Freeman Cebu Sports

First heavyweight champ

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo - The Freeman

John L. Sullivan will forever be remembered  as the first man to become officially recognized as the heavyweight champion of the world, although he claimed  the title while boxing  to Prize Ring  Rules. He was born of Irish parents  in Boston and won a reputation  of being something of a braggart (hambugero). He even challenged all-comers to take him on, showing  his strength by lifting  full beer barrels over his head.  In 1880, Sullivan, known as the “Boston Strong Boy”, went on a nationwide  tour offering $50 dollars to anyone who could last four rounds with him in the ring. The offer went up to $1000 ( a big amount at that time). Sullivan wasn’t a man who took orders easily, so when a trolley-bus conductor refused to allow Sullivan’s  beloved dog on board with his master, the boxer floored him with one well aimed punch. Sullivan was taken to court and found guilty of assault.  The judge fined him $100 for hitting the conductor and asked if he had something to say.  Sullivan reached for his wallet and replied, “Yes your honor, I’ll give you another 200 if you let me hit him again”.  Sullivan was world champion from 1882 until 1892, winning 38 fights while losing one and drawing three.  He died in Massachusetts  in 1918.

NOTES: By  the way, the boxers did not wear gloves until 1889.  Sullivan fought  Charlie  Mitchell, the English champion and defeated him in a fight that lasted  39 rounds  in France.  When he returned to the United States , he fought Jake Kilrain in a Mississippi about which took two hours before Kilrain  was knocked out in the 75th round.

Elvis and Ali

Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) was 15 years old when saw  Elvis Presley on television.  Ali knew that Elvis  bought his mom Gladys, a pink Cadillac in 1956 with his first big paycheck and year after, Graceland  Mansion.  This inspired Clay that after  his first  professional fight, he bought his mother, guess what? a pink Cadillac .  After his second fight, he bought his folks a house.  Elvis and  Ali became good friends.  And in 1973, Ali gave Elvis a signed gloves while Elvis gifted Ali  a bejeweled white robe, designed like his jumpsuits.  When Julius Nyerere of Tanzania invaded Uganda, President Idi Amin, a heavyweight boxer, proposed a novel idea to settle their differences - a boxing match with Muhammad Ali as  referee.  The boxing bout never happened.  (mura’g nahadlok si Nyerere).

Another half-breed

After Fil-Japanese Yuka Saso made waves when she won the 2021 US Open, another half-breed, Fil-Canadian  Leylah Fernandez, a 19- year old representing Canada but with Filipino  and Ecuadorian roots, is carving her name in professional tennis.  Ranked 73rd in the world,  Fernandez started her giant-killing spree when she scalped  defending champion Naomi Osaka and trashing former US Open  champion  Angelique Kerber.  Proving her twin kills were not a fluke, he booted World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in a heart-stopping semi-final.  As I write this column (Saturday), Fernandez will meet 18-year old Emma Raducano for the Finals.  No matter the result, Fernandez is already a winner in the hearts of  Filipinos.

NOTE: As I was ending this column, results from the US Open flashed.  Raducanu defeated Fernandez 6-4, 6-3, to bag the championship in the first meeting of two teen sensations in a title match since Serena Williams beat Martina Hingis in 1999.

Hasta la vista ate ging

Bad news jolted me when I woke up last Sunday morning.  Ate Ging Montesclaros, president of our club, Music Lovers, and proprietor of Biotroff Capsules and Hildi Grace Townhouses, died due to heart and kidney complications.  I’ll write more about Ate Ging in my next column.  Hasta La Vista Ate Ging. Sing in Peace.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with