Pacquiao-Marquez? That was an anomaly. Try “Rambulan in Puerto.”

Fifteen of us watched the recent Pacquiao-Marquez welterweight title fight last Sunday.

(The fight occurred on Saturday evening in the U.S. but it was Sunday morning to us here in the Philippines.)

All 15 thought that Marquez won. And so like most people who saw the fight, we were incredulous at the decision. Marquez was robbed!, we all thought.

Two weeks earlier, I had the opportunity to watch several real fights at Puerto’s own boxing circus.

"Rambulan in Puerto Princesa" retirednoway

Rambulan in Puerto Princesa

Thanks to a mutual friend, Bruce McTavish, a well-known boxing official (and currently head of the world organization of ringside boxing officials), graciously offered my group front-row seats at the coliseum.

"Seating chart" retirednoway

Seating chart. We were seated in section-B.

That’s a generic chart above but it depicts the city coliseum accurately enough.

It was my first live boxing match so it was quite exciting. “Rambulan” featured seven bouts. We arrived in time for the main fight, a 12-rounder between a Filipino and a Japanese.

What’s a rambulan? Rambulan is a Filipino made-up word based on the slang definition of the English word, rumble.

Roles

"My companions: Joel, Barry, and Jess" retirednoway

My companions: Joel, Barry, and Jess

Joel’s a Frenchman who’s lived in Puerto for nearly 20 years. He’s opening his own Pension House next year. Barry’s an American boxing aficionado who also happens to have been a Hollywood screen and stage actor in his youth. And Jess’s a French-Canadian who owns the popular Jess Billiards, a favorite hangout of the resident foreigner community in Puerto Princesa.

"Ted Lerner, ring announcer" retirednoway

Ted Lerner, ring announcer

Ted Lerner, longtime Philippine resident, author, and billiards journalist, served as that evening’s ring announcer.

"The Japanese boxer" retirednoway

The Japanese boxer

The audience, overwhelmingly Filipino of course, was very polite as the Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo, was played.

"Japanese contingent" retirednoway

Japanese contingent

Everyone stood up for both national anthems. Kimigayo was played first since it was the visitor’s. It was followed by Lupang Hinirang, the Philippine national anthem.

"The ring card girls" retirednoway

The ring card girls

"The Filipino boxer being introduced by Ted Lerner" retirednoway

The Filipino boxer being introduced by Ted Lerner

This was going to be the tenth fight of the Filipino, Dado Cabintoy. His record going into this bout: eight wins and one loss.

"A commentator (and one of the judges, I think)" retirednoway

A commentator (and one of the judges, I think)

The boxers were competing for the vacant WBC international bantamweight crown. Being a title fight, it was a 12-rounder.

"Bruce McTavish, referee" retirednoway

Bruce McTavish, referee

Bruce lives in Angeles City, Pampanga (Philippines) and travels the world officiating fights as both referee and judge. He’s officiated several of Manny Pacquiao’s bouts. For instance, he was the referee at Pacquiao’s first attempt to defend a title (and it was only a minor title in the flyweight division) way back in 1997. Note: Manny won.

It was Pacquiao’s first title. He was the OPBF flyweight champion.

The Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) is a regional confederation consisting of; Australia, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of China, Samoa, Thailand, Tonga, and some of the former Soviet republics in Asia. The OPBF is affiliated with the WBC and is a valuable regional title to be held by boxers in the affiliate nations. Winning the title helps towards earning a high ranking in the rankings of the WBC, which can ultimately lead to a title shot.

Boxing Records

"The crowd" retirednoway

The crowd

Get ready to r-u-m-b-l-e!

"In this corner, Hiroki Shiino." retirednoway

In this corner, Hiroki Shiino.

"Facing off." retirednoway

Facing off.

This was going to be Hiroki’s eighth fight and his first overseas (i.e., his previous seven fights all occurred in Japan). His record going into this bout: six wins and one loss.

"Both fighters went at each other from the get-go." retirednoway

Both fighters went at each other from the get-go.

“Get-go” is an American colloquialism that means from the start.

"Trading punches!" retirednoway

Trading punches!

"Dado's turn" retirednoway

Dado's turn

"Early round action" retirednoway

Early round action

It was controlled mayhem. Then the bell rang.

"Ding!" retirednoway

Ding!

Thirty seconds later…

"Again and again, they went at each other." retirednoway

Again and again, they went at each other.

"Pow!" retirednoway

Pow!

"The girls reacting to a Dado combination." retirednoway

The girls reacting to a Dado combination.

"Giving it all they had!" retirednoway

Giving it all they had!

Ding!

"It's round-5." retirednoway

It's round-5.

"Did you notice that the Filipino boxer belongs to the Elorde stable?" retirednoway

Did you notice that the Filipino boxer belongs to the Elorde stable?

Look past those legs and you’ll see the yellow chaleco of Elorde Boxing. Yeah, whatever. Let’s see what round it is again.

"It's round-5 next." retirednoway

It's round-5 next.

Nimble, flexible, and athletic

I’m referring, of course, to the ring card girls. It isn’t easy bending through those ropes while holding a long pole and balancing on platform shoes.

"Doing it with dexterity and poise." retirednoway

Doing it with dexterity and poise.

"Well-poised." retirednoway

Well-poised.

There were men on both sides who helped them but the girls were always in control.

"Whether entering the ring..." retirednoway

Whether entering the ring...

I did have trouble focusing my camera though.

"Or leaving it, these girls were poised." retirednoway

Or leaving it, these girls were poised.

What we take for granted

The simple act of taking steps is so complex that robots have only lately been developed that can “walk.” The U.S. military has a working prototype. Walking like a person is so challenging in fact that the best “walking” robots today still need four legs.

"BigDog" retirednoway

BigDog

Bipedal locomotion, which is what we humans do, is still on the drawing board.

The 165-pound (75-kilogram) BigDog represents a major step forward for legged locomotion, a problem whose complexity had frustrated engineers, even prompting some to believe it was impossible to solve. How, for example, could a robot know where to place each foot when walking? “The problem seemed too hard; it just didn’t seem like it could be done,” said a scientist at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.

DARPA

That should’ve put things in perspective. Now we can truly appreciate these next images.

"A tricky manuever" retirednoway

A tricky manuever

"One leg at a time." retirednoway

One leg at a time.

"So tough to emulate!" retirednoway

So tough to emulate!

The secret to such superior technology lies in these limbs…

"Superior mobility. Superior technology." retirednoway

Superior mobility. Superior technology.

 and a strong back.

"Lower limbs extend from this behind" retirednoway

Lower limbs extend from this behind

"Another view of that critical behind" retirednoway

Another view of that critical behind

Once more

Who’s the better walker?

"BigDog" retirednoway

BigDog

or…

"The ring card girls" retirednoway

The ring card girls

When time stands still

Boxing rounds are three minutes long but when you’re watching a fight live, three minutes seem longer.

"Swinging away!" retirednoway

Swinging away!

"Again and again." retirednoway

Again and again.

"Stalking each other" retirednoway

Stalking each other

Clinches were infrequent during the first eight rounds but after that…

"Bruce stepping in to break up a clinch." retirednoway

Bruce stepping in to break up a clinch.

 In boxing, a clinch is when one or both boxers holds the “opponent’s body with one or both arms to prevent or hinder punches.”

"They went at it round after round." retirednoway

They went at it round after round.

Beads of sweat were now visibly flying off from their punches.

"They gave it their all." retirednoway

They gave it their all.

By the ninth round, it was clear that both boxers were exhausted. Then it became a contest of wills. One more throw. One more feint.

"Fleet footwork" retirednoway

Fleet footwork

"Tension etched on the faces of the Filipino boxer's camp" retirednoway

Tension etched on the faces of the Filipino boxer's camp

TKO

The fight ended in the 11th round. Both fighters were determined and equally matched. In the last two rounds, both fighters were running on fumes (i.e., no more gas–just vapors–figuratively speaking). It ended in a technical knockout (TKO).

"Dado goes down!" retiredoway

Dado goes down!

Dado went down. Not once but twice.

"His camp was urging him to get up!" retirednoway

His camp was urging him to get up!

He gets up and the fight resumes.

"Bruce checks his gloves." retirednoway

Bruce checks his gloves.

But less than 10 seconds later, Dado gets knocked down. Again!

"Dado gets knocked down again!" retirednoway

Dado gets knocked down again!

"The Japanese waits for his opponent to stand up." retirednoway

The Japanese waits for his opponent to stand up.

Dado stands up but he’s dazed. Bruce talks to him.

"But Dado's exhausted." retirednoway

But Dado's exhausted.

And just like that, it’s over.

"Hiroki can't believe it! He raises his gloves." retirednoway

Hiroki can't believe it! He raises his gloves.

But before Hiroki’s camp can lift and give him a victory parade, Hiroki crashes to the ground.

"Hiroki won but he's so exhausted that he crashes to the ground!" retirednoway

Hiroki won but he's so exhausted that he crashes to the ground!

Look at him and you can see how close he was to losing too.

"The agony of victory!" retirednoway

The agony of victory!

"I won, I won! Groan." retirednoway

I won, I won! Groan.

Both boxers received a warm round of applause. It was clear that the audience knew that they had seen a real fight and appreciated it. There were no boos or jeers. Nobody threw soda cans. What a nice ending unlike the Pacquiao-Marquez fight.

Afterwards, I had asked Bruce whether it could have gone either way. Only if Dado had knocked out Hiroki, he said, since Hiroki was leading on points. (Both boxers were tied until the eighth round but then Hiroki won the ninth and tenth rounds.)

"Hiroki's record" retirednoway

Hiroki's record

Appreciation

Thanks for the memorable evening Bruce and Ted!

"Barry Truex & Bruce McTavish" retirednoway

Barry Truex & Bruce McTavish

"Aurora & Ted Lerner" retirednoway

Aurora & Ted Lerner

"Rambulan ticket" retirednoway

Rambulan ticket

4 responses to “Pacquiao-Marquez? That was an anomaly. Try “Rambulan in Puerto.”

  1. That was very entertaining! Great job on the coverage.

  2. Hey, your blog is great!

  3. Pingback: It’s more fun in the Philippines! | Retired? No way!

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