Espinosa asks BBM for help

Former boxing champion Luisito Espinosa needs help. Make that in dire need of help.
Espinosa lived in the United States for over a decade and was forced to return to the Philippines after his marriage collapsed.
Before getting back, Espinosa worked in a Daly City casino and even moonlighted as a boxing gym trainer. Later, he transferred to Hong Kong where he was employed as a fitness instructor.
But the two-time world champion simply could not get a break and opted to head back home to Manila where he attempted to alter his fortunes.
Luck seems to be elusive for the 55-year-old former bantamweight and featherweight titleholder as he continued to struggle with his life.

It’s been a long time since he saw his children — John Louie and Janica — who have all decided to live in America and Espinosa remains lost in a world oozing with pain and misery.

For a time, Espinosa lived somewhere in Cavite but this writer got in touch with him on Wednesday with help from US-based sports scribe Virgi Romano, the fighter nicknamed “Lindol” (Earthquake), who said he is now residing in Fairview with a new benefactor he calls his “boss.”

Espinosa has grown so desperate that he is planning to reach out to the Games and Amusements Board to allow him to get a new license.

But not to become a trainer or work as a boxing referee or judge.

Shockingly, Espinosa said he wants to stage a ring comeback.

“I am still in shape. I don’t have vices. I can still do it,” Espinosa said.

Reminded that he is way too old to box again professionally, Espinosa swears he still has a lot left in the tank.

“As I told you, I work out a lot and don’t drink and smoke.”

Well, Espinosa reveals he gets to drink once in a blue moon “but doesn’t smoke.”

“You won’t see me drinking heavily because when I do, it’s just one bottle and it doesn’t happen regularly.”

Espinosa, who retired with a 47-13 record with 26 knockouts, even insists that he is very picky about his brew of choice.

“I only drink low-alcohol beer,” he said, his laugh echoing through the phone.

What’s making it worse for Espinosa is the fact that he has yet to collect the $130,349 purse that he was guaranteed when he defended the World Boxing Council feather crown against mandatory challenger Carlos Rios of Argentina in December 1997 in Koronadal, South Cotabato.

In January 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the heirs of fight promoter-on-record Rod Nazario be tasked to pay Espinosa.

Nazario passed away in 2009 while two other major players in the promotion — former South Cotabato governor Hilario de Pedro and ex-Games and Amusements Board chairman Dominador Cepeda — have also died.

Rommel Nazario, one of Nazario’s survivors, said yesterday that he is willing to meet Espinosa and offer some form of assistance.

“I have always been willing to meet him and provide help,” the Nazario heir said.

Espinosa had tried to seek help from previous administrations but was unable to get the full amount owed to him and went to the extent of getting support from influential people in society and government.

“I have asked a lot of people, those with high positions but nothing’s happened,” Espinosa said, stressing that he “proudly fought for the country.”

This time, Espinosa, whose last fight was a knockout loss to Mexican Cristobal Cruz in 2005, is hoping for a miracle.

“I don’t know if President Bongbong (Marcos) can help me and I would like to ask for his assistance if he can do something about my ordeal,” Espinosa said.

At this point in time, what Espinosa badly needs is to land a last-second knockout blow.

If not, Espinosa is bound to suffer the most devastating defeat of his life.

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