For this issue, I am writing an open letter to lawyer Eduardo Tolentino, whom I highly respect as a prolific boxing and sports writer/analyst:
Dear Kuya Ed,
When I was watching the rematch between Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan, I was more than happy that it was you, along with veteran Ronnie Nathaliesz, who was doing the commentary. And I loved every word that you blurted out, since you always know what you are talking about when it comes to the manly art of boxing.
I really do not know when was the first time I read your column, but when I took over as Sports Editor of The Manila Times at the beginning of 2009, I knew very well that I had a “ace” in you as a sports columnist. From the many columns of yours that I have read, it is very clear that you know the business, beauty and ugliness of boxing.
And why are boxing writers and analysts like you very important to the sport, not only nationally but internationally too?
Boxing is actually a complex sport with lots of complex personalities, and the sport’s publicity plays an important role in making it the top sporting event in the world, and chronicling its rich history. I am not talking here of publicists or public/press relations people, but of writers and analysts who have seen the sports thrive, and knows its history by heart. We are talking here of people who venerate Bert Sugar, undoubtedly the greatest boxing writer of all time.
But why write about boxing? While I have spent much of my journalistic career writing about business (and will continue to do so), and know the rudiments of business and economic reporting, I have discovered that writing about boxing requires a certain kind of flair and intelligence that I cannot put into words yet.
So why do both of us write about boxing? And in your case, why bother to be a boxing commentator?
I guess that boxing has a certain mystique, for does it make sense that two equally physically-built or matched men try to beat the brains out of each other? Or does it make sense to egg one of the protagonists to send his opponent to dream-land? And does it make sense that the protagonists, much of the time, hug each other as if they were gay lovers even after beating the hell out of each other? Well, to you and me, all of those make sense because boxing is a sport where man’s primal urges are best expressed, and where sportsmanship (thankfully) has greatly improved over the decades. And the sport needs brilliant writers and commentators like you to continue its envious legacy.
But in this era of cyberspace, it is very easy for any boxing spectator to go online and denigrate fighters, just because of a personal or racial bias. And these people have the gall to market themselves as “boxing analysts.”
Just look at how some so-called boxing analysts are quick to denigrate the recent win of Donaire over Darchinyan, because the Filipino needed nine rounds to finish the Armenian. I wonder if these so-called boxing analysts know what a “Suzie-Q” is.
And I know very well that you know the difference between denigrating a boxer’s performance or stock, compared to dishing out objective criticism. Your written works and commentaries clearly show the difference.
By the way, how many times have we met since I joined The Manila Times? And unfortunately for you (or perhaps fortunately for you), I no longer am fond of downing bottles of beer after work. So how about a sumptuous dinner along with our Sports Editor, Perry Mallari? For old time’s sake? I am awaiting your treat. . .