GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines - While all eyes and attention are focused on the Manny Pacquiao versus Juan Manual Marquez fight on Saturday, December 8 (Sunday Manila time), four Filipino fighters are looking to make an impact as they face separate opponents in the undercard.
Michael Fareñas, Mercito Gesta, Ernie Sanchez and Dodie Boy Peñalosa Jr make up the list of Filipino fighters seeing action at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Fareñas might have a tough time against Cuban defector Yuriorkis Gamboa for the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight crown.
Gamboa is undefeated and one of the most technically gifted fighters in their class.
Former flyweight and bantamweight champion Gerry Peñalosa, who manages Fareñas and his nephew Dodie Boy Jr, says they are looking for an upset.
“Maayo ang training ni Michael (Michael trained very hard),” Peñalosa says.
Gesta on the other hand is looking to snatch the International Boxing Federation lightweight crown from Mexican Miguel Vazquez in the other major undercard.
Gesta will bring atop the ring an unbeaten record (26-0) against the defending champion Vazquez who already has three career losses (31-3) and is not known as a heavy puncher.
Gesta last fought in the Philippines in 2005 and has been fighting exclusively in the US since.
Dodie Boy Jr meanwhile makes his US debut when he battles American Jesus Lule in a featherweight match.
Dodie Boy Jr is unbeaten in his 9 professional bouts – all by knockout – but has yet to face a quality opponent.
His uncle, Gerry of Jerrypens Promotion, said this is the first real and big test for his nephew.
“We will know if he has what it takes to become a champion one day,” says the former world boxing champion.
Gerry Peñalosa gave credit to his close friend Manny Pacquiao for giving Fareñas and Dodie Boy Jr the opportunity to fight in the undercard of his fourth fight with Marquez.
Peñalosa and Pacquiao used to spar when the latter was still a struggling fighter. Back then, Peñalosa was already a big name in Philippine boxing.
The other Filipino fighter seeing action Saturday is Ernie Sanchez, who hails from General Santos and is a handpicked boxer by Pacquiao.
Sanchez already fought in a Pacquiao-headed fight. He won by an 8-round unanimous decision against Wilton Hilario of the Dominican Republic in one of the the Pacquiao-Bradley preliminary bouts.
He will face Coy Evans of the US. - Rappler.com