IT would be better for former two-time world champion Luisito Espinosa to agree for an out-of-court settlement on the unpaid purses owed him during his 1997 World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight championship match against Carlos Rios in Koronadal, South Cotabato.
Otherwise, the boxing great would still have to endure another long-drawn court trial despite a recent Court of Appeals ruling in his favor.
“Kung ako sa kanya, I’ll just negotiate with the respondents. Matagal pa rin kasi' yan, puwede pa rin kasing iangat sa Supreme Court ‘yung kaso,” said no less than Games and Amusement Board chairman Ramon Guanzon during Tuesday’s weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
The Court of Appeals last week reversed an earlier ruling by the Regional Trial Court of Manila which dismissed the claims of Espinosa on unpaid purse during the Rios fight amounting to US$130,349 (around P5.7 million) plus interest.
Named respondents were the late promoter Rod Nazario, matchmaker Lito Mondejar, and former South Cotabato Governor Hilario de Pedro III.
The estate of Nazario, who died in 2009, is liable for the amount, according to the court ruling, although it can only be applied on assets and funds inherited from the late promoter of boxing great Manny Pacquiao.
Charges against Mondejar were dismissed since he was not a signatory of the contract, while De Pedro was absolved for ‘failure to prosecute’ on behalf of Espinosa.
Despite the favorable ruling, Guanzon could only sympathize with the 47-year-old Espinosa.
“Nababasa ko pa lang naman sa mga news reports but very pessimistic ako about Louie,” added Guanzon, who admitted he has yet to see a copy of the CA decision.
“Hindi rin naman basta-basta ‘yung mga taong involved, although yung isa nga, namatay na,” said the GAB chairman.
The match with Rios was the last time Filipino boxing fans saw Espinosa fight in the country. He retired eight years after the controversial bout with a career record of 47-13, with 26 KOs.