Maker of champions
That’s how Filipino boxing icon Gerry Peñalosa described the legacy that ALA Boxing has left throughout the years.
“Para sa akin, maker of champions. Ang dami na nilang napa-champion na boksingero. Part sila ng boksingero na nakapagbigay ng karangalan dito sa ating bansa,” declared Peñalosa in an appearance in Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ The Hit List, presented by SMART.
“With the help of ALA, aside sa akin, nandoon ‘yung [Donnie] Nietes, [Milan] Melindo, marami… Marami silang natutulungan na boksingero na napapa-champion nila under sa wings nila. Masasabi kong isa silang champion maker.”
Just a week ago, the Cebu-based promotion founded by Antonio L. Aldeguer announced its closure after 35 years in the business due to the major blows brought by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the non-renewal of broadcast partner ABS-CBN.
And Peñalosa, who is known as one of the finest fighters that the stable ever produced, felt downcast upon hearing the news that the promotion he once called home finally closed its doors.
“Siyempre, nakakalungkot pero of course, rerespetuhin natin yung decision nila. Sa panahon ng pandemic, wala kang choice. Gusto man tumulong pero wala silang magawa dahil sa pandemic, sa economy pa lang at sitwasyong ng ABS-CBN, talagang apektado,” told Peñalosa in the vodcast hosted by Nissi Icasiano and CA Starridge.
“Naiintindihan mo pero sad talaga kasi parang institution ‘yung ALA eh. Ang dami nila matutulungan sana. Ang dami na nilang natutulungan. Talagang proven na sila ‘yung number one company sa boxing.”
Known as one of the pillars that helped build Philippine boxing, the 48-year-old Peñalosa believes that the closure of ALA will be a huge loss to the entire country, especially to the fighters who are now left without a home.
“Malaking bagay na mawala ang ALA kasi unang una, sila ‘yung nakikita kong mas establish[ed]. Although lately hindi na sila ganon ka-active dahil sa nag-close na rin ang ABS-CBN. Pero ang kagandahan nun, ‘pag nandoon ‘yung ALA, makikita mo ‘yung activity ng boxing, lagi may mga sinusundan ‘yung mga tao,” said the two-division world champion Peñalosa.
And for everything that ALA has done — not just for his career, but for the whole country as well — Peñalosa vows to extend his hand to all the fighters affected by the promotions’ shutdown.
“I think masasabi ko lang, hold on lang. Hintayin natin matapos ‘tong pandemic. If ever man na mayroon ako matulong, hindi naman kailangan as promoter, kumbaga commitment… Pero as former boxer naintindihan ko sila, kung ano ‘yung kailangan nilang gawin. As long na kaya ko, hindi niyo na ako kailangan na tawagan, ako mismo lalapit sa inyo.”