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The night FVR survived an ‘attempt’

Did you know that one hot April night in 1997, members of the Presidential Security Group thought there was an attempt on the life of then-President Fidel Ramos?

The incident didn’t happen in a city plaza nor during a campaign sortie.

It took place on top of a boxing ring at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

On that night, Gerry Peñalosa was defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) super-flyweight title against mandatory challenger Joel Luna Zarate of Mexico.

Ramos was guest of honor and he occupied a lower-box seat inside the mostly-empty venue.

The Penalosa-Zarate bout was rather short.

A hideous cut on Penalosa’s eyebrow caused by an accidental clash of heads forced the ringside doctor to call a halt to the scheduled 12-rounder.

American referee Richard Steele had no choice but to stop the fight, enabling Penalosa, being the champion, to retain the WBC 115-lb diadem as the fight had been ruled a technical draw.

Ramos was requested to award the trophy to Penalosa and he marched towards the ring and climbed it without much difficulty tagging along his trusted security team.

A throng of photographers also joined him on top when the roof — no, actually — the floor caved in.

The entire floor didn’t collapse but a portion where FVR stood crumbled and he and some of his men and lensmen fell.

There was commotion, and initially, everyone thought some guy had attempted to harm the Chief Executive.

“FVR was getting ready to award the trophy to me when the ring collapsed,” recalled Peñalosa of that eventful night more than 25 years ago.

Interestingly, there was still one more fight scheduled that night.

But because the ring was already damaged and she workers won’t be able to remedy the flooring, it got cancelled.

You know who was supposed to fight next? Manny Pacquiao.

Yeah, Pacquiao, then a fast-rising flyweight, was slated to battle then Orient-Pacific titbits Raffy Montalban in a special attraction.

In fact, Pacquiao, all dressed up for war, had already been waiting patiently at the alleyway of the dressing room just like his foe on the opposite side when “disaster” struck.

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