This appears in the Monday, November 19, 2012 edition of the Business Mirror.
PXC 34: more misses than hits
PXC 34: more misses than hits
by rick olivares
If you wanted Erwin Tagle to be like Rocky in Rocky V, like the Expendables in The Expendables I and II, or like Space Cowboys, or like the durable and evergreen Singaporean striker Aleksandar Duric who still scores goals like nobody’s business then you would have come away disappointed after Tagle, who despite being at 34 years of age and clearly the crowd favorite, was toyed around before being systematically destroyed by PXC Flyweight Champion Ale Cali with a third round Technical Knockout.
Tagle entered to the loudest ovation given to any fighter at PXC 34 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum but across the three systematic rounds of humiliation and destruction, but one round later, they had mostly turned into boos as he looked outclassed and outgunned. There were boos as well for Cali who turned into equal parts Muhammad Ali, BJ Penn, and to borrow the description of sportswriter Karlo Sacamos, Popeye.
Of all the fighters who entered the cage on fight night, it was Cali who walked in with the most swagger. I asked him later why he was supremely confident and was oozing buckets of it – was it Tagle’s age and time off from the cage I asked as well – and the champion said that fighting big names like Tagle was how one made a name for one’s self. “Gutom ako,” he said. “Gusto ko lumipad. Gusto ko lumaban sa ibang bansa para masubukan ko yung kakayahan ko sa mga ibang MMA fighters… sa best sa mundo.”
Cali wasn’t looking at this fight. He was looking beyond it. That’s how confident he was. And while Tagle landed some of his trademark kicks on the side of his face at least four times causing it to swell, Cali, gave much more in return as he rained down strikes, kicks, and reversed one too many situations on the canvass that had Tagle perhaps wondering about the folly of fighting a man 13 years his junior and was in excellent form.
When Tagle lay on his back to goad Cali to come down, and the champ looked at him in disdain, the crowd began to boo. They booed Cali too as they felt that he refused to finish the fight as early as the second round when Tagle was bloodied, exhausted, and more and more like a fighter on his last legs.
Tagle did get him on the mat on two occasions but Cali not only slipped out of it but he even managed to reverse whatever he tried on him. Talk about taking one’s best shots.
It was difficult for Tagle’s fans to watch the fight as they stood in stony silence or with a hand covering their mouth or on top of their head. The cheers for Cali only got louder especially after everyone in attendance recognized the greatness of the young fighter from Davao.
Cali was also Pacmanesque in his post-fight interview where he was like Alexander the Great who wept after realizing that he had nothing left to conquer. So Cali asked not once but twice for an opportunity to fight abroad. PXC veteran Jon Tuck was in attendance and the Guamanian had already made his UFC debut in Macau weeks ago and Cali felt envious. “I want a chance,” he said in the vernacular.
If Cali said a mouthful (and he was well within his rights to do so), it was the opposite for Fil-Americans Mark Striegl and Harris Sarmiento who were co-headliners for PXC 34.
|Mark Striegl is now 12-0.|
During the presscon two days before fight night, Sarmiento was asked of his thoughts about fighting someone like Striegl, a rising star in MMA who carried an undefeated record of 11-0. Said Sarmiento who had made Hawaii as his homebase, “I don’t care who it is. I just came to fight.”
It’s good to know that some prefer to do their talking in the ring. Unfortunately for Sarmiento, Striegl is the truth!
Striegl was on target with his strikes and kicks and he took down Sarmiento twice in the first round. In his second takedown, he got his foe to submit when he applied a shoulder lock from a scarf hold barely two minutes into the first round. It was an impressive victory for Striegl against a tough foe who had fought some really great fighters. And now, he is 12-0 and deserving of a title shot.
Another fighter who barely had his hair ruffled was Eugene Toquero who battered Jerome Wanawan that the fight doctor had to put a stop to the fight. Toquero made Wanawan eats some knees that had his glassy eyed.
Newcomer Dustin Kimura took charge in the second and third rounds with an impressive comeback against Guy Delumeau who bloodied him in the first round. Kimura knocked Delumeau out with seconds to spare in the third round with some serious punches.
That’s about it. The other fights were lacking in quality. I can live without the star power and would love to see new comers but if its going to be the hardly impressive Hong Seung Chan making Wu Qize wish he did something else with his life then I hope we had a television set on hand where I could have instead caught the new episode of The Walking Dead that I missed. That or more Abby Poblador.
PCX 34 had a few hits – very few if I may say so – as there were more misses. I love MMA and welcome what PXC is trying to do but they might have been better served had they still done this at Ynares Arena in Pasig as opposed to the Smart Araneta Coliseum that wasn’t even close to half full.
Nevertheless, a massive round of applause to Messrs EJ Calvo and Eli Monge for PXC. You guys do the sport proud.
Things I'd like to see greatly improved:
- The internet connection at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. It has sucked big time for over a year now. And it conks out during big events. If Smart can't do anything about this maybe we can go Globe or someone else because this is very annoying.
- For post-match presscons for the PXC, maybe we can have a moderator because some media guys hog the microphones and then when you read their post-match reports it hardly contains the answers to the dozen questions they asked.
- The match commentary be made available to the media. I understand the fights and the submissions and whatnot but it gets real hard to watch the fight when you need to explain to other people what's going on so you miss jotting down notes. Sorry for this -- when I covered the One Fighting Championship in Singapore, we had an ear piece available for all media and that helped understand what was going on given the limited view we had since we were placed in the back. In this respect it isn't so bad to borrow an idea as long as the fight cards are explosive because no one can copy that.
Above: A hooded Erwin Tagle makes his way to the cage. Below: With Big John McCarthy backstage.
With some of the models/Vixens.