MANILA, MAY 8, 2007
(STAR) By Joaquin Henson - The way is clear for the ALA stable’s hard-hitting Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista to challenge WBO superbantamweight champion Daniel Ponce de Leon of Mexico in the main event of Golden Boy Promotions‚ second World Cup in Cebu or Manila in late August or early September.

Bautista, 20, stole the thunder in the blockbuster "The World Awaits" card in Las Vegas last weekend by scoring a unanimous 12-round decision over rugged Argentine Sergio "Rocky" Medina in an action-packed WBO title eliminator.

"I will win the title," said Bautista in the dressing room after defeating Medina whom he dropped twice. "I will prepare even harder for Ponce de Leon than Medina. I’m going for the championship."

ALA stable owner Tony Aldeguer said Oscar de la Hoya plans to visit here soon and survey possible sites for the dual meet between the Philippines and Mexico with the $500,000 diamond-studded trophy at stake.

Aldeguer said at least three world title bouts will be featured in the World Cup. Aside from Ponce de Leon staking his crown against Bautista, WBO bantamweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez is penciled to face veteran Gerry Peñalosa and WBO superflyweight titleholder Fernando Montiel will meet challenger Z Gorres in a grudge rematch. A possible fourth championship fight could pit WBO lightflyweight ruler Hugo Cazares of Mexico against Cebu southpaw Bert Batawang.

"Oscar loves the way Filipinos fight," said Aldeguer. "He’s definitely headed for the Philippines. He has a lot of respect for Filipino fighters. We owe it to Oscar for including Boom Boom and (A. J.) Banal, who are not yet well-known in world boxing, in the undercard of his big show."

Gonzalez was initially reluctant to fight here because of the danger of losing by a hometown decision but after Montiel beat Gorres on a split verdict in Cebu last February, the apprehension died down.

"I think Montiel’s victory allayed fears of getting a raw deal in the Philippines," said Aldeguer. "Gonzalez is now convinced he’ll get fair treatment."

Gorres appeared to have done enough to beat Montiel but to the surprise of some 20,000 spectators in the downtown open-air Cebu City Sports Center, lost a split decision. Montiel, bleeding with his left eye nearly swollen shut, escaped by the skin of his teeth.

Peñalosa, 34, moved up two weight classes to challenge Ponce de Leon in Las Vegas last March. The Mexican retained his WBO title via a unanimous 12-round decision. Two judges gave Peñalosa a single round and the other, none in a lopsided verdict that drew a howl of protest from the Filipino.

William Detloff, writing in The Ring Magazine, said "Ponce de Leon is one of the purest punchers in the sport but is so hopelessly crude and one-dimensional that his punch alone just won’t do it at the higher levels – in fact, we think he was very lucky to get the nod over Peñalosa."

Peñalosa will drop down to bantamweight to meet Gonzalez who has won 19 of his last 20 outings. Gonzalez, 25, is set to defend his WBO diadem against Jose Navarro on July 21.

Cazares, managed by Montiel’s father Manuel, stopped challenger Wilfrido Perez in the second round in Las Vegas last Friday and is tentatively booked to battle Ivan Calderon in Puerto Rico on Sept. 25. But if Batawang disposes of Mexico’s Francisco Rosas in Anaheim on May 26, the 35-year-old Filipino could be tapped to meet Cazares instead in the World Cup.

Batawang has a 50-6 record, with 34 KOs, and is in the twilight of a long career that started in 1990.

Aldeguer said he isn’t keen on a Montiel-Gorres rematch but there is public clamor for another encounter because the first meeting was far from decisive. Gorres is eager for a payback.

Bautista’s fight against Ponce de Leon will be the stellar attraction in the World Cup card. It’ll be a war to end all wars as both fighters like to engage and slug from close quarters. Ponce de Leon’s record is 31-1, with 28 KOs compared to Bautista’s 23-0, with 17 KOs.

Fil-Am group to fund P70-M athletes’ quarters By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 05/08/2007

A four-storey athletes’ dorm may soon rise inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

And the good news is that the Philippine Sports Commission won’t spend a single centavo for its construction.

Chairman Butch Ramirez said the Federation of Philippine-American Chambers of Commerce, based in Los Angeles and headed by Dr. Yolanda Ortega Stern, is behind the project.

It was first drawn up a few years ago, when Eric Buhain was still chairman of the PSC. But for some reasons, the project, which will cost no less than P70 million, was shelved.

Ramirez is hoping that the construction of the dormitory which will benefit hundreds of national athletes will finally come through. The PSC chief plans to meet FPACC officers in the US in a month or two.

"There’s no clear picture when it will be realized but the last time we talked to them (FPACC), probably after the May 14 elections we can start mapping it out,"said Ramirez, adding that an 800-sq meter area behind the RMSC tennis center may house the dorm.

Ramirez said it will be adequately built with rooms that can accommodate 500 athletes, a large mess hall, cafeteria, conference room, multi-purpose hall and even a swimming pool.

Athletes from different sports like boxing, badminton, sepak takraw, rowing, weightlifting, pencak silat are cramped at the historic sports complex along Vito Cruz, while the rest stay at the Philsports in Pasig and Teachers Camp in Baguio City.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved