Here’s hoping Nonito stays the course

This is my Fair Play column for SunStar Cebu’s July 3 edition.

YOU know boxing is really a strange sport when one fighter says the fight is off, while another says it is on. A day after Nonito Donaire Jr. said his fight with Johnreil Casimero is off, Quadro Alas told fans that it is still on.

Relax, he told fans. Well, we wouldn’t be at this junction had he taken his own advice and taken a chill pill.

The reactions from fans have been mixed. There are those who accuse Donaire of ducking; there are those who want the fight off because the two champs shouldn’t be facing each other and there are those who said Donaire, being a veteran, should know this is all show.

WHO’S RIGHT? A day after Nonito Donaire Jr. (right) announced the cancellation of their unification fight, Johnreil Casimero (left) said it is still on. (GETTY IMAGES)

As for me, I hope Donaire stays true to his word and cancels the fight. There are just some lines you do not cross, even if your role is to be crass in boxing. One pointed out that in 1980 Robert Duran mentally psyched out Sugar Ray Leonard by insulting his wife. Well, that was 41 years ago and boxing went 15 rounds then.

The world of sports is different now. Insulting your foe’s wife to get a slight edge is a tactic that deserves to be buried. Are you supposed to check your humanity at the door just because you got a title shot?

Some say Donaire should just shut Casimero up in the ring. I say no, that’s a bad idea.

You punish bullies, not reward them. Regardless of how the fight ends, a hefty pay day is enough reward for Casimero and his camp. Being rewarded for being crass won’t change the sport and those who think that anything goes is normal in the leadup to a fight.

That insulting women is normal because men fight men with fists.

Perhaps that’s what’s wrong with boxing and why some say it is dead. While other sports have changed to catch up with the times, it seems the sport is stuck in a medieval era.

Perhaps having more women getting involved in the sport might change it, but given how Rachel Donaire got treated, it seems some are just not ready for change, stuck in the old ways.

Fighters in the ‘80s and ‘90s said nasty things because they knew it would help promote the fight. The nastier the better since it will hog the headlines, like Iron Mike’s I will eat your kids. It’s 2021, there’s no need to do that. If a fighter wants to get a message across, all he has to do is write one in his social media page.

So I hope Donaire stays true to his word and cancels the fight. That way, Casimero will be known as that rare one who talked himself out of a fight. And that, perhaps, will teach the next generation of fighters, handlers and managers that there are some lines you do not cross.

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