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Espinosa’s sad story


It was kind of disturbing when Luisito Espinosa told me last week that he was eyeing a boxing comeback.

Not as a referee or judge but as a boxer.

You see, it’s been a long while since Espinosa, now 55, fought professionally.

In fact, it’s been 17 years since he was seen on top of the ring trading power punches.

But during quite a lengthy conversation with the guy, he kept on correcting me that it hasn’t been that long.

“2015,” he said, referring to the year when he last fought.

Besides, Espinosa said that he’s in terrific shape and hardly engages in vices and won’t have any difficulties whipping himself into form.

“I can still do it,” the former World Boxing Association bantamweight and World Boxing Council featherweight title holder said.

But Espinosa hasn’t been in the ring in ages.

Last time he was dressed to fight, he got clobbered by Cristobal Cruz in three rounds in Stockton, California.

The fight was held on 18 February 2005 at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium.

And going into the Cruz fight, Espinosa had lost four of his last seven fights, including thrice on stoppage.

“2015,” Espinosa said, his voice oozing with confidence.

I have always liked Luisito.

In fact, during my 26th birthday, he even came to my place in Manila to join in the celebration.

I was at ringside several times when he fought for the world title here and abroad.

At the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo in December 1995, I chronicled his victory over Mexican Manuel Medina. Covered as well his one-sided smackdown of Japanese Nobutoshi Hiranaka in Fukuoka in November 1996.

On home soil, I was there at ringside when he was still making his way up the rankings as a hardcore fight fan while still a student.

Writing for the now-defunct Sports Flash magazine in late-1991, I was heartbroken seeing him fade away fast and get destroyed by Israel Contreras of Venezuela for the World Boxing Association 118-lb throne at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

So when he began talking about making a comeback, I almost froze because it is crystal-clear that he is in dire need of help because, until now, he hasn’t been gotten a single centavo from the hefty $130,349 he was guaranteed for the mandatory defense against Argentine Carlos Rios in December 1997.

Espinosa knocked Rios out but he went back to South America with the purse unlike the poor champion who is still waiting to be rewarded.

The clock is ticking.

Does he have to become demented before he finally gets his wish?

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