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Thurman hits like Thomas Hearns who flattened Roberto Duran

“We all think we’ve got one more boxing match in us, and that, probably, will be the downfall of Floyd Mayweather, George Foreman, Manny Pacquiao. We’ll overstay our welcome.”

–George Foreman

By Alex P. Vidal

60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_nAT five feet and seven inches, Keith “One Time” Thurman Jr. stands only an inch taller than Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, but he looks menacing when he is in front of an opponent while ready to unload his vicious signature hooks.
He reminds of the legendary Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns (61-5, 48 KOs), a ring monster who reigned terror in the 80’s and who owned one of boxing’s most scary knockout wins: a second round demolition of the feared Roberto “Manos De Piedra” Duran (103-16, 70 KOs) at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on June 15, 1984.
Hearns was only 25 when he shot the daylights out of the Panamian phenom, considered at that time as already “past his peak and something less than highly motivated” at 33.
Thurman is 30 while Pacquiao is 40.
In that battle for the WBC super-welterweight title, “The Hitman” took control, backing the smaller Duran up with aggressive footwork and a hard left jab, making excellent use of his 12 inch reach advantage.
Generally a slow starter, Duran, who lost to Marvelous Marvin Hagler by 12-round unanimous decision on the same arena months earlier, looked to take his time and find his rhythm.
The taller, stronger, more assertive Hearns, however, never gave him a chance.
Hearns’ annihilation of Duran was viewed as one of the single most devastating right hand missiles ever thrown by “The Motor City Cobra.”
It crashed on the side of Duran’s jaw and the triple-crown champion who had never come close to being stopped in his entire career, instantly went limp and collapsed face first to the canvas.
Referee Carlos Padilla didn’t bother to count.

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Like Duran, Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) is highly-touted, revered as a dangerous ring warrior who doesn’t backpedal against taller opponents.
Technically at 40, Pacquiao is also considered already as past his prime; meaning, fans expected him to retire even before he became 35 or five years ago.
I interviewed Duran in Las Vegas in 2015 and he told me he admired Pacquiao a lot. The feeling between him and the senator from Gen. Santos City was mutual.
Pacquiao idolized Duran, who amazingly fought in five decades: 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and in his last fight in 2001 where he lost by a unanimous decision to the late Hector “Macho” Camacho in Denver.
Like Duran, Pacquiao was sometimes careless during mega fights and got walloped by Juan Manuel Marquez’s wicked short right in one of Pacquiao’s most brutal KO defeat in 2012.
The similarity didn’t end there. Both Pacquiao and Duran are hailed in their respected countries as folk heroes; they are so popular and loved by fans that they could win the presidency of their countries.
And when they unexpectedly lost important world title bouts that they should have won, fans easily forgave them and gave them a second chance to redeem themselves (Duran to Sugar Ray Leonard in the infamous “No mas, no mas” on Nov. 25, 1980 and Pacquiao to Erik Morales on March 19, 2005).

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Going back to Thurman.
Aside from Julio Diaz, Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia, those on the list of his victims were like passengers in a roller coaster rides in the Coney Island.
But they all gave Thurman heckuva and Youtube-quality fights for all the world to see and compare vis-a-vis Pacquiao’s recent jousts versus Adrien Broner, Lucas Martin Matthysse, Jef Horn, and Jessie Vargas.
Thurman is a confident fighter like Hearns.
During fierce exchanges, Thurman’s punches usually come from outside and are delivered mostly as counters. And they pack wallops.
Pacquiao’s camp might not force the issue in the first three rounds and will wait for Thurman to fade away in the middle rounds like what happened when Thurman won by decision against Josesito Lopez in January 2019.
We don’t expect a knock out either from both camps to come early or even in the later rounds. But we won’t be shocked if the more veteran fighter quits out of fatigue or after being bamboozled by Thurman’s dizzying hooks.
If underdog Thurman knows how to use science to tire out an older man, he might cruise to a unanimous decision win.
In retrospect, what transpired on that Duran versus Hearns WBC fight night in Las Vegas isn’t so shocking.
As famed writer Michael Calbert had described it: “But at the time, it was, for one simple fact: no one, not even a deadly puncher like ‘The Hit Man,’ knocks out Roberto Duran. It had never happened before; no one expected it to happen now.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

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Posted by on July 17, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

How I ‘escaped’ New York City’s power outage

“If it weren’t for electricity, we’d all be watching television by candlelight.”

–George Gobel

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

I WAS inside the Manhattan-bound Q train from Brooklyn at past 7 o’clock in the evening July 13 unaware that New York City’s worst power blackout since 1977 occurred in the midtown Manhattan and parts of the Upper West Side.
The subway train, one of the world’s oldest and most efficient public transit systems, halted operations momentarily within these areas.
The train moved again after about 30 minutes, and I immediately transferred to N train upon reaching the Union Square station (instead of the Times Square station on 42nd Street which I normally do everyday).
N train brought me straight to the Queensboro Plaza station, a plaza overlapped by elevated subway tracks and straddling the western end of Queens Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens, between 21st Street and Jackson Avenue/Northern Boulevard.
The train was full and it was a Sunday.
That’s when I learned that a five-hour power blackout had hit the heart of “the city the never sleeps.”
Broadway shows were cancelled, including Jennifer Lopez’s concert at the Madison Square Garden.
In the Philippines, power blackout is a normal event.
In America, it’s a matter of life and death for many residents as they rely heavily on electronic life; they can’t probably exist and survive without electricity.

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New Yorkers in midtown Manhattan were confused and inconvenienced. Some stranded train commuters took the cabs on their way home.
Since it happened in the Big Apple, it’s a major event.
It became a headline story in the US and other parts of the globe.
New York Governor Andrew Coumo expressed outrage and called the blackout “unacceptable.”
“You just can’t have a power outage of this magnitude in this city,” Coumo boomed. “It is too dangerous, the potential for public safety rick and chaos is too high, we just can’t have a system that does that, it’s that simple at the end of the day.”
The governor expressed relief nobody was harmed or killed unlike in 1977 when pandemonium broke loose and stores were looted after New York City experienced a blackout that lasted for 25 hours.

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New York City mayor Bill De Blasio, who was chided by Coumo for being absent in New York City during the blackout (the mayor, a 2020 presidential candidate, was on his way from Iowa where he campaigned) said federal authorities had confirmed “there was no evidence whatsoever of any nefarious activity in this situation.”
Earlier, Con Edison CEO John McAvoy assured that all customers should have their power restored by midnight.
A flash of lights came on, and people in the street cheered as he spoke in midtown.
The outage started about 6:47 p.m. with an “event” that will be the subject of investigation, according to McAvoy, who claimed that summer warmth, which can overload power grids with energy demand, was not the source.
“It does not appear related to excessive load,” he said, quoted by NBC New.
The outage disrupted life for thousands in the Big Apple.
The city’s transit authority tweeted that multiple stations were not operational and were being bypassed.
It came on the anniversary of the citywide blackout of 1977, which led to rioting and looting. That outage started July 13 and ended the next day.
A senior city official with direct knowledge of the matter said it appeared that the outage was caused by a transformer fire. The New York City Fire Department tweeted it was at the scene of a transformer fire on West 64th Street.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Pacquiao should listen to the wind of change

“Listening to your instincts, while being the easiest, can also be the hardest thing to do.”

-Tena Desae

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

THE biggest stumbling block in Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao’s presidential ambition is not Davao City mayor Sara Duterte for they both belong in Mindanao.
It’s the “rock star”, Manila City mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagos.
And the biggest obstacle in Pacquiao’s political career is Keith Thurman Jr. (29-0, 22 KOs).
If the menacing five feet and seven inches-tall American reigning WBA super welterweight champion scores a fatal win against the 40-year-old lawmaker from Gen. Santos City at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 20, the hard-hitting Filipino superstar might have to again neglect his senate obligations to focus in a rematch even if the “wind of change” has long ago swept away his invincibility.
Win or lose, Pacquiao (61-7, 39 KOs) will never retire.
The prospect of losing doesn’t scare him as long as he is able to thrill and entertain his fans.
Pacquiao doesn’t believe in defeat and retirement.
He is a ring warrior who forgets his age–and how far can an average athlete’s main faculties sustain a rigid physical activity beyond the limit.
The Filipino ring heartthrob will continue to fight as he probably needs to raise more money for his presidential dream–at the expense of his “tired and weary” bones.
His presence in the ring on July 20 to attempt to snatch 30-year-old Thurman’s belt actually defies the logic.
His handlers, if he still listens to them, share the guilt.

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As an 8-time world boxing champion, Pacquiao has nothing to prove anymore.
He doesn’t need a fame; he had abundance of it since he began fighting for money as a scrawny miniflyweight curtain raiser with a decision win against Edmund Enting Ignacio on January 22, 1995.
He should have retired a long time ago; in fact, immediately after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. In 2015 in a boring fight hyped as the richest in history of prizefighting in terms of purse and shares in pay-per-view awarded to both boxers.
The combined paychecks he got in his next five fights (winning four and losing one) after the Mayweather Jr. debacle were enough to last a lifetime on top of the reported $100 million he bankrolled from a shoulder injury-laden rumble with Mayweather Jr.
Is the bulk of that gargantuan amount still intact?

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Why continue to risk incurring a life-threatening injury by fighting the undefeated Thurman in the heavier weight (147 pounds and up to 154 pounds or 66.7–69.9 kg) when Pacquiao can very well live a comfortable and privileged life as a senator with his mind-blowing ring earnings that have breached the billion mark in Philippine currency?
Every fight for an aging boxer is always literally a fight of his life.
History is replete with horrifying tales of famous Marquee names who ended up in the wheelchair for good after they refused to quit and defied father time.
A pugilist engaged in a sustained brutal physical assault for many years (Pacquiao started receiving punishment on the head in the ring at 17 as a licensee in the Games and Amusement Board) can risk a brain injury especially if the boxer is already in a precarious level of “my spirit is still willing but my body cannot” but still decides to go up the ring.
What the body can’t absorb the spirit must obey for it’s the body that gets the pounding and blasting, not the spirit.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Let’s unite to defeat the virus

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

-Henry David Thoreau

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

ANYTHING that destroys and kills should alarm us and impel us to be united to stop it.
Whether it’s a poisonous food and drink, virus, act of terrorism, bad weather, war, animal attack, epidemic, it must be given major emphasis, importance, priority, and full attention.
The bottom line is to halt its destruction, minimize the death toll, and altogether save and preserve the human life.
In the arena of death and mayhem these past weeks, dengue fever has been the “star of the show.”
Luckily, we’ve seen how the government, media, non-government organizations (NGOs), civic organizations, individual Good Samaritans, military, Philippine National Police (PNP) have combined their talents and resources to fight dengue fever, which has reached red alert level in Western Visayas, particularly in the city and province of Iloilo.

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In times like this, we can’t afford to entrust everything to the Department of Health (DoH) and relegate ourselves in the role of kibitzers.
Dengue is not the only problem that bedevils the undermanned DoH.
Although it won’t scream for help, DoH definitely needs both moral, financial, personnel, and logistical support from concerned agencies and private groups in the battle against dengue.
If help will continue to come from a myriad of sources outside the DoH, there is no reason why we can’t help trounce the dreaded virus that have killed many Ilonggo kids and adults.
The signs that many Ilonggo leaders, organizations, and private individuals are determined to help avert a terrible dengue outbreak have been felt this past week when businessman Johnny Que and the Philippine National Red Cross donated folding beds for Iloilo hospitals inundated by dengue patients.

 
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We are saddened that another media colleague, Eduardo Dizon of the Cotabato-based Brigada News, became the latest murder victim in the country ruled by an iron-fisted president who once threatened to kill “all corrupt journalists.”
Under the Duterte administration, Dizon was the 13th casualty from the Fourth Estate.
We have no idea about the issues Dizon had tackled before he was shot to death by two motorcycle gunmen while travelling in a car on his way home in Makilala town on July 11.
Initial reports said his murder was job-related as he received threats during his radio program prior to the ambush.
Journalists in the Philippines are like sitting ducks.
Every now and then we hear reports of radioman or newspaperman being murdered in cold blood.
And we seldom hear that the cases are being pursued seriously by authorities; or, if the culprits have identified, they are brought behind bars and convicted,

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We hate to again mention that the culture of impunity in the Philippines must have emboldened enemies of press freedom to silence Dizon, who was partly a politician.
The danger that crusading journalists face in the Philippines can be compared to the danger combatants in actual armed combat are facing in the battlefield: no one knows who will fall next.
Authorities must exert strong efforts to arrest Dizon killers soon so that the international community will not accuse the government of “abetting” the murder and connect it to the drastic campaign against illegal drugs now that the Philippines is under scrutiny and being monitored by the United Nations for its horrible record in human rights.(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Bus venture’s snafu is everybody’s business

“Since most corporate competitors have the same problems with sustainability and social reputation, it’s worth trying to solve them together.”

–Simon Mainwaring

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

WE don’t agree that the corporate feud among the siblings that operate the Philippines’ biggest bus venture “is none of the people’s business.”
It may be true in as far as the corporate territory is concerned, but not in as far as public interest is concerned.
The Yanson family-controlled Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI), Bachelor Express Inc., Rural Transit Mindanao Inc., Sugbo Transit Express Inc. and Mindanao Star Business Transit Inc. may be a private enterprise, but their clients, the customers are the riding public.
The nature of the transportation business can not detach the company from its inherent social responsibility and accountability.
Since the aforementioned bus companies operate through a franchise issued by the government to serve the public commuters, public interest is very much involved, vital and necessary.
So much so that if the bus operations will be hampered and cause prejudice to the riding public as a result of any mismanagement or internal wrangling in the venture, the government is empowered by law to take over the company’s operations.

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Thus the people have the right to know what’s going on and how are the corporate board and officers handle and resolve the snafu.
Lawyer Sheila Sison, who represents Roy Yanson’s group (that wrested control of the company from Roy’s younger brother Leo Rey after a boardroom mutiny on July 7, 2019), meanwhile, has assured the public: “Despite this revamp, the board assures the public, its employees, and all its stakeholders that the company remains committed to serve the riding public. Company policies and programs will remain the same, and its transport services will continue to be fully operational.”
Leo Rey, on the other hand, has “condemned the act of the de facto President, Roy Yanson in bringing in armed men inside company premises, sowing unnecessary fear amongst the employees. The act of the de facto President will surely hamper the operations of the company and spread confusion among the employee.”
Based on these contrasting pronouncements, the tumult may still be far from over.
In the name of public interest, we shall continue to monitor whether the contending parties can hack out a win-win solution or one party will decide to throw the white flag in favor of the other party.

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According to spiritual book author Max Lucado, worry happens when we keep our problems to ourselves or present our problems to the puny deities of money, muscle, or humankind.
“The act of prayers moves us from a spirit of concern to a spirit of gratitude,” he explains. “Even before our prayers are answered, our hearts begin to change.”
Lucado suggests that we take these steps:
-take your worries to God;
-find a promise to much your problem; and
-pray specifically.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Admin cases? Shrug them off

“Life is about having a good time, and it was a good time. We did some things well and some things poorly, but that was always the case.” 

–Norman Lear

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

PARENTS of children who live in the cities and provinces in Western Visayas with high percentage of dengue fever cases, based on the statistics of the Department of Health (DoH), are still restless and getting paranoid.
They fear that even a simple insect bite on their kids’ skin will land them in the hospital.
Most of these worried parents, who can hardly make both ends meet, think they will face a terrible financial meltdown once their kids undergo medical proceedings for a mere insect bite.
Even if a red mark on their children’s skin was caused only by a bite of an ant or any insect that doesn’t carry a life-threatening virus, the parents panicked and feared for the worst.
This explains why government district hospitals in Iloilo have been inundated with patients mostly children with high fever and other signs of dengue infection.
Unless the dengue scare has been nipped in the bud, hospitals would continue to swell; this would justify the declaration of the state of calamity by the local governments.

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Much has been written on how to prevent or fight dengue fever, but the ones suggested by Dr. Janice Litza, a Board Certified Family Medicine Physician based in Wisconsin, on May 12, 2019, are probably the most practical and logical. Dr. Litza suggested the following:
1. Stay indoors or under a mosquito net during peak mosquito times. The dengue mosquito has two peak periods of biting activity: in the morning for several hours after daybreak and in the late afternoon for several hours before dark. Nevertheless, the mosquito may feed at any time during the day, especially indoors, in shady areas, or when it is overcast.
2. Use insect repellent when outdoors. It is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites when you will be spending time outdoors in mosquito infested areas. Apply insect repellent to all exposed areas of your skin before heading outside
3. Cover your skin. You can reduce your chances of being bitten if you cover up as much of your skin as possible. Wear loose, long-sleeved shirts, socks, and long pants when you will be traveling to mosquito infested areas
4. Get rid of standing water in your area. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Mosquito breeding sites include artificial water containers such as discarded tires, uncovered water storage barrels, buckets, flower vases or pots, cans, and cisterns. Help to reduce the mosquito population in your area by getting rid of any standing water that has collected around your house or campsite

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ALLIES of Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas in the Iloilo City Council should not worry about the administrative cases for dereliction of duty as public officials filed against them by their former colleagues, lawyers Joshua Alim and Plaridel Nava.
Better still, they shouldn’t overreact.
In fact, they should expect more cases in the future (if they misbehave) now that the two firebrands are “outside thekulambo,” so to speak.
Administrative cases are normal for government officials. The least they can get if found guilty is a rap in the knuckles.
No one will go to jail. No one will lose a “lucrative” committee chairmanship. No one will be subjected to humiliation like in a criminal case where an accused public official can lose both his reputation and position if convicted for stealing the people’s money.
Cases like the ones these Treñas allies are facing is an indication that democracy is alive and kicking in Iloilo City.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Insatiable and a spoiled brat

“Man is insatiable for power; he is infantile in his desires and, always discontented with what he has, loves only what he has not. People complain of the despotism of princes; they ought to complain of the despotism of man.” 

–Joseph de Maistre

By Alex P. Vidal

60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

ARE the ongoing woes being experienced by at least 12 government hospitals in Iloilo a result of the late reaction to seriously address the dengue cases?
Was the May midterm elections the culprit?
If the elections weren’t held two months ago, health and local government officials probably would have given full attention to the deadly virus and ample preparations would have been sufficiently made earlier.
The reported spill over of dengue patients in these hospitals that resulted in shortages of beds means the government was caught unprepared when dengue was wreaking havoc.
As early as in September 2018, the Bacolod City Health Office already reported seven deaths mostly children aged 3 to 11; one was 23 years old.

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Also in February 2019, the Department of Health in Central Visayas reported that 28 have died of complications arising from the dengue fever virus since January 1, 2019.
The regional epidemiology and surveillance unit of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) reported that from January 1 to February 16, 2019, they have recorded 3,681 dengue cases, which represents a 233 percent increase when compared to the 1,105 cases recorded over the same period in 2018.
Meanwhile, all the 12 Iloilo government district hospitals are facing a crisis after 1,984 dengue-related patients have been admitted as of July 9, 2019.
The number swelled only about three days after Gov. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. signed an executive order on July 5, 2019 declaring a dengue outbreak.

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The last time I interviewed Alan Peter Cayetano was in June 2015 at the Philippine Consulate in New York City.
He was then a senator and trying to coax would-be presidential candidate Rodrigo R. Duterte to be the former Davao City mayor’s runningmate.
He got what he wanted from “Tatay Digong.”
Cayetano wanted to become vice president but was badly clobbered by now Vice President Leni Robredo and second placer Bongbong Marcos.
The son of the late Sen. Rene Cayetano had also wanted to become a senate president but fellow senator Koko Pimentel dashed his dreams to pieces.
But when he wished to become the foreign affairs secretary, this time Alan Peter Cayetano got what he wanted from “Tatay Digong.”

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When Alan Peter Cayetano left the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)-with a not-so-impressive performance–he ran and won as representative in Taguig-Pateros in the recent elections.
Now an elected congressman, insatiable Alan Peter Cayetano wanted to become the House speaker.
After so much jostling and cajoling, the spoiled brat of Philippine politics again got what he wanted from “Tatay Digong”–albeit a term-sharing deal with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
Alan Peter Cayetano is perhaps the only Filipino politician who thinks a public office is a Ferris wheel or a tour bus.
He is both insatiable and a spoiled brat under the Duterte administration; and this made so many people suspect that he is not really sincere in public service and only wanted to establish a record in government service for himself.
We won’t be surprised if, after they have mangled the constitution and change the system of government on the behest of President Duterte, Alan Peter Cayetano will next aim to become a prime minister.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2019 in Uncategorized