Rio-bound Ladon, Suarez unfazed by possibility of facing pro boxers in Olympics
Roger Ladon and Charly Suarez say speed and year-long training give amateur boxers the edge over their pro counterparts. Jaime Campos

ROGEN Ladon and Charly Suarez believe amateur boxers still have an advantage over professional counterparts should the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allow pros in the Olympics.

The International Boxing Association (Aiba) is serious in its bid to bring in professional boxers to the Rio Games this year, as boxing is one of only a few sports that doesn’t allow pros in Olympic competitions.

It's a move that even has Manny Pacquiao curious, as he also expressed interest in competing in the Olympics for the Philippines following a decorated professional career.

Despite the possibility of pros boxing in the Olympics, Ladon and Suarez are unperturbed by the chance that they might face professionals in Rio, even saying amateur boxers like them have unique advantages.

Ladon said the amateur boxers’ speed is what gives them a clear edge.

“Medyo mahihirapan din sila sa amin kasi gamit namin ‘yung bilis namin. Hindi namin gamit ‘yung lakas,” said the light flyweight fighter.

Suarez, who is already competing in Aiba Pro Boxing events, agreed with Ladon’s assessment, and noted the amateur boxers’ year-round training as another key advantage.

“Marami na rin ako naka-sparring na professional. ‘Yung bilis ng amateur tapos dagdagan mo pa ‘yung training na mahaba, parang mahirap din talunin kapag amateur,” Suarez said.

National head coach Nolito Velasco, however, pointed out that the intimidation of facing a pro boxer remains a factor for an amateur fighter.

“Kahit sabihin mo na tatalunin ko si Manny Pacquiao, siyempre parang ayaw mo rin sumuntok,” said Velasco. “Pero mahihirapan din ang mga pro kasi three rounds lang eh. Baka warm-up pa lang sa professional ‘yun.”

Regardless of whether Pacquiao competes in the Olympics or not, Velasco said the Filipino boxing superstar has accomplished a lot in the pro ranks that it wouldn’t be a disservice for the country if he is not allowed to compete in Rio.

“’Yung eight times na champion siya, sobra pa sa Olympics ‘yun,” said Velasco.

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