LONGTIME boxing impresario Antonio ‘Tony’ Aldeguer believes professional fighters will be finally allowed to participate in the Olympic Games.
But he doesn’t see the grand plan implemented in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro or even in Tokyo four years from now.
The man behind the famed ALA Boxing Promotions stressed there are just too many factors to consider before pro boxers officially make their Olympic debut, which the International Boxing Federation (AIBA) is desperately trying to push in time for the Rio Games in August.
“I don’t think it could happen in Rio,” said the man they call ALA in an interview from Cebu City. “Happening in Rio no, but in the future yes, it should be. It’s high time.”
Asked if it’s possible for the proposal to see the light in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Aldeguer said he also doesn’t think so, adding, “Not even that, it would take longer.”
He cited the fighters, judges, and promoters as just some of the issues that needs to address first before realizing the dream of seeing the likes of boxing superstars Manny Pacquiao, Gennady Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez, Terrence Crawford, Deontay Wilder, among others, fighting in the Olympics.
“You can’t let professional boxers like Pacquiao, Donnie Nietes or anybody just fight on a four-rounder. These professionals are trained to fight 10-12 rounds. They just can’t adjust and then come in there and just fight ‘bara-bara.’ They can’t do that,” said the founder and chairman of ALA Boxing Group.
“Secondly, the judges, they can’t put amateur judges to continue judging. It can’t be the same. And third the promoter and manager will always come. They’re (boxers) under contract. It’s not NBA basketball that they can just release them.”
Aldeguer said there’s no doubt the time is bound to come when pro boxers will be able to compete in the Olympics, just like the way it is in basketball, tennis, and, of late, golf.
But the vision of Aiba president Dr. Wu Ching-kuo is easier said than done, according to the Cebuano native.
Aldeguer said the decision of Wu to put up Aiba Pro Boxing (APB) to compete with the major pro boxing bodies already created conflict between the world boxing body and pro boxers, promoters, and managers.
“He (Wu) tried to put up his professional fight. You can’t put up tournament fights with what they’re having right now,” he stressed. “Bringing in Charly Suarez, a Filipino, fighting for (Team) England, or for Team India. That’s ridiculous.
“It could not bring in the crowd, it could not bring in the money. It could not even bring in the sponsor.”
The best thing to do is for boxing people both in the amateur and pros to sit down and make a long-term plan.
“They (Aiba) think they can make a short cut and make something out of it,” said Aldeguer. “I’m a promoter, so why would you ride on my boxers? I’ve been building on that (particular) boxer and just in case he loses, what happens? Can you guarantee your judges (that my boxer can win).
“So it would be difficult,” he added. “Not this Rio (Olympics). I don’t think so.”