A feast for fight fans

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Saturday, April 26, 2014


IT SEEMS like we got a lot on our plates not only today but also in the coming week. There’s really no better time to be a fight fan, and that plaintive refrain about the fight game dying is all bull crap. We have big fights going on, and I’m not talking only about boxing.

The rise of Mixed Martial Arts--contrary to what many expected--has proved complementary to the “Sweet Science”, providing fight fans with alternatives, thereby whetting their voracious appetites for more.

Here’s what’s happening guys, plus some meanderings from my overly caffeinated brain.

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SCHEDULE. Wladimir Klitscko (61-3, 51KOs) will be defending his IBF. WBO, WBA and IBO heavyweight crowns against Alex Leapai of Australia (30-4, 234KOs).

Truth be told, not much is expected of Leapai who is coming in as a whopping 66-1 underdog. As far as the heavyweight division is concerned, I think we are scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to worthy challengers to Wlad.

What’s the point, really? No wait, there’s Deontay Wilder who is has 31 wins all by knockout but he’s still about four to five fights away from
being a serious contender.

Today in Sonora, Mexico, our very own Richie Mepranum (27-3, 6KOs) will proudly carry our colors as he attempts to wrest away the WBA/WBO superflyweight diadems from the formidable Juan Francisco Estrada.

To recall, Estrada is the same guy who bested two of our best fighters today, Brian Viloria and Milan Milando, in succession.

Mepranum’s chances? Because he is taller than Milan and Viloria, and is a southpaw, Richie will present some problems, style-wise. But the lack of pop in those fists will prove to be a major drawback.

In the co-main event, another Pinoy contender, John Mark Apolinario faces off against the dangerous Hernan Marquez.

Apolinario (17-3, 4KOs) lost to Koki Kameda in Japan last year and prior to that, figured in two heartbreaking draws against Roberto Vasquez for the WBA bantamweight belt.

Marquez is familiar name to Pinoy fight fans as he has fought and lost to Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria.

UFC 172. Of course who can forget Jon Jones as he takes center stage again today at UFC 172 to try and repel the challange coming from top contender Glover Teixeira.

Teixeira is a Brazilian figher with well rounded skills and is on a 20-fight win streak. Jones was severely tested by Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 so look for the cerebral Teixeira to capitalize on any perceived
weaknesses that were brought to the surface when Jones was briefly “humanized.”

Jones who has reached iconic status, is widely perceived to come out on top easily, and the oddsmakers have reflected that, pegging him as the 4-1 favorite.

I’m predicting Teixeira and Jones to have a good competitive first round before Jones takes him down in the second and dominates him en route to a tapout.

NEXT WEEK. ON May 3, one of our remaining world champions, Johnreil
Casimero will be defending his IBF light flyweight title against Marurico Fuentes (16-2, 10KOs) here at the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel and Casino.

In his last fight, Johnreil scored a spectacular 11th-round stoppage of Felipe Salguerro in a frightening display of firepower.

Fuentes hails from Colombia and is undefeated since 2009. I’m expecting fireworks in this fight and predicting Casimero to score a stoppage on or before the sixth round.

Of course, on May 4, Floyd Mayweather Jr. squares off against Marcos Maidana for the WBC/WBA welterweight crowns. It’s an interesting fight considering how Maidana defeated Floyd’s protege Adrien Broner, but I think Floyd wins this via unanimous decision.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on Raymond Tero of Metrobank, Barangay Tinago Chairman Joel Garganera and Bogo City Councilor Digoy Mayol. Happy Birthday gentlemen, and cheers! (jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 27, 2014.

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