CEBU, Philippines – WBO Vice President for Asia-Pacific Leon Panoncillo said the disgraceful incident involving a fight between Filipino boxer Jonriel “Quadro Alas” Casimero and Argentina’s hometown idol Luis Alberto “El Mosquito” Lazarte has dealt a ‘blackeye to boxing.’
“Well, boxing is a contact sport but the incident really brings blackeye to the sport. It could be controlled with sportsmanship. It’s just the fans of Lazarte we’re so emotional. They couldn’t accept the defeat of their hometown idol that’s why they probably acted that way,” said Panoncillo, who was among those who greeted Casimero upon his arrival the other day at the Mactan International Airport.
“But for what had happened, we should not punish the whole of Argentina” added Panoncillo, who is among the major awardees during the 30th Spotswriters Association of Cebu-San Miguel Corporation (SAC-SMC) on March 3 at The Terraces of Ayala Center-Cebu.
Even Casimero’s stablemates at the International Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IPI)-owned Omega Boxing Gym were fuming mad over the plight of their comrade.”What they did was despicable,” said super bantamweight contender Charlie Pucdol.
“Had I been there at the venue, I would have fought back because I couldn’t stand what they did to him,” butted Virgilio Silvano, an aspiring light flyweight.
In recounting their harrowing ordeal, Casimero’s business manager Sammy “Don King” Gello-ani said it was their presence of mind that kept them away from further harm.
“When the fans attacked us, it was a good thing that we have presence of mind. We did not retaliate. Had we fought back, it could have been worse,” said Gello-ani.
At the height of the melee where chairs, punches, botttles and other hard objects were flying all over the arena, Casimero said he doesn’t know what to do.
While being kicked several times, Casimero said he just crawled his way out until he was able to hide under the ring where he stayed for almost an hour before he was taken out to safety by security personnel.
“I was already tired after the fight. At that point, I couldn’t think of anything other than to protect myself. I was lucky enough to get out of harm’s way,” said the 22-year-old Casimero.
Casimero stopped Lazarte early in the 10th round to claim the vacant IBF light flyweight title last Friday night (Saturday morning Phl time) at the Club Once Unidos in Mar del Plata of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires.
But even before referee Eddie Claudio of New York could formally declare the winner, a swarm of angry Argentine fans flocked to the ring and attacked Casimero and his team. The IBF officials and some cooler heads who tried to prevent the situation from getting worse were not spared by the wrath of irate fans.
Nevertheless, Gello-ani said they are still willing to go back to Argentina but it depends on who are they going to face and where the fight would be held.
Meanwhile, Casimero left yesterday for his hometown in Ormoc City to attend the wake of his younger brother Gerald.
Casimero wanted beforehand to use part of his US$15,000 prize money for the hospital treatment of his brother but could no longer do so as the 17-year-old Gerald died of heart ailment a day before Casimero left the country or the Lazarte fight.
“Despite the tragedy that befell his family, Casimero was still able to win the world title for the Filipino people. That only shows how strong and courageous a person he is,” said Gello-ani, who reveals that Casimero’s next fight would either be in Japan or Las Vegas.