On Rafe Bartholomew’s book signing, UFC 118, the ALA Boys’ superb performance, and Ivan Calderon’s downfall
I had a great weekend that started off with Diana and I attending the book launch of the excellent, seminal book on Pinoy hoops, Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball at National Bookstore, Ayala Cebu branch. The author, Rafe Bartholomew, made sure that everyone who attended the event enjoyed every minute of it.
The event started with the obligatory introduction of the author and then, immediately after, Rafe proceeded to read a few pages from his book. He chose to read the part about the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) and briefly discussed a few of its teams (notably the Cebu Gems of course, as well as the Manila Metrostars, the Negros Slashers, and the Iloilo Megavoltz) and some of its players (John Ferriols, Dondon Hontiveros, Vince Hizon). After the reading, there was a brief Q&A followed by the book signing proper and then a late afternoon buffet or “libreng pagkain” as Rafe himself put it. (The food was great, I might add: barbecued pork, Pancit Malabon, chicken, fresh lumpia, and leche flan for dessert.)
Diana and I had a chance to have a short chat with Rafe while he was signing my copy. I told him that initially, I had a hard time finding a copy of the book a few days right after it came out, but it’s pretty awesome that now it’s practically available in every major bookstore in the Philippines. I also introduced Diana to him, adding that she’s from Mexico, and the two of them briefly compared notes on their stay here in the Philippines (both of them have stayed three years in the country, Rafe mostly living in Manila — in the Katipunan area to be exact — and now being able to speak Tagalog fluently, while Diana now knows Cebu and its intricacies better than I do).
Here’s what Rafe wrote in my copy of the book:
Mark & Diana,
Great to meet you both here. Hope to get an opportunity to come back and do more writing about Cebu’s hoops. Daghang Salamat!
Walay sapayan ug daghang salamat pod for having us at your book signing, Rafe. Great job on the book, I really enjoyed reading it. Hope to see you again soon here in Cebu.
I hate to gloat, but heck, I’ll do it anyway. Several posts ago, i wrote:
As for the fight? James Toney, being a veteran boxer, will have the big advantage in terms of striking skills. Randy Couture, being a veteran MMA fighter, will have the big advantage in everything else. Yes, Randy Couture might be a Jack of all trades but he certainly is not a master of none. He is a master MMA fighter.
The aphorism “Jack of all trades, master of none” takes on a more positive facet when used to describe an MMA fighter.
Toney had the advantage in striking skills but Couture didn’t give him a chance to use any of them. Couture, who took advantage of the MMA rules and his MMA skills, used a low single ankle pick takedown to bring down Toney to the mat and punished the overweight boxer before excuting a textbook arm-triangle choke that finished the one-sided fight.
What was that again? Boxing vs. MMA? Gimme a fucking break.
Anyway, in the main event of UFC 118, I honestly thought BJ Penn would take what was rightfully his, the UFC lightweight belt that he lost to Frankie Edgar in their first fight at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. I thought Penn just had an off night when Edgar beat him. Man, I was so wrong. Edgar dominated Penn even more convincingly in the rematch.
Edgar, supposedly too small for 155, is the truth at lightweight. Penn has a lot of soul searching to do.
It was a pretty good show by the ALA boys last Saturday as they went 4-0 against their respective opponents in “The Philippines vs. the World” boxing event held at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel in Lahug.
Jimrex Jaca knocked out Mexican Pipino Cuevas Jr. in the first round, while former IBF minimumweight titlist Florante Condes defeated perennial whipping boy Sofyan Effendi (Effendi was already previously beaten by Milan Melindo and Bert Batawang) by unanimous decision. Melindo stopped Korean Jin-Man Jeon in the second round with a devastating uppercut to the face, while Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista won by TKO against Alejandro Barrera (Marco Antonio’s cousin).
Now for a few comments: Cuevas Jr. is (obviously) the son of former WBA Welterweight Champion Pipino Cuevas Sr. After the recent loss to Jaca, Cuevas Jr. has now lost six of his last nine fights. I guess it’s safe to say that Cuevas Jr. ain’t cut from the same cloth as his father. Condes defeated Effendi, but like I said, the Indonesian isn’t exactly one of the toughest boxers out there. To be fair to Condes, he allegedly has had managerial problems in the past, he is coming off a loss, and this is his first fight as an ALA boxer. You have to admit, the guy has boxing talent along with crushing power to go along with it, and there’s a huge chance that he can become a world champion again. I think he needs to keep the punches up, though. His monicker is “Little Pacquiao” and I’d like to think that Condes means Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and not Bobby “Blow Blow” Pacquiao.
Melindo, who is undefeated, is a great stylist, although he has never really been known as a power puncher. He has won a total of 22 bouts, with seven fights coming the short route. He has, however, knocked out his last two opponents, and I’d like to think that he has found a way to pack dynamite in his fists. Melindo’s handlers should build the kid up slowly, we all know what happens to a young fighter who gets rushed into a title fight. That said, his promoters shouldn’t feed him a steady supply of tomato cans as well. He should be challenged enough and gradually groomed for a title fight (should he continue winning, of course) in a few years’ time.
The main event between Bautista and Barrera, on the other hand, quite honestly, was a bit of a disappointment for me. The action was great while it lasted, with both boxers trading punches and hurting each other several times, but then alas, the referee decided to stop the bout because of a cut suffered by Barrera. In my honest opinion I don’t think the cut was that bad to warrant a stoppage; heck, I’ve seen worse gashes in fights wherein the cut boxer was allowed to continue. It was also a bit disappointing to see that the fight was won by Bautista via TKO because the referee ruled that the cut was caused by a legitimate punch although the replay clearly showed that the gash was opened up by an unintentional headbutt from Bautista. Well, that’s boxing for you.
Speaking of Bautista, he has to improve his defense if he wants to fight the likes of Juan Manuel Lopez or Rafael Marquez or if he still wants to avenge his humiliating knockout loss to Daniel Ponce De Leon. “Boom Boom” still got hit a little too much. He was lucky Barrera didn’t punch that hard. Imagine if he got tagged by power punchers like Lopez, Marquez, and De Leon (sorry, scratch that last part, we don’t need to imagine what would happen if Bautista gets tagged by De Leon; there are already several YouTube videos of that). Bautista still needs to improve and I do mean improve a lot if he wants to become a world champion someday.
Giovanni Segura of Mexico knocked out Puerto Rican boxer Ivan Calderon in the latter’s home turf to win the WBO and WBA light flyweight titles. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine something like this to happen.
What, you never expected Calderon to lose?
Anyone can lose. Nobody is invincible, especially in boxing.
What, you didn’t think Calderon would get knocked out?
Calderon’s chin is suspect. He got knocked down by Jesus Iribe and Hugo Cazares. So he can get knocked out, as Segura showed.
OK, so what “in your wildest dreams” could you have not imagined?
I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams that Calderon would actually fight! That was actually the first time I’ve seen Calderon trade leather with somebody since… ever. I know it’s called boxing, I know Calderon is a boxer and technically he can also be called a fighter, but never ever have I seen him, well, fight. In my vocabulary, he is a runner. He should be joining the Boston Marathon instead of fighting. In all of his fights, he has worn running shoes. In this fight, he actually laced up boxing gloves! Sadly, Calderon’s decision to fight also led to his downfall. What’s funny is that now, I respect him more in defeat because he decided to fight compared to his previous bouts where he won but ran around the ring like a fucking idiot. Paging Floyd Mayweather Jr.
I rest my case.
Good point. But you’d better rest now, literally. It’s past 1 am and you’re engaging in a Q&A with yourself. Go to sleep.
Touché! Good night!
Good night, wacko. Jeez. Sometimes this guy just scares the shit out of me.
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