A week prior to Hidilyn Diaz’s victory… and whoever joins her in the most awesome Olympic club ever…
… the gold medal winners…
… ABS-CBN’s NXT produced a segment in which they ask the century-old question on why on earth does the Philippines falter in the Olympics.
Anyway, it’s a good watch because the talking heads are Magkasangga 2000 star Monsour Del Rosario and former Okay Fine Whatever funnyman Onyok Velasco. Onyok also shared the same spotlight with Ian Veneracion and Paolo Contis in the late 90s sitcom Tarajing Potpot and with Manny Pacquiao in Show Me the Manny during the early 2010s.
Now I am not dissing Onyok Velasco but look at how awesome the glory Hidilyn Diaz received when she won the silver medal in the Rio Olympics. Onyok had to become a sidekick – complete with slapstick shticks – so he could have a steady income and QUIT the sport where he garnered respect and adoration. Velasco is one of two medal winners in his family and while 1992 bronze medalist Roel Velasco has stayed on to become a boxing trainer, Onyok Velasco went into showbiz due to lack of government support.
Onyok destroys his opponents en route to an Asian Games gold medal… and then wavers at the sight of a rolled-up newspaper.
People forget how Velasco ALMOST won the gold medal against Bulgaria’s Daniel Petrov in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Commentator Ron Delos Reyes literally cried on-air while analyst Recah Trinidad openly criticized the judges in that controversial match.
The Olympic world of combat sports is political in nature. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) – the governing body that takes care of Olympic boxing – is at the moment suspended due to numerous corruption allegations. Anwar Chowdhry, the AIBA president from 1986 to 2016, has had documented beef with Filipino boxing officials. He also created a computerized scoring system that in some ways made it easy for the judges to score but at the same time, made scoring matches insanely inaccurate.
To oversimplify this, you just need to check out Aaron Gordon’s second Slam Dunk Contest when Dwyane Wade got flak when he gave the high leaper a “9” because he did not “feel” the dunk. Just imagine a boxer in desperation with the judges not “feeling” his efforts.
At least the current system works… which is similar to how most pro combat sports are judged. The “per round” scoring system gives the judges a wide-scale perspective of how the round turned out. Sure, there will still be political shit but it’s not going to be obvious especially with most of the world checking out the action and with the scores flashed after every round.
Also with the AIBA suspension, the Olympic Boxing Council is exclusively overseeing the action. This means there is a chance that boxers are going to win with their skills and not with the influence they bring. Also, perhaps the culture of Japan is rubbing on the peeps?
I guess this is why our boxing delegation is going nuts inside the squared circle. As of this writing, Nesthy Petecio is going to go “full monster” on her opponent to get the other gold medal. And then her boxing friends like Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam are also going to hammer their fists en route to victory.
Without the hint of corruption, other neglected boxing organizations could also pull ahead. This is not a one-way street dedicated to the Filipino surge. Thailand is basically a slightly better version of the Philippine contingent and this showed with their fighter ending the Tokyo journey of flyweight Irish Magno.
But this is a problem that’s not really a problem. After all, everyone wants to have a fair shake and in some ways, this evens up a lot of things.
There is a chance that Diaz and Petecio aren’t the only ones to finish the Olympics with a medal.
You can also bet that a lot of them are gold medal sure bets.