Behind all the smiles and the jokes and laughter, the posing with the lovely promo girls both at the pre-fight press conference and at the official weigh-in, the real Genaro "Poblanito" Garcia and his team have been complaining about their treatment by local hosts, the respected ALA Promotions, the Philippines premier promotional outfit.
No less than World Boxing Council president Don Jose Sulaiman spoke to us about the complaints and asked us to help sort things out because it seems the Mexican press is lapping it up based on unverified allegations and even the WBC is being dragged into the fray because Garcia is fighting undefeated Genesis Servania (17-0, 5 KO's) for the WBC International super bantamweight title.
The promoter of Garcia, Dr. Fausto Garcia who is not with Team Garcia in Manila was reportedly informed that "Poblanito" was being "badly treated" considering he is a fighter who fought for a world title three times (although we might add that he lost all three, two by TKO and one by a wide unanimous decision).
It seems Garcia complained about his hotel on Makati Avenue which is in the financial district of the city. He also complained about the food and wanted a bigger food allowance. He also had something to say about not having a car solely for his team so they could shopping and do whatever they wished to at whatever time.
ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer responded to the allegations by stating that they had upgraded the room of Garcia and had asked him whether he wished to be transferred to the hotel on Roxas Boulevard where WBO light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes was staying. But Garcia apparently declined saying he was fine.
Aldeguer pointed out that Nietes' challenger, also a Mexican, Felipe Salguero and his team had no complaints whatsoever.
Aldeguer believes the effort to put the Filipino promoter in a bad light stemmed from the fact that the matchmaker Arturo Contreras had submitted the passport names of the three people travelling with "Poblanito" and that they had purchased the roundtrip tickets and sent them to Contreras.
However, at the last minute the matchmaker wanted one member replaced but the airline refused to change the ticket holder's name or refund the money. Aldeguer insisted it was not the fault of ALA Promotions and they should not be required to buy a ticket for the replacement individual. Aldeguer said that if the Garcia camp insisted, they would have to shoulder the cost which would be deducted from "Poblanito's" quite substantial purse considering he is not a champion and is not even rated by any of the world organizations.
By contrast, Salguero who is world-rated and is a title challenger has had no complaints.
In a brief statement on its website, the WBC said it "regrets the press releases from Manila and the complaints made by the promoter and team of Genaro "Poblanito" Garcia " about supposed bad treatment.
It said the main complaint was about where Garcia is staying.
However, the WBC said "we are very surprised because this is the first time something like this happens. Several Mexicans have traveled to the Philippines to fight and nobody has ever complained before. On the contrary, they have always said they receive good treatment in the Philippines."
Among the many Mexicans who have fought in the Philippines was WBC/WBO super flyweight champion Fernando "Cochulito" Montiel who won a controversial split decision over Z "The Dream" Gorres in February 2007. Montiel said he enjoyed his stay and the respect shown him by fight fans in the country.
Garcia himself was in fact the center of attention at the press conference and the weigh-in where he strutted around like a champion and even insinuated that he would have to win by a knockout against Servania because the three judges are Filipinos and referee Bruce McTavish has lived in the Philippines for 40 years.
It was McTavish who stopped Garcia's fight against classy Japanese southpaw Toshiaki Nishioka on January 3, 2009 when "Poblanito" was taking a bad beating.
Although his corner protested the stoppage, WBC officials said McTavish did the right thing because Garcia was being punished and was far behind on points.
Garcia was also reminded that McTavish was the referee who stopped the title fight between IBF light flyweight champion Brian Viloria and Carlos Tamara on Panama with 75 seconds remaining and Viloria well ahead on points on the scorecards of all three judges.
Viloria was suddenly drained and as Tamara threw several punches and Viloria didn't fight back McTavish stopped the fight which even Tamara couldn't believe. That in itself should clear any doubts about McTavish's integrity in the ring as a world class international referee.
The last word came from Don Jose Sulaiman, let's forget all this and look forward to a very good fight.