Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muhammad Ali Tribute

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     It's been a while since I've posted practically anything in my blog for almost a year or so. Yes, I'm still into boxing and enjoying it. Yet, everything became a standstill upon hearing the news that the great Muhammad Ali passed away today at age 74. He is like an irony of himself. He inspires us to believe in ourselves through boxing which brought fighters to pursue boxing as he did, but he is also the same reason we are warned not pursue it as well, because of the disease he sustained after retiring. Parkinson's Disease afflicted Muhammad Ali throughout his life.

     So yes, you can be what you believe to be but boxing is still a dangerous sport. There are risks implied, which for me as a health professional, understands it well. Although, we can't help but be in awe for those courageous enough to take that risk, and Muhammad Ali is no stranger in taking risks. It broke my heart, seeing this guy who has made all sorts of contributions not only to boxing but to society, leaving us at this fragile point in time. His charisma and being a champion to the people will never be forgotten. He is like the great elder, a leader, and a teacher. What are we to do now that he is gone? We seem like lost children through this.

     He helped made the world a better place and we will always be indebted to him for that. From his victory in the Olympics earning him the Olympic Gold Medal and the pride of an entire nation, to fighting racism and being an ambassador of peace, Muhammad Ali's footprints in history is cemented for everyone to behold. No matter what social status you’re in, or if you’re a boxing fan or not, Muhammad Ali has touched our lives one way or another. This is why he is such an inspiration. He is such an incredible human being that even without boxing he would still be great. He is truly the Greatest of all time.

Photo: The three time lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World. Boxing's very own, Muhammad Ali. Rest in peace.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Warrior's Code of Combat Sports

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     Recently, I've been watching a few boxing videos here and there. Watching great fighters, good fighters, and some not so good fighters. I can confidently rate them throughout the years as an avid fan. I can distinguish a deal of difference that separates those three categories. There's a lot of factors to be added into the equation and one aspect that I would like to discuss is the Warrior's Code.

     During ancient times, there were several forms of Warrior's Code at place just like the Samurai Class of Japan or the Maharlikan Class of the Philippines. Ancient warriors maintain certain aspects of Warrior-hood in order for them to continue to be distinguished as such. We've seen warrior's before. We can easily spot them through their actions and their demeanor. Here are my humble observations of a "warrior" in which I'd like to call as the "Warrior's Code of Combat Sports."

     Because the idea is so broad, it is not limited to just boxing alone but to all combat sports if applied accordingly. All great fighters must have this. It is the essence of their greatness. A good fighter may have this but sometimes it gets limited to only this, and for this reason, these fighters do not transcend through their probably greater potential because they get stuck in this one thing and they don't learn other more crucial aspects of the fight game.

     Again, this is just one aspect, and if you aren't paying enough attention to my post, you would probably suffer the painful consequence of an inevitable beaten fighter. The Warrior's Code of Combat Sports is simple.. yes it could be slugging but it also could be boxing or a mix. It is..

1. The idea that when a fighter lands one on you, you give him three or more. (Make payback time a habit)
2. Never put your hands down.
3. Keep yourself in front of your opponent, never back up or run.
(If you're hurt don't fool yourself, move away or clinch!)
4. Taunt your opponent into a brawl. Disrespect him.
5. Trade punches and make sure to hit the last punch of the exchange.
6. Make your opponent lean back against the ropes - at least 50% of the time. 

     These are probably foolish choices to make in the ring but it is one hell of a statement. It is always best to fight smart, but if you feel like you're lacking a little bit of greatness, you should probably give this a try. After all, only a warrior would dare to do these tricks in a fight and showing these warrior-like characteristics will earn you a lot of respect. Before I end this post, I'd like to leave you all with the final and most important of the Warrior's Code, and that is to..

7. Never give up - 100% all of the time.

Photo: Chuck Wepner missing a wide right hand on Muhammad Ali. Definitely someone who never gave up despite the odds. Earning the respect of Boxing fans around the world.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Dental Braces Removed (2011 draft)

I have found this draft, and thought how wonderfully it has been written. Probably written sometime in 2011, a few days after my dental braces have been finally removed.

     Have you ever felt the feeling of coldness in two different spectrum of definitions? Its like the bitter coldness of the outside and the cold blood pumping from your heart goes into unison which makes anyone feel barren like a frozen wasteland. A petty disguise to affirm others that you're fine when you are feeling otherwise. Again, my feelings become repressed, as my vigor begins to soar.

     The same feeling of the warrior inside of me that rises into reincarnation. That same feeling that has brought a lazy undetermined couch potato, like myself, into something that of athletic prowess. I am feeling the same old adrenaline rushing into my veins with an intense need to unleash it. It is dangerous as it is beneficial. Yet time has brought me into much certainty as fate has once reunited my desire to fight with the advent removal of my braces.

     Yes, my dental braces have been removed. It would be just a matter of time that I may be able to see how much I developed or missed out over the past few years. I recalled the time, when I did visit the Philippine Boxing Team's Gym in my city. A boxer once told me in the early days, to finish my studies first.. and as of today, I finally did. I have fulfilled that same promise that allowed my bachelor life to flourish yet sacrificed my passion for boxing.

     Although lost out of time compared to the early career of some fighters, I understood the implications of what the boxer had advised me. Not many fighters had the same opportunity like myself to become educated into earning a bachelor's degree. I valued education. I valued my profession as a nurse. Yet boxing remains passionately in my heart. I watched several youngsters in a competition of Tae Kwon Do invitationals in one of the local shopping mall in my city.

     Watching them use their mouthpiece looked like something simple to some people to look at, but means a lot for someone like me. While I am at the peak of my youth, I must take charge and not waste it. I am now able to finally wear a mouthpiece. I believe it is time. I want to achieve a prime that I could be proud of, especially in a sport that I really took by the heart.

(Almost) Two Years

Before I start this post, I would like to thank the world and the interest it has showed to generate 13,500+ blog views over the past few months, despite my inactivity for almost two years. I am honored and extremely grateful.

     So here's the thing. I have been gone for almost two years now in writing this blog. Is it a surprise? Perhaps not at all. I've been in touch with my nursing profession for the last (almost) two years now, and it allowed me to physically and mentally progress into this competent nurse that I have arguably become. Yes, I've been in places, and I've gained these valuable experiences on the way. But what about boxing? I've been boxing still. I may not be physically into boxing for some time, but I know... deep inside the scrub suits and nursing uniforms, lie a great fighter that is waiting to be unleashed out of its shell.

     I still would like to thank, the Department of Health for giving me this opportunity to showcase my now defined nursing skill sets, which helped my personal principles and advocacy come into fruition.. and that is.. to help and serve the poor and those who are in need. It has been the foundation of my calling since I set foot into the halls of my Nursing School. My post "Nurse: Saving and Preserving Life" tells of a valuable nursing experience of mine as a student, which defined my nursing career until this very day. I am thankful to God for all the struggles he masterfully placed into my life, for without them, I wouldn't have been successful.

     It's been almost two years now, so forgive me if I may have lost my touch in blogging. For all those who think I stopped because the Pacman got KO is clearly misguided. I just had to work a year in a tertiary hospital and now enjoying the present, as a community nurse and caring for those in need. I must admit that I am loving my work. But I know, despite the air of contentment, there is a gaping wound in my heart that wishes to fill its void.. and for me to come back and continue writing this blog is a symbolism of that notion. Perhaps it is time to step up as promised. No reasons or excuses. It is now or never. Let the next era begin.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pacquiao - Márquez 4: Predictions

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     Another great match-up is now at hand, as Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Márquez face each other on their fourth and most probably final chapter of their epic rivalry. It's no doubt that these two fighters have grown accustomed with each other, as both combatants have gone round after round making every struggle seemingly too close to call. It's as if both fighters have begun to start cancelling each others strengths. I predict a world-class competition that its standard is unprecedented since the dawn of the sport of boxing.

     A close match up that even knock-outs are seemingly ruled out, despite the promises of both that they would lay down the smack and treat fans for a knock-out. I predict this match would be as close as their previous encounters, and I have stressed since the early days of their rivalry, that Juan Manuel Márquez is the "Pacquiao Nemesis." Until now, I find it hard to predict matches of this caliber simply because of the immense diversities that any outcome would become a realistic possibility. Personally, I have never seen such a close fight between two fighters since their previous fights and still counting.

What about a Fifth Fight? Any Predictions?

     Well, what about it? I mean, its clear that this match-up will never go decisively into each others favor. As usual, I would have to give this fight a toss up. Anyone can win this match-up. Only this time, I am slightly favoring Márquez. Yes, I have once scored their last fight to Manny, but I believe Márquez will now learn how to finally dispose of Manny. I predict Juan Manuel Márquez to win by decision against Manny Pacquiao.

     I also predict that its going to be heart wrecking day for Filipino fans like myself, knowing our countrymen Micheal Farenas will also be facing Olympic Gold Medalist, and my favorite, Yuriorkis Gamboa. I've covered Gamboa before, and being the future prospect in the sport of boxing that he is, he does not disappoint. I predict Yuriorkis Gamboa to get a Technical Knockout against Micheal Farenas in the early rounds.

     I remembered the last time there was emotional grief on a national scale, that time Érik Morales defeated Manny Pacquiao in their first fight. I believe, we will be experiencing the same thing again after the Márquez Camp triumphs over his victory against Pacquiao. There are lots of ways to change the outcome of my predictions naming a few attributes that fighters need to improve once they step into the squared circle.

What it takes to win?

     In order for Manny to win this match against the tough counter-punching mexican Juan Manuel Márquez, he needs to be aggressive. Sure, when we think about Pacquiao, aggression is his patent, but it recently seems too far away, now that Pacquiao is aging away. Stamina will be limited for Manny, as well as diminished reflexes. What Pacquiao needs to do is to be aggressively smart, and not just bombing away regardless.

     Márquez will counter in every mistake that Pacquiao will be making, so he needs to be careful. Márquez has a weakness to poorly react on unpredictability. Pacquiao needs to be unpredictable but cautious. Pacquiao should not get overconfident in knocking down Márquez, since his toughness is a proven fact. Márquez will keep getting up no matter how hurt he is, and mark my word, if he falls down, he will recover as quickly as he's dropped. Márquez needs to be tremedously focused in avoiding that straight left of Manny and not be placed in a position for him to make risks.

     In order for Micheal Farenas to win, he needs to adapt a counter-punching style against the volume puncher in Yuriorkis Gamboa. Boxing teaches us that anybody's got a chance, and despite being a tremendous underdog, Micheal Farenas will always have a chance, considering his strategy is correct. Gamboa is quick handed, powerful, and athletically swift. The only thing that Farenas could have against Gamboa is his toughness and some punching power. All Gamboa needs to do to win is to keep doing the same thing he usually does, and that is, to dominate!

     The correct strategy for Farenas against Gamboa is to counter-punch, there is no other way around it. If Farenas decides to slug it out, he would definitely get caught or rag dolled by Gamboa's speed. Farenas must keep a sturdy defense at all times and not be cocky in dropping his hands. It's time to adapt that Joshua Clottey defense! Anyone has a chance to win. As much as I want Manny Pacquiao to win, only this time, I will be slightly favoring Juan Manuel Márquez in their now fourth and epic rivalry.

What next?

     Pacquiao - Mayweather Jr. is a must, regardless of any outcome of this match. If Márquez beats the Pacman, a fifth fight will be imminent, and Márquez will finally stake his claim to once and for all officially beat Manny, the same way he has been telling everyone after all this time. If Pacquiao will win this, there will probably be no fifth fight despite of how close this match-up will become. As usual, I have no doubt, Yuriorkis Gamboa will dispose of Farenas too, and I mean that, easily. Gamboa IS the future of the professional boxing. I can't wait until Nonito Donaire Jr. gets to trade leather with him.

Picture: A poster of Manny Pacquiao versus Juan Manuel Márquez in their fourth fight. To be held on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Nonito Donaire Jr. - Toshiaki Nishioka

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     After another epic match-up between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez, here we are again, looking to find one under the drawing board. Another great match-up that would probably cement itself in boxing history. Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire versus Toshiaki "Speed King" Nishioka. I'm feeling the boxing temperature as blazing as a live torch in its splendor. Without the clamored Pacquiao - Mayweather match-up, I believe that this fight is one to look out for. Honestly, when I heard of this match-up coming, I never knew Toshiaki Nishioka.

     What went in my mind when it comes to Japanese world champions is that they tend to keep the belt as much as they can without facing top caliber competition. It's like they are hiding from their shells when a top competitor is calling them out. I'm afraid to say, that it is the kind of reputation that Japanese fighters have earned in the International level. I often ask the question, where are those great Japanese fighter's, especially the likes of the late Masahiko "Fighting" Harada? The recent Japanese champions are nothing compared to what this glorified champion came to be. But then I guess, Now is the time for Japanese fighters to step up and face the best.

     Toshiaki "Speed King" Nishioka is probably the best fighter to come out of Japan in recent years. Looking at his resumé, I never have thought that he defeated the likes of Rafael Márquez. (A fighter who was once ranked as Pound for Pound one of the best fighter's in the world.) He also beat Jhonny González in a stunning knock-out in the Mexican's home turf. Only a few would have the guts to fight in Mexico, because of the same instability of their system capable of generating hometown decisions. Now, I've seen the tapes, and this Japanese fighter might possibly be a tremendous competitor against Nonito Donaire Jr. Make no mistake about it.

     This guy has a staggering left-handed power with exceptional boxing skills. I've compared him like Ali would compare Pacquiao in his early days. If Ali branded Pacquiao as the little-Ali, I could with all respect, brand Toshiaki Nishioka as the little-Pacquiao. He totally resembles Pacquiao from his southpaw style, devastating left handed power, and blurring hand-speed. I never had a chance to cover any Donaire matches yet, and from the resumé that his next opponent brings. I'm predicting, that this is the toughest fight for Donaire yet. We might be seeing an upset tonight. For this match-up, I'm going to have to bench out for awhile and refrain from predicting the outcome for this event.

     This is a tough fight to call. I don't play favoritism here, so may the best man win. The only thing that bugs me is the way Nishioka got his built-up record. Some of his older fights were considered controversial and closely called for a hometown decision. I'm not gonna start naming them, but for those who are knowledgeable about them, could probably bring justification for karma to strike back. It does give me this edgy feeling to root against Nishioka solely for this reason. Regardless, I am predicting that this match is going to be as epic as the other great matches that shape up boxing in 2012.

Picture: Nonito "Filipino Flash" Donaire Jr. posing his fists with Toshiaki "Speed King" Nishioka. A pose for their fight on the 13th of October 2012.

Sergio Martínez - Julio César Chávez Jr.: Final Thoughts

Before I start, I would like to thank the people across the internet who have stumbled upon my blog. It had recently reach the 9000 view mark.

     The recent Chavez Jr. - Martínez fight was a blast! As predicted, Sergio "Maravilla" Martínez got the victory. Despite the fact that he never finished his man, he still showed a dominant performance against a young challenger in Julio César Chávez Jr. The last round was an epic struggle, as Chávez Jr., was close to knocking out Sergio Martínez. Still, I view that last round struggle as the result of a "Lucky punch." Martínez hung in there and continued on, like a true champion that he is.

     A rematch, in my opinion, is not necessary. Sergio Martínez showed why he is Pound for Pound one of the best fighters in the world. No lucky punch will be able to change this distinction, and I bet that if they do it the second time, the outcome will still be the same. It is either that Martínez would cruise his way on another dominant and one-sided decision or he will eventually get the knock-out sooner or later. In my prediction, I had to gamble with the Martínez punching power, considering the way he took out Paul Williams who was also taller and heavier than Martínez.

     Fundamental Boxing Knowledge has showed us once again why weight advantages favor a fighter when it comes to resiliency and punching power. It usually happens. Still, a knock-out is a variable on the table because of Sergio Martínez previous performances. The whole world is definitely treated with another boxing display, as if Martínez was giving the young Chávez Jr., a boxing lesson. Speed was a supreme variable in this match, and Sergio Martínez had a lot of it.

     My advice for Julio César Chávez Jr., is to clear the drawing table. His merging with Freddie Roach was a good decision, but it would be better if Julio would start learning something new. Keep his bully style of fighting, but develop his head movement and a little bit more hand speed. Now, I'm just an avid boxing fan, and it is clear that I'm no Freddie Roach, but just based on observation, I believe this transition would be necessary for him if he desires to transcend in the sport of boxing.

     I still would hope to see Julio César Chávez Jr. again. He is still young after all and there is still a lot of time to make up for this defeat. A great match I would want to see him in is against Kelly Pavlik. Now that is a compelling match-up. I'd probably go 50/50 on this. At this moment though, it is clear that Sergio "Maravilla" Martínez is the reigning King of the Middleweight Division. I am hoping for better matches to come from both fighters, and I hope someday but not sooner, that they would go and do it again.

Picture: Sergio Martínez showing respect after surviving a last round close knock-out ordeal against Julio César Chávez Jr.