"ALA" Boys: The Long and Winding Quest For a World Championship
It's not very often that you see a fight card in which fighters wear the same boxing trunks, specifically black-colored boxing trunks with the word ALA printed in red, bold letters beneath their waist line unless you're watching any of the ALA boys fights.
The ALA gym named after Mr. Antonio L. Aldeguer, a boxing patron in his native Cebu, is famous for molding young prospects and world champions. (For background info click here)
In cooperation with Golden Boy Promotions and other well-known international matchmakers the ALA boys were given the much needed exposure and publicity at the same time given priorities in undercards of big fights in the US.
However, the quest for producing world champions seems to be in disarray. As of the moment the gym has only a single world champion in Donnie Nietes.
There prospects were dubbed as "Future" world champions but through the years people seem to ask,
When is the "Future"?
The ALA boys had their chances in the past but they somehow failed to grab the opportunity.
Much has been said about the poor style, misguided training and the fact that these young ALA boys were simply over-hyped.
Well, Over-hyped or not the ALA boys are living with fame and fighting with so much expectation. You can't blame the critics' eyes that are always keen and harsh on them.
Still, all's not lost, They just have to face the problem no matter what it is.
Let's scrutinize the ALA boys wasted chances.
Czar Amonsot vs Michael Katsidis
In a heart-pounding, mad brawl. Katsidis outpoints Amonsot to retain his WBO title. Amonsot totally unknown in the United states fought up a good fight.
Many expected that Katsidis will have a walk in the park but Amonsot proved the doubters wrong as he did not only hang in there to live for the full 12 rounds but he also showed tremendous heart and he literally deformed Katsidis face.
However, Amonsot came up short in his bid for the world title as Katsidis was the work horse throughout the fight.
Twice the ALA boy was knocked down, twice the ALA boy came back and beat Katsidis as hard as Katsidis beat him.
With his heroic loss Amonsot earned great popularity in his hometown of Bohol.
Just look at Katsidis' face..
Hence a loss is still a loss..
Rey Bautista vs Daniel Ponce de Leon
At the time of the fight. The Filipino boxing enthusiast are hoping that Bautista the 21-year old spitfire is the apparent heir to Manny Pacquiao's throne.
Ponce de Leon on the other hand is seeking for a willing and able challenger brave enough to battle the feared Mexican.
So it was arranged. Bautista vs Ponce de Leon, the main event of the fight card "Mexico vs Philippines, world cup of boxing"
The whole nation had high hopes for Bautista and expects that they can sleep well with the thought of a new world champion in their minds.
Well, I don't know If they slept well or If they even slept after watching the fight that ended in a one-round brutal affair-to-remember for Bautista.
Take a glimpse..
Z Gorres vs Fernando Montiel
In the fight card dubbed as "The Moment of Truth"
Gorres gave his best shot against the Mexican catalyst Fernando Montiel. There were no knockdowns but Gorres was deducted a point.
The thousands of Cebuanos who filled the arena including yours truly felt that it was Gorres "Moment of Truth"
Gorres was leading in my scorecards but not in two of the three judges'
Everyone has his opinion so I leave it to you, here's the championship round..
AJ Banal vs Rafael Concepcion
The second coming of Hector Camacho as quoted by Jose Sulaiman, Banal, the classy bazooka earned his world title shot by knocking out undefeated Caril Herrera of Uruguay.
The buzz and excitement brought about by the media was overwhelming.
The fight card was named after Banal, ("Laban na Banal, Panahon na")
All the 95 million inhabitants of the Philippine Archipelago hoped that "Panahon na" (It's time)
The fight started great for the young ALA warrior but as the fight progresses it was evident that Banal is running out of steam.
He was leading in my scorecards and probably in all the judges scorecards after he was knocked out cold, perhaps out of exhaustion by a powerful liver shot from Concepcion.
Watch the trailer and be awed by the too-good-to-be true promotional gimmick
After all that's been said, done and written. I still hope the best for the ALA Boys and I believe that time will come that they'll be world champions, If not, I'm sure they already are champions in the hearts of all Filipinos.
Z "The Dream" Gorres never ever stop dreaming.
Czar Amonsot a true braveheart.
Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista only time can tell.
AJ "Bazooka" Banal, you can bazooka your way to a world championship.
"I'm sure he's still going to be a world champion" - Oscar De La Hoya, in an interview following Rey Bautista's loss to Daniel Ponce de Leon
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