Before Rey Boom-boom Bautista (32-2-0) could throw his first punch when he faced Genaro Garcia of Mexico tonight, thousands of Boholanos made a mass exodus from the vast Carlos P. Garcia Sports Complex where the Pinoy Pride XII was held for the first time in this tourist-famed island province.
Round 1 ended with Bautista not throwing any punch for he himself knew that a simple punch would send Garcia (10 wins and 11 losses) to the canvass. To the canvass did Garcia land on when Boom-boom unleashed his first punch.
It seemed that Bautista, who hails from the town of Candijay, Bohol, was pressured to finally unlock his arms after the crowd started to walk out. Before the mass exodus, loud boos were heard. Some were cursing, some were laughing.
Though it was not Bautista’s fault that he was fighting the wrong man, believed to be one of the street drunkards in Mexico because of his bulging belly and unmanly body structure, the pride of Bohol became the shame of Bohol.
When Bautista was introduced into the ring, it was apparent that there was something wrong in the air. The Boholano people hardly applauded their very own Bautista.
There were more cheers thrown for Jayson Pagara and Genesis Servania, both fighting in the undercard and winning their respective fights, than for the son of Bohol.
Pinoy Pride 12 was sponsored by both Ala Promotions and ABS-CBN with ticket prices ranging from 500 pesos to 1,500 pesos. The general admission was 50 pesos. And those who had bought tickets were dismayed that the fight was not worth their hard-earned money.
Outside the CPG Complex, people were demanding that their tickets should be refunded for such shameful and disgusting boxing scandal that should not have happened in Bohol where Boom-boom claims his roots.
Michael Aldeguer, CEO of Ala Promotions, has been quoted by philboxing.com as saying that people who bought tickets will be refunded. But during the whole duration of the boxing affair, there was no announcement that tickets would be refunded. Practically, only insiders are aware of the ticket refund.
Boxing fans in Bohol were heard outside the sports complex complaining that they were being cheated and that they were being deceived, an allegation that Ala Promotions had earlier denied.
It was understandable that boxing fans in Bohol would feel that way because it was not explained to them, at least before the start of the Bautista vs Garcia or even during the weigh-in and press conference, that Bautista would be fighting a fake Garcia.
“They should have told the public about this error to avoid misunderstanding by the public,” said one spectator. “It seems that there was cover-up of the identity of Garcia but it was leaked in social networking sites and even in Bohol Bantay Balita, a daily Cebuano newspaper in Bohol.
Tonight’s fight was Boom-boom’s first return since he fought here six years ago where he floored a South African fighter in the first round.
The mantra of Boom-boom that “away ni nako para sa Bohol” became a laughingstock among boxing spectators.
ABS-CBN has not issued a statement whether it would replay the Pinoy Pride 12 on Sunday, March 4, considering that before Bautista could throw his first punch, the mass exodus had already taken place.