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Limpag: Budler befuddled in ‘cooking’ claim?


AFTER going at each other for 12 rounds of intense exchanges, challenger Hekkie Budler took Milan Melindo’s hand and raised it. He waved to the crowd and pointed to Melindo as if to say, “Cheer for your champion.”

When the decision was announced, I saw the visiting African smiling and I thought, “That’s a game fighter who accepted a tough decision.”

Or so I thought.

Aside from his camp questioning the verdict, there was a nasty headline about how “home cooking” did Budler in in Cebu.

Nice, there’s home cooking and there’s home cooking. How could there be home cooking when the referee Wes Melton was from the USA and the judges Carl Zappia (Australia), Takeo Harada (Japan) and Glenn Trowbridge (USA) were all foreigners?

And no offense to Melindo, he’s one of the marquee fighters of ALA now, but a promotion’s lifespan is more than a boxer’s, and cooking fights won’t do well for an outfit’s future in the sport. By the time both fighters will call it a career, ALA Promotions will still be here, holding world title fights.

It’s funny, the last time a visiting fighter cried robbery was when Z Gorres fought Vic Darchinyan almost a decade ago; Gorres has since retired after a life-threatening injury while Darchinyan has been reduced to a fraction of the fighter he once was.

So, did Melindo win thanks to the generosity of the judges? No. Everyone saw how he soldiered on for 12 rounds despite those nasty cuts that would have made a lesser fighter quit. And didn’t Melindo score a knockdown in that crucial 12th round? Making it a 10-8 round for him?

Hometown decisions are a fact of life in boxing, but that doesn’t mean a visiting fighter’s loss should be automatically attributed to it. Perhaps, Budler simply failed to deliver what was expected of him.

And one more thing, Budler was the challenger and I’ve been told numerous times that challengers need to do more to win the close rounds and there were sure a lot of close rounds.

If anyone had the right to cry robbery that night, though, it was Jason Onyango, who settled for a draw with a lethargic Jason Pagara. The once highly-rated Pagara seemed to have worn a “hit me” sign on his head all night long and the replacement foe gamely obliged.

The crowd made their displeasure known when the draw was announced and before Pagara ever entertains world title dreams again, he’d better be able to handle the Onyangos with ease.

By the way, I’m not saying Onyango got robbed, I’m just saying that between him and Budler, the Kenyan had more right to complain.

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