Filipino champ Jerwin Ancajas loves to mimic the moves of his idol, Manny Pacquiao, throwing 1-2 combinations followed by ducks, slides and turns. There are some who would go as far as to say he looks better performing the moves than the boxing legend himself.
And yet Ancajas is in danger of becoming just another world boxing champion with hardly any memorable moments in the ring despite holding the International Boxing Federeation junior bantamweight title for six years.
He gets a chance to redirect his career path Sunday morning, Manila time.
Ancajas is hoping to become more than just a minor blip on the radar screens of top-class boxing when he takes on a dangerous Mexican challenger, Jonathan Javier Rodriguez in a 12-round title bout.
“I worked very hard for this fight, I want to become well-known,” said Ancajas after the official weigh-in on Saturday.
The fight will be televised by Showtime Championships Boxing live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. As part of pandemic protocols, there will be no live audience.But just the same, Ancajas vowed to score a win that would open the doors to that “signature fight” promised by MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons.
The long wait—almost 500 days of inactivity—afforded Ancajas an extended training camp, starting from his leafy hideout in Cavite province to the backyard of his rented Los Angeles flat.
He has trained in the United States since last year with Olympic prospect Eumir Marcial but, unlike the middleweight Olympian, only got to use the Wild Card Gym once a week.
“I am used to waiting, but now I’m given the chance to finally fight. I will show what I can do,” said Ancajas in Filipino.Meantime, Rodriguez was in the freezer for only 127 days. He has won five of his last six bouts via stoppage. And he’s bent on knocking out the Filipino champ.
“I absolutely believe that I can knock him out,” Rodriguez told boxingscene.com. “In fact, I’m certain that this fight is not gonna be left up to the judges at all.”
While Rodriguez hasn’t fought anybody of Ancajas’ caliber, he’s got the credibility to call a knockout. He once knocked out Felipe Orucuta, who sustained brain damage after the fight and had to undergo induced coma for an emergency surgery.
“I plan to pressure him throughout from the start until the end. If I fall down 11 times, I plan to get up 12 times and I’m gonna win no matter what,” Rodriguez added.
That might not be simple as Ancajas moves very well—and fast—inside the ring.
And the Filipino has a career plan laid out for himself, too.
“I want to fight Chocolatito, he’s my idol too,” said Ancajas, referring to Nicaraguan tough guy Roman Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada and Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai are the heavy-hitters of that division and, naturally, dominate the big fights.
Whether Ancajas can join that elite club depends largely on him on Sunday.
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