By DIAN GABRIEL EBOJO
THE (UNHEARD?) LITTLE STORY OF MARK ‘MAGNIFICO’ MAGSAYO
If there is one thing in common about Filipino boxers, most of them, if not all, came from extremely poor situations.
I first met Mark in a pick-up basketball game in our barangay in Dauis. I can recall how hesitant he was to play, since he told me that his local coach might catch and reprimand him. He ended up not playing, though.
Apart from having a specified diet plan, boxers are not allowed to play pick-up games as this might create significant injuries that might derail their careers.
At that time, he was fresh from winning the WBO youth featherweight title. He earned P200,000 after that title fight.
“Ganahan nako palitan ug tricycle akong Papa kay aron naa siya magamit pagbaligya ug pan,” (I want to gift a tricycle to my father so that he can use it in peddling bread) he proudly said.
Despite his champion status, he was just like us. He was one with the “ISTAMBAYS”. Watching the casual basketball game in the stands sitting beside me, he recalled the biggest break of his life.
“Naay boxing sa ICM. Nagbaligya ra kog ice cream adto higayona, gitawag ko ug usa ka tao sa ringside, iyang gipakyaw akong ice cream,” (There was a boxing event in ICM. I was selling ice cream when somebody at the ringside called me, and bought all of my merchandise) he recalled.
Since he no longer had to move around to sell his ice cream, he decided to stay in the site to watch the boxing show. He shadow boxed while watching. Surprisingly, the man who bought all of his frozen goodies paid attention. He later knew he was a topnotch boxing promoter from Cebu. (This was also reported by ANC yesterday)
The next time he knew, he was already training in Cebu the following week.
WHAT A BIG BREAK!
Had Mark stayed home at that time which was a Sunday, the promoter would not have noticed him. Had he not stayed in the venue after selling out his ice cream, he would have been still selling the merchandise, until now.
If there is one thing that I realized, success sometimes will come knocking at our doors when we least expect it. It is all about timing.
Who would have thought that a young boy who used to sell ice cream in the streets would fight under a dazzling Las Vegas limelight? Who would have thought that a simple ‘ice cream’ encounter can elevate him to fame?
Just like Manny Pacquiao and many of our boxers, Mark came from humble beginnings.
Is he the next Pacquiao??? It is a long shot. But considering his humility and work ethic, it is not impossible.
True to his moniker ‘Magnifico’, this little story is simply MAGNIFICENT.