This is my Fair Play column for SunStar Cebu’s June 26 edition.
When Johnreil Casimero lost to Jonas Sultan in his last fight in Cebu, I thought the former champion, who a year earlier lost his title in the scales, was done for.
Based in Cebu for the early part of his career and under the tutelage of one of local boxing beat’s favorite manager Sammy Gello-ani, he disappeared for a while due to contract disputes.
It was a pleasant surprise when he burst into the boxing consciousness again with a scintillating knockout win over Zolani Tete on Nov. 30, 2019 to capture the WBO bantamweight title and followed it up with another knockout win over Duke Micah on Sept. 26, 2020.
That win against Micah, and the subsequent publicity, was quite telling as it showed how different that Casimero was from the Casimero who was used to be based in Cebu.
Like all Cebu-based boxers, heck like most Filipino boxers, you’d be lucky to get a statement other than “we’ll just see in the ring” pre fight. Talking trash and predicting knockouts are simply not in the nature of a Pinoy fighter.
Casimero broke that mold and some may have been turned off but I guess anything goes in the world of boxing.
After that Micah fight, a clip of him insulting Japanese champion Naoya Inoue was widely shared but I knew it was just an act after Casimero, struggling with the English language in the middle of insulting Inoue, looked off cam and asked someone, “Unsa na ang kuan pre? Kanang. Fuckening English.”
That was cute. But a few months later, nobody thought it was cute when Casimero belittled Jerwin Ancajas, who at that time was being written as a possible Inoue foe. That was out of line, I thought. There’s no drama or fight to sell, why diss a fellow Pinoy champ?
A few days ago, when we all learned Nonito Donaire vs. Casimero was happening, I wondered how Casimero would behave in the promotion of the fight. Honestly, I don’t thin there’s a need to go through theatrics to promote such.
But it seems Casimero has missed the memo and if he’s not careful on Twitter, he might just alienate himself. Insinuating steroid use? Tsk. Tsk. That’s a big no-no.
Nonito’s wife and manager, Rachel, has expertly answered. Burned Casimero as the millennials call it but the guy seemed oblivious. So oblivious that he retweeted someone who insinuated Manny Pacquiao of avoiding tests.
SMH as millenials would react. And this came less than a week after the fight was announced. What would the guy do in the coming days?