by Ronnie Nathanielsz
With the classy presentation of “Pinoy Pride XXI,” the showcase of ALA Promotions and the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN where style is a way of life, and the fascinating venue of Solaire Resort and Casino overlooking picturesque Manila Bay, the consensus is, it will be an extremely hard act to follow.
The performance of a roster of emerging world class prospects who emerged in an exciting fight card, the overall exquisite ambiance of Solaire, the presence of the leading lights of the network led by Gabby Lopez, president Charo Santos-Concio and others members of the Lopez clan as well as the man with the glorious voice whose vision it was that drove ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer, himself a youthful gentleman of undoubted class to move the fight from Bacolod to the “Entertainment City”, Peter Musngi, all added up to a night to remember.
The presence of a galaxy of network stars, both the glamorous ladies and the handsome hunks, elevated the evening into one of sports that transcended into the fullness of entertainment which is what boxing is essentially all about.
The Solaire Resort and Casino now puts pressure on the captains of business and industry to answer the challenge by building stadiums or venues in Cebu that can compete with Manila which also has the superb Mall of Asia Arena and the historic Smart Araneta Coliseum, the “Mecca” of Philippine Sports and Entertainment, to keep boxing in the Visayas and Mindanao regions where most of the champions and challengers come from.
Surely, the decrepit Cebu Coliseum where our country’s greats like Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and Gerry Penalosa fought, has been erased from the public mind which, in itself, is a reflection of how the cancer of politics sabotaged a plan by former governor Gwen Garcia to build a competitive venue in what is known as “The Queen City of the South.”
How can a “King” Arthur Villanueva for instance, who showed his potential at Solaire winning handsomely against a fearsome Mexican challenger in Arturo Badillo, return to Cebu which surely doesn’t have a stadium fit for a “King” or even a street-fighter who rose to become a world champion like Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo.
No way a “Tiger” can prowl in the Cebu Coliseum to begin with after the glamorous surroundings of Solaire and the remarkably stylish ambiance.
“Pinoy Pride XXI” indeed made us all proud of how ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN have taken the presentation of championship boxing to world class levels even surpassing Las Vegas whose resort hotels and casinos must truthfully pale in comparison to Solaire.
The challenge for the partnership of ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN which was recently extended for another ten years is, what next?
The combination enhanced no doubt by The Filipino Channel and its huge following around the world has established ALA Promotions as a player on the international arena of boxing and with a growing number of Filipino fighters who Michael Aldeguer believes are the best in the world in terms of the number of potential champions, the prospects are even brighter.
We’ve always maintained that the Philippines, whether it be in boxing or entertainment, creative genius and genuine style is not just the best, but better than the best.
We need to keep punching in this direction.