Apollo Creed and Randy ‘The Ram” Robinson share at least three things in common. Both are figures fashioned from fiction. Both were ring warriors in their respective films. And both died in their respective films. Both men were past their primes when they died. Both deaths were inside the ring.
In several ways, Filipino boxing legend Luisito Espinosa’s circumstance can be likened to Creed’s and Robinson’s. Espinosa, one of Philippine’s longest reigning champions, was an exciting prizefighter during his prime no doubt, a professional athlete this country should be proud of. But proud and glorious are now former adjectives that used to describe this once great boxer, who now works as a staff for a casino in the United States.
Everybody loves a winner, or so they say. And for Louie, being a a former boxer who got a cruel deck of cards right after his boxing career underwent a slow, grueling death, loving him is now a tad harder. And for a man now loved less and got nothing to lose, the squared circle now seems to be his only solace. His own Fortress of Solitude. His home.
And current buzz within the boxing circle says that is exactly where Espinosa wants to be. The former two-time world champion has been rumored to lace up the gloves once more. And who can blame him?
Having been duped left and right by his former promoters, handlers, and even his own wife, the man has been pounded to the ground and got nailed there ever since. A ring return, even an ill-advised one, seems plausible for a man whose runs and reruns with injustice have been the fillers of the later part of his life – promoters who still owe him his prize money and a wife who stowed away with another man.
At 44 years old, Espinosa’s chances of making a successful come back is nil. But once he steps back inside the ring and slugs it out one more time, will it be all worth it? Nobody can say that for certain but Espinosa himself, that is if he doesn’t end up like Apollo Creed or Randy “The Ram” Robinson did.
This writer has been in communication with Gov. Manny Pinol in efforts to help Luisito Espinosa get justice. Send your suggestions to FilipinoBoxingJournal@gmail.com or post them at the comment section below.