.

Now comes a relative rarity. Last Friday, former WBC superbantamweight and featherweight champion Oscar Larios worked the corner of his daughter Yareli in an eight-round fight against 2016 Olympian Mikaela Mayer in Hinckley, Minnesota. Larios, 42, was the Mexican fighter whom Pacquiao outpointed at the Big Dome in his last fight in the Philippines in 2006. Larios, who won five of six fights in Japan, ended his career in 2009 with a record of 63-7-1, with 39 KOs.

Yareli, 20, is one of Larios’ five daughters. Before facing Mayer, she had a record of 13-1-1, with 3 KOs, the only loss a split decision to Yazmin Rivas. Against Mayer, she was overwhelmed. Mayer proved too strong, too slick and too smart for Larios whose nickname Chololita takes off from her father’s nickname Chololo. Before the sixth round began, Larios told his daughter only a knockout could save her from losing. She took a severe beating and her father should’ve stopped it to prevent her from taking unnecessary punishment before going the distance.

That kind of insensitivity from a father has to be exposed and criticized. It’s that insensitivity that has led to tragic consequences. Larios should understand his daughter’s limitations and can’t think she’ll be as successful as he was if there is a significant difference in talent level. Evaluating Yareli’s caliber from her showing against Mayer, it doesn’t seem like she’s championship material.

On the same card, Philippine bantamweight champion Giovanni Escaner made his US debut against Joshua Greer Jr. Escaner, 28, started strong and decked Greer, 24, late in the third round. But Escaner eventually gassed out, was dropped in the eighth and stopped at 2:33 of the round. The loss dropped Escaner’s record to 19-4, with 12 KOs. Manager Marty Elorde was in his corner. Referee was Mark Nelson who was the dishonored third man in the ring when Jeff Horn defeated Pacquiao in Brisbane in 2017. 

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