Tabanao tries to overcome odds vs Roach in US fight

Neil John Tabanao is going to war with insufficient bullet and armor. All he can do is give it all against Lamont Roach on Friday, October 30 (Saturday, October 31, Philippine time) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.

Admitting he's not 100% for their 10-round super featherweight bout, Tabanao revealed the COVID-19 pandemic struck him hard.

In an interview with Powcast Sports, Tabanao said he flew to the United States fully prepared, but the fight with Roach, first scheduled in March, got postponed twice and he also contracted the coronavirus.

After recovery, Tabanao was forced to work as a caregiver to fend for himself and provide for his family back in Mandaue, Cebu.

It was a taxing 12-hour job, so Tabanao was left with little time to train, settling for hitting a punching bag at his workplace, doing partner play with fellow Filipino boxer Rey Perez, and running when he has some energy left.

Still, Tabanao easily made weight, checking in at 129.8 pounds, the same as Roach.

Though Roach fell short in his bid for the World Boxing Organization crown against Jamel Herring in his last fight on November 9, 2019, he is still regarded as a prime prospect with a 19-1-1, 7 knockouts record.

Tabanao, on the other hand, is reeling from 3 straight defeats, a total of 6 in his last 10 fights, and totes a 17-7, 11 knockouts slate. However, all these recent unanimous decision losses were against stellar opponents – Angelo Leo, Tramaine Williams, Irving Turrubiartes – with a combined record of 53-0.

Looking deeper, Tabanao's other 0-3 streak spanning 2016 and 2017 also occurred against topnotch foes, including former world champion Isaac Dogboe, with a combined record of 33-1.

Betting sites have installed the 5-foot-7 Roach, who will enjoy a 2 1/2 inches height and 4-inch reach advantage as a huge favorite.

Back in April, Roach told The Ring Tabanao was lucky their fight got postponed because "I was going to kick his ass."

Tabanao knows he's once again being led to the slaughterhouse, but accepts the challenge.

When the bell rings, he still aims to transform into a fearless warrior out for blood and redemption. –