by Brian Yalung
Last August 21, 2019, we took time out to interview the PH Muay Thai team who was coming off a successful showing at the East Asian Muaythai Championships in Hong Kong. Aware that one of the weaknesses of the Filipino fighters was boxing, coach Billy Alumno introduced us to the man helping out in that area – Arlo Chavez.
Chavez is a former PH boxer who represented the country at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Better yet, the 53-year-old pug was the flag bearer for the Philippines at the time. He also won gold medals in boxing in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1995.
Among his notable accomplishments for the country include a gold medal in the welterweight class during the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima and a bronze medal finish at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.
Chavez stopped boxing when he was 29. He pointed out how his 1992 Olympic stint left him demoralized. He knew that expectations were high on him, especially since he was the flag bearer for the Philippines then.
“Ako yung flag bearer non eh. Tapos siyempre once na flag bearer ka, inaasahan ka ng buong delegation na mag excel, manalo talaga. Eh yun nga, napulikita tayo sa laro. Nanalo lang ako ng isang beses. Bumagsak talaga morale ko, di na ako naka recover,” shared Chavez.
The former Olympian had plenty of stories to tell, including why he suddenly disappeared in the local boxing scene and his take on eight-time division champion Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao Still Yearning For More
According to Chavez, a boxer’s career decline usually starts at the age of 35. But as far as Pacquiao is concerned, he sees something different. Instead of a decline, he sees the Filipino boxing icon still going strong.
“Sa type ng laro kasi ni Manny, kahit na nagkaka-edad na siya, hindi nagbago laro niya. Naghihingad pa siya. Sa boxing kasi, pag umabot ka na ng 35, medyo pababa ka na. Si Manny, naka-level na siya pero pataas pa din siya. Parang hindi na bumaba, patuloy pa din ang pag-angat,” said Chavez.
“With the style of Manny (Pacquiao), even if he is aging, his game remains the same. He is still craving. In boxing and when you reach the age of 35, a fighter usually declines. But in the case of Manny, he has reached that level and continues to rise. He isn’t showing a decline and continues to rise,” said Chavez.
Fight On Pacquiao!
With regards to Pacquiao’s decision to continue fighting, he supports the decision. The former gold medalist of the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games believes that only the Pac-Man can say when enough is enough.
“Tama yon. Hangga’t kaya at hindi naman humuhupa. Ganun pa man, siya lang mismo ang makakapagsabi kung hanggang saan kaya ng mga buto niya. Maramdaman naman niya yun eh. Flexible naman ang boxer eh. Pag medyo tagilid ka na, iwas ka na,” he said.
“That is right for as long as he is not on the decline in his boxing career. Only Manny can say up to when his body can take it. He will feel it eventually. Boxers are flexible. When they feel they are compromised, they will step away,” he said.
Pacquiao Clearly Won Against Thurman, No Rematch Needed!
Chavez was able to catch the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight. He believes Pacquiao won that fight clearly and sees no reason for a rematch.
“Sabi ng kampo nila (Thurman) nanalo daw sila. Pero siguro one-percent lang sa kanila, atin 99-percent. Kasi ganon talaga. Kahit talo kampo mo, papanalunin mo,” said Chavez.
“According to them (Thurman’s camp), they won. But maybe that was only one-percent, 99-percent for us. That is usually the case. Even if your camp loses, you want them to be recognized as winners,” said Chavez.
The former Olympian also feels that a Pacquiao vs. Thurman rematch would not make sense.
“Hindi na. tama na. Tapos na yung part na yun. Tapos na yung chapter na yan. Nabigyan na siya ng chance. Di na mauulit. May chance siya na madale si Manny, pero napakaliit na chance,” he added.
“No, enough. That part, that chapter is done. He was given the chance. It should not be done again. He had a chance against a Manny but a small one,” Chavez said.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao II Will Still Be Exciting
Asked on a Mayweather rematch, Chavez believes it will still be a fight to watch. Both stand to still earn big from that fight although he questions the conditioning of Mayweather. The retired American boxer has not been competing for quite some time and this could work against him if a rematch does come to fruition.
Pacquiao Boxing Until 50
Asked on how long he sees Pacquiao fighting, Chavez believes the Pac-Man can fight until he is 50-years-old.
“30 to 40 years old, pababa na ang boxer. Pero iba si Manny eh. Sa lifestyle niya, kahit singkwenta (50) kaya pa niya. Kahit busy sa trabaho, parang workout na din kasi yun. Kelangan mo pa din magising ng maaga at madami options. Pede siya mag jogging at mag-handa para pumunta sa opisina. Siya ang pinaka busy na boxer na tao ngayon,” he said.
“At 30 to 40 years old, boxers usually decline. That is not the case with Manny. With his lifestyle, he could fight until he is 50-years-old. Even if he is busy with his job, it serves as his workout. He needs to wake up early and has options. He can job and get ready for work. He is one of the busiest boxers to date,” said Chavez.
Will Pacquiao Still Fight If He Becomes PH President?
There is growing belief that Pacquiao could run for the Philippine presidency. Should that happen, does he see the boxing icon still fighting?
“Siguro maghahanap yan ng paraan. Kasi hindi naman siya tumititigil eh. Kahit na ganon, nag-aaral din yan. Depende din. Kasi di naman basta mawawala ang boxing sa kanya. Kung kaya ng katawan mo bakit hindi? Isang beses lang tayo nabubuhay,” ended Chavez.
“He will find a way. He is not stopping and carefully studies things. It depends. Boxing is something that will not go away for him. If his body can take it why not? We only live once,” ended Chavez.