By Dennis 'dSource' Guillermo
Witnessing Donnie Nietes' courageous victory over Ramon Garcia Hirales at the St. La Salle Gym in Bacolod more than a week ago lit a fire inside stablemate Rey Bautista, more popularly known as "Boom-Boom".
“I'm inspired because I saw one of the people that I'm always around, give it his all and fight without fear. I know he was getting tired, because I'm a boxer too, but saw the courage in him to keep going, which is why I think he's a World Champion,” Boom-Boom told me after the fight.
Once upon a time Boom-Boom was one of the most popular and admired Filipino boxers during the time when the Pacquiao fever was just taking off. Golden Boy Promotions, headed by Oscar Dela Hoya, even went as far as coming down to Cebu to court Bautista and take him under their promotional banner. At a time when being "The Next Manny Pacquiao" seemed like a hot idea, Boom-Boom was forced to carry the brunt of that label as he was being hailed in the media as "the next best thing".
But after a fateful loss to the older and much-experienced Daniel "Ponce" De Leon back in August of 2007, Boom-Boom's career went on a tailspin. Boom-Boom was only 19 then, and hid a hand injury he suffered a week before the fight in fear of his biggest opportunity getting taken away from him.
The outcome was devastating.
Boom-Boom lost his first and only world title bid thus far, before he even had a chance to get warmed up as De Leon knocked him out in the very first round.
Boom-Boom immediately tried to bounce back and shake off the loss, but after only three fights and a little over a year, he dropped the second loss of his career to the tough veteran Heriberto Ruiz and faced a career-threatening hand injury.