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OPINION

Apolinario’s one-two punch

Dave Apolinario, the heavy-handed flyweight who put an end to the string of heartbreaking losses of Filipino fighters overseas, was busy as bee on a rainy Monday.

He had an early dinner appointment with a group of scribes in Makati and he still managed to make it.

But he didn’t get there on time.

He got struck in traffic because it was already rush hour and it was raining hard.

When he sat down, joined by promoter JC Mananquil and chief handler Mike Pelayo, he was still clad in his Barong Tagalog.

Hours before that, the reigning International Boxing Organization (IBO) 112-lb king had been to the Senate.

He went hopping around, posing pictures with lawmakers and regaling them with stories of his sensational first-round knockout of Gideon Buthelezi in East London last 29 July.

As soon as he settled in, Apolinario gorged on ebi tempura, yakitori, wagyu, fried rice and a couple of tasty noodle dishes.

After eating, Apolinario just remained quiet, only talking when asked to respond to a question, leaving all the conversation to Mananquil and Pelayo.

Mananquil was in attendance in South Africa during the Apolinario fight while Pelayo opted to remain owing to a pressing matter.

It was clear that Apolinario is being guided by a couple of good men in Mananquil and Pelayo.

“I have heard people say that if you want to get back at someone, you tell him to get into boxing, promote or even manage a fighter,” Mananquil said.

Mananquil insists he doesn’t have any bad blood with Pelayo who got into the fight game as a manager by way of Mananquil’s mother.

Instead of being harassed and forced to cough up money, Pelayo has been handsomely rewarded.

Of course, Pelayo looks after Apolinario’s needs with Mananquil guidance.

Things are looking up for the team.

Apolinario himself doesn’t want to spend the rest of 2022 stagnating.

He wants the big fights and he wants to prove that his demolition of Buthelezi was not a freak accident and that he is not a one-trick pony.

“Bring ‘em on,” Apolinario said.

The IBO strap that he holds right now doesn’t glow as the ones being dangled by champions from the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization.

Even Mananquil admits the IBO is not as prestigious.

But you gotta give Apolinario credit for pulling off the shocker in Africa.

Hats off as well to the dynamic duo behind the boxer’s sudden rise.

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