For Jerwin Ancajas, his unanimous decision win over Jonathan Rodriguez was an eye-opener.
Though satisfied with what he did to retain the International Boxing Federation super flyweight crown on Saturday, April 10 (Sunday, April 11, Philippine time), Ancajas now feels certain aspects of his game need improvement.
"I want to get stronger and develop a lethal punch for my future fights," Ancajas said in Filipino. "I must also work even harder."
With his ninth title defense, Ancajas hopes to land a big fight, possibly a unification with World Boxing Organization champion Kazuto Ioka, within the year.
Ancajas said he was waiting for Rodriguez to attack from the opening bell but it didn't happen.
Reason: Rodriguez got tagged by a left straight a few seconds into the fight and became hesitant to slug it out the rest of the way.
And Ancajas, being the more agile and technical fighter, exploited Rodriguez's style shift to build a big lead.
By the sixth round, however, the 16 months away from the ring started to take its toll on Ancajas as his legs hurt.
Still, Ancajas managed to connect consistently, catching Rodriguez with a flurry of punches, including a solid body blow, and sending the Mexican down in the eighth round.
According to Ancajas, he felt Rodriguez was ready to give up by then and even in the ninth but was prodded on by his trainer to continue fighting.
Hobbled by intermittent leg cramps, Ancajas got outgunned and yielded the last 3 rounds to Rodriguez, whose only chance to reverse the outcome entering the 12th and last round was to knock out the pride of Panabo, Davao del Norte and adopted son of Magallanes, Cavite.
Ancajas was never in danger of falling down though and coasted to his 33rd victory, 22 by knockout, against 1 loss and 2 draws.
Asked to assess Ancajas' performance, head trainer Joven Jimenez gave his ward an 8 on a scale of 10.
Ancajas was pleased with Jimenez's grade but believes he merited only a 7 because Rodriguez went the full route.
MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons was happy with what he saw and rewarded Team Ancajas, which also included assistant trainer and son Brendan, and spar mate Jonas Sultan, to a tour of New York City on Tuesday.
After 7 months of waiting and training in Los Angeles, they deserve a royal break. – Rappler.com