June 7, 2023


News and Information

Lapu-Lapu City watched two distinct kinds of brawls last Saturday evening. One displayed finesse and savvy, the other, only brute and rage. The latter involves a licensed ringside judge and the grantor of that license.

It was a cockamamie of a spectacle; nothing can justify that action. But it happened and it cannot be undone.

While the brawl inside the Lapu-Lapu Hoops Dome was sanctioned by the Philippine professional sports regulating body, the fight outside ironically was out of anger and frustrations.

The hullaballoo erupted between Jimmy Donton, the GAB-Cebu OIC and Edgar Olalo, a licensed ringside judge. I was bemused when my source broke to me the news Sunday morning. I wondered what might Mr. Donton have done to make Edgar lose his cool?

In my years as a sportswriter, covering boxing events, I had never heard of such an incident, until that Saturday night’s Kumbati 14: Battle of Mactan post-fight scene.

I have known Edgar for some time, since I was once a member of the organization when I was sidelining as a ring announcer in 2004-2008. In most promotions, we were assigned together.

Edgar is soft-spoken, mild-mannered, a bit shy and a gentleman. Intelligent, well-educated and has an illustrious career as a banker. Heck, I thought it would take a nuclear bomb to make him blow his top. Meanwhile, I do not know Mr. Donton from Adam. All I know was that he was part of the personnel that former chairman Abraham Mitra brought in to fill vacancies in GAB offices. I do not know if he had any boxing management knowledge prior to his Cebu assignment.

Since he took over the job vacated by Celso Miranda, I heard various kinds of complaints from boxing stakeholders regarding the changes implemented and different interpretations of the rules. A hunch that he wanted total control and respect from the boxing stakeholders.

Accordingly, because of his management, a rift started to break the once-united officials’ organization. Worse, Mr. Donton was accused of throwing his weight around, starting with denial of license renewals, specifically, against an official identified with “the not favored group.”

The last time I heard, the group where Edgar belongs did not get any assignments in local promotions.

What transpired was a long and circuitous tale of insecurities and lies. And I will be lost in transition if I am to chronicle every bit of it.

As the rift continued to tear down the once strong and solid association, new chairman Richard Clarin had to intervene and take away the assigning power from Donton. Thus, Edgar got to sit at the judge’s chair last Saturday.

My source told me that Mr. Donton blurted cheesy remarks that tingled Edgar’s attention. But as genteel as he was, Edgar tried to walk away and ignored the GAB OIC.

But Mr. Donton kept harassing and was heard challenging Mr. Olalo to a fistfight. Then it happened. As the two stepped out of the gates of Lapu-Lapu City Hoops Dome, Mr. Olalo dropped a jab and a straight that broke Mr. Donton’s nose.

Fortunately for Mr. Donton, ARQ Boxing’s chief trainer Eldo Cortes was present at the moment Olalo landed the blows. If not for Cortes’ quick interference Mr. Olalo could have inflicted more injuries on Mr. Donton.

The fistfight would not have happened if Mr. Donton acted accordingly as a government official. He should not have instigated or initiated or solicited a fight. But clearly, he had an axe to grind against Mr. Olalo, he asked for it, and he got it. Worse for Olalo though, he stayed two nights in jail – blotching not only his personal record and integrity but he might be stricken out from the roster of ring officials.

I know Olalo loved officiating boxing matches because has been there long enough. Probably, he is remorseful now, but what happened had happened. As for Donton, he needs to mature.

He should have listened, sat down, and talked about things calmly. That could have eliminated his biased opinion.