CEBU CITY, JUNE 13, 2011
(STAR) By Abac Cordero (PHOTO - Referee raises the arms of Rey ‘Boom Boom’ Bautista. ABAC CORDERO)

The unfinished business between Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista and his Mexican foe, Heriberto Ruiz, remains.

Due to nasty cuts on both fighters caused by numerous headbutts, the ring physician called a halt to their fight, dubbed “Grudge Rematch,” after seven rounds Saturday evening at the Waterfront Hotel here.

Bautista, who lost to Ruiz on points in their first encounter in Las Vegas in 2008, was the winner this time, after the fight went to the scorecards. All three judges had the 24-year-old Filipino up when the fight was stopped.

Bautista raised his arms when he was declared the winner, but before that, the Mexican camp had started their own celebration, thinking they had won the fight scheduled for 12 rounds.

Ruiz shook hands with Bautista but left the ring shaking his head.

The crowd of some 3,000 booed after the final decision was announced, probably because they had wanted a clean fight or that they had expected a better performance from Bautista, who held back his punches when he should have thrown them.

He got the 33-year-old Mexican hurt a couple of times, but he just refused to pounce on him and go for the kill. It looked like he froze and watched each time he hurt his opponent.

A local daily had its headline shouting yesterday, “Boom Boom Booed.”

Bautista, now the new WBO International featherweight champion, said he gave his best, but the Mexican came to fight a very dirty fight.

“It was the same tactic he used in our first match. I was also cut during that match. He is a dirty fighter. The fight hasn’t even heated up when he started to head butt,” said Bautista.

“I didn’t want the fight to end this way. But it had to because of the cuts. I would have gone on fighting even if I was bloodied. But that’s boxing. I would like to fight him again in a rematch if there’s a chance,” he added in Filipino.

Bautista started bleeding from under his right eye in the third round, and in the fifth it was Ruiz who was cut, also in the right eye. There were numerous warnings of headbutts and low blows from the Filipino referee, Atty. Danrex Tapdasan.

But it did not stop both fighters from colliding, and in the seventh round, at the 2:29 mark, another clash of heads left Bautista bleeding again from a two-inch cut over his forehead. The ring physician was called in, and shortly after he ordered the fight stopped.

As part of the crowd started booing, the Mexican camp started celebrating, thinking that they were ahead in the scorecards. They may have some reason to do so because Ruiz had landed good punches that could have won him a couple of rounds.

“I’m disappointed,” said Michael Aldeguer of ALA Boxing. “Boom Boom wanted to win and give the crowd a good fight.”

Flyweight Edwin Dapudong gave the fans a good fight when he knocked out Indonesian Benja Loemeli in the fourth round, as well as welterweight Jason Pagara who stopped Mexican Juan Carlos Gallegos inside three rounds.

The crowd had wanted more heading into the main bout of the evening, but didn’t get it when the fight came to a halt due to headbutts.

“That’s boxing,” Bautista repeatedly said.

Disagreement on Boom Boom verdict THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) Updated June 13, 2011 12:00 AM

CEBU CITY, Philippines – There was a lot of disagreement here regarding the verdict of the IBF International featherweight championship which was bittersweet revenge for Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista. The bout was stopped in the seventh round on account of a deep, two-inch gash high up on the left side of the new champion’s head, obviously caused by a headbutt.

The crowd loudly booed both the premature stoppage and the intervention of referee Danrex Tapdasan’s, but it’s the ringside physician, not the referee, who calls off fights. The discerning Cebuano fight fans figuratively smelled blood in the water, as they could see Bautista’s new skill and power starting to take its toll on his former tormentor Heriberto Ruiz. But the climax was cut short by the continual attempts of “Cuate” to use whatever tricks he had to distract the Boholano fighter.

“We wanted Boom Boom to wear him out, that’s what we trained for,” revealed promoter Antonio Aldeguer. “And we could see it was starting to work, because Ruiz was slowing down.”

To be fair, Bautista started out poorly. The first round saw both fighters probing and moving around the ring, trying to gauge each other’s improvement since their initial clash two years ago. In the second round, Bautista hardly threw any punches, getting caught with the occasional flurry from Ruiz, whose father Ediberto was incessantly screaming instructions throughout the bout. The third round was more of the same, and the crowd started to cheer their hero on.

By the fourth round, Bautista’s solid defense was causing Ruiz to expend too much energy, and the Mexican would even push out his mouthpiece so he could breathe better. Bautista realized he could absorb Ruiz’s best combination, and the visitor started clinching and clashing heads with the Filipino, to the consternation of the crowd. Short flurries were constanly being exchanged, and almost every time, Ruiz would tie Bautista up. Those early rounds were also marked by several low blows by Ruiz, which fortunately did not find their mark. At the end of the fourth round, Ruiz leaned on his thighs, catching his breath. The fight had reached a turning point.

With more variety in his punches and renewed confidence, Bautista turned up the pressure, with Ruiz tryng to showboat and show that he was okay. A solid left to the body would draw a grimace from the Mexican, and the crowd knew that Boom Boom had him. Ruiz’s punches were losing their sting. His father kept motioning and screaming for him to attack, but Bautista was mostly unaffected. Each fighter had a small cut on the head from all the clinching.

In the seventh round, as action was picking up, Ruiz and Bautista banged heads again. This time, blood started flowing profusely down the side of Bautista’s forehead onto his face. Tapdasan quickly stepped in and called for the ring physician once again. The ugly gash was ruled to be dangerous, and the fight was stopped.

The judges were unanimous in giving the win to Bautista, but some parties disagreed with the margin of victory, arguing that Ruiz had made the fight close. But the question was the volume of punches Ruiz threw, it was the impact and the quality of the blows. Even if he threw more, his punches were ineffective beyond the third round, as Bautista was wading through them like monsoon flood. If the fight had gone on, Ruiz would have gone down towards the end of the fight.

The disappointment that spectators expressed was not because of either boxer, though some did complain that Ruiz held too much after saying at the weigh-in that Boom Boom’s style had not changed. Their disappointment was also caused by not seeing their hero consummate the victory on his own terms. Once again, they left feeling the experience was incomplete.

“You could see Boom Boom’s improvement,” says ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldeguer. “He has more power now, and he’s had to overcome a lot to get to this point.”

ALA is now considering a third fight with Ruiz to settle the issue once and for all. The importance of this fight was not lost on fight fans, as it could have marked the end of a fighter’s career even before he had had the chance to reach the pinnacle of his profession.

In the undercard, 18-year-old Jayson Pagara scored his 27th win in 28 fights and 16th knockout with a sweet demolition of Mexican Juan Carlos Gallegos. Early in the fight, Pagara kept testing his right hand which he had been strengthening in training. Finally, he fell back on his old staple, the left jab and hook, and floored the visitor. Pagara may be sent to the US to train, since at 140 pounds, he will have trouble finding sparring partners here.

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Congratulations to Karl Heinz Neumann for the succesful opening of Der Kaiserhof German Restaurant on Rahmann St., just off Mango Ave. It is a new place for discriminating diners and media personalities in Cebu to find excellent food and select German beers.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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