Marcial has the edge

This is my Fair Play column for SunStar Cebu’s May 15 edition.

Olympian boxer Eumir Marcial is in the news again but for the wrong reasons just a few weeks before the Tokyo Olympics.

Marcial, who receives P43,000 a month from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), said he’s not getting much support in his quest for the Olympic gold.

That post stunned Abap (Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines), the boxing agency, and the PSC, which, in fairness, has been more generous in supporting athletes than the previous admin.

And I think, given the circumstances, that may have turned off a few fans too. During this time of uncertainties, a lot would give an arm and a leg for an assured P43,000 per month.

And didn’t he turn pro last year, getting a P10-million signing bonus from MP Promotions?

Let me digress a bit. Manny Pacquiao did the country a favor. Marcial was being courted left and right and he swooped in, telling the boxer that his primary goal should still be the Tokyo Olympics.

HAPPIER TIMES. Eumir Marcial (second from left) is joined by Abap president Ricky Vargas (third from left) during the Elorde Boxing Awards. (Photo grabbed from Eumir Marcial’s Facebook page)

He trained in the United States and won his pro debut in December 2020.

He’s apparently now back in Zamboanga.

In the US, P43,000 a month won’t last you long but in the Philippines? Yes, I know most of our national athletes are breadwinners and their allowance to go to themselves only but to their families, too.

Yes, he got P10 million as a signing bonus from Manny Pacquiao but I guess, if he was forced to dig into his personal pockets for his duties for the country, we can understand the frustration.

He mentioned, in his post, that P43,000 is not enough for plane tickets, accommodation, food, coaching staff, supplements, masseur etc.

Surely it’s not enough and you may think that he’s being a bit of a prima donna but I think he felt he was justified in asking for that since the PSC has been giving Hidilyn Diaz, EJ Obiena and Carlos Yulo the full complement.

And Marcial did mention that in an interview with Noli Eala, saying, “Regarding the support that Hidilyn, Carlos Yulo and EJ Obiena get, I haven’t gotten that kind of support.”

I think he would have, had he not bolted for the US last year.

But that’s water under the bridge.

Now, he has put both himself and the PSC between a rock and a hard place. It’s just two months to go before Tokyo, the PSC will have to accommodate his demands for Diaz or Obeina level support.

As for the Olympian, well, all these demands make us think, “You better bring home the gold and don’t you use the lack of support as an excuse should you fail to do so.”

I hope in the next few days, Marcial, Abap and the PSC will iron out the kinks. Yes, it may seem like bowing to a prima donna athlete but until the Tokyo Games start, Marcial holds all the cards.

We have to give him all he wants if we want to win that Olympic gold. And I think whoever is advising Marcial is giving him variations of that line.

I hope, too, that Abap and the PSC learn from this the next time an Olympic-bound boxer decides to turn pro a year before the Olympics.

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