If it’s not too much to ask, pls say a nice prayer to the Man above for Jerwin Ancajas as he steps into the ring today in a rematch against Fernando Martinez of Argentina at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

In their first bout in February of this year, Jerwin lost via unanimous decision. The young native of Davao didn’t seem like his usual sharp and precise self and afterward, he alleged he suffered some cramping in his legs.

This time around Jerwin vows to do better, and we can only hope he follows through on his promise. As a nation currently suffering from a dearth of boxing champions, we certainly need him to step up to the plate.

CONDITIONING. In their first encounter, conditioning proved to be Jerwin’s waterloo.

He seemed lethargic at times, while in contrast, Martinez was the constant aggressor. It wasn’t difficult for the judges to award the verdict to the fighter who dictated the pace and who appeared stronger as the fight wore on.

PACQUIAO. While we are on the topic of conditioning, it may be appropriate to invoke Manny Pacquiao’s body of work.

Some say Manny’s success was hinged on his punching power, but I beg to digress.

Sure he had sufficient torque in his hands to knockout an opponent. All elite champions do. Even Floyd Mayweather Jr., wrongly perceived to be a weak puncher, can take you out with a single punch if you are not ready for it. If you doubt me, go ask Victor Ortiz about it.

Manny’s success in the ring can be attributed to his amazing stamina. Anybody can punch hard in the first four rounds of a fight. But afterward, some boxers fade and falter.

In Manny’s case, he can carry that same punching power in the first round all the way up to the 12th .

This proved too much for most of his opponents to overcome, no matter how big they were.

Manny’s stamina was a natural God-given gift, but he also worked extremely hard on his conditioning. He has been known to go extreme lengths during training camps, that trainer Freddie Roach had to rein him in because he was afraid the Pacman would overtrain.

In the world of fighting, the fighter who tires is the fighter who loses. Let’s hope Jerwin and his team were able to prepare well today and bring back home the IBF junior bantamweight title.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on lovely couple Darren and Vanessa Macaraya-Hall who are in town, all the way from picturesque Swindon, England. Cheers!