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The Eyes of the Hurricane 

She's been called the female Manny Pacquiao. But can Ana Julaton make people care about women's boxing?

Wednesday, Mar 10 2010
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Page 5 of 5

Julaton "hasn't been, in my view, in a really career-threatening fight," Tremblay said. "We don't know what she can take because she's never really been pushed, but she'll be pushed a little in this fight, so we'll see how she'll do."


Reyes parked in front of the Manila Star restaurant in a Daly City shopping plaza. He picked up the Filipino newspapers in the entryway and entered the near-empty restaurant, which had a piped-in cover of "Kokomo" playing and a faux-bamboo tiki hut along the wall. Julaton and her sparring partner bowed to another WestWind instructor waiting for them and sat at a long table.

Reyes leafed through the Manila Mail, spotting a photo of Julaton posing with "future World Champion Ciso 'Kid Terrible' Morales." The previously undefeated Morales had since lost his most recent world title match. Julaton half-smiled, half-grimaced, and shook her head, a reaction she uses often when confronted with an uncomfortable truth: "Yeah." One day you're the hyped future world champion, the next day you're nothing.

If Julaton wins the WBA title, she hopes to fight for the World Boxing Council title to become the undisputed world champion. She wants to win the titles quickly, because she plans to spend two more years maximum in the sport to avoid brain damage. While society may have some tolerance for Muhammad Ali's tremors or Freddie Roach's slurred speech from Parkinson's disease, seeing a woman with a boxing-related disability is the depressing stuff of which Million Dollar Baby Oscar winners are made.

At the Manila Star, Julaton limited herself to two bowls of catfish soup and a chicken breast — she has to watch what she eats while she's in training. "I'm so hungry," she groaned. But food, like the motorcade through Manila the Philippine GMA Pinoy TV network is promising if she wins her third title, will come later. First, she has to win.

In business terms, the match is already a victory. As a benefit of sharing a card with a title match involving Canada's favorite boxer, Steve Molitor, the bouts will be televised on the Sports Network, the country's most widely broadcast sports channel. The Filipino channel will be transmitting Julaton's performance to Filipinos the world over, and the promoter is betting on Ontario's proven Filipino fan base to turn out. Julaton is stoked: "It's going to be a 10-round title fight where they'll show all of the rounds," she said. But unless you know someone who gets one of those channels, you're out of luck. No American networks signed on.

E-mail Lauren.Smiley@SFWeekly.com.

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Lauren Smiley

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