AFTER hanging his gloves for close to a year, there is no stopping Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista’s return to the ring.
Bautista will immediately be tested in his first fight after the layoff as he takes on Mexican up-and-comer Sergio Villanueva in a 10-round bout on May 10 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena that would prove if he still has what it takes to remain in the brutal sport.
“The May 10 fight will dictate his future. It depends how on he does on May 10,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu.
Instead of giving Bautista an easy fight, ALA Promotions instantly gave the 27-year-old fan-favorite a tough bout in his featherweight debut.
The 22-year-old Villanueva is a 31-fight veteran with a respectable 26-3-2 record including 13 knockouts. He is a former World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth featherweight champion but hasn't faced an opponent of Bautista's caliber.
Villanueva has won four of his fights last year. He is coming off a unanimous decision loss against inexperienced Fabian Vladimir Rios last July 19.
After retiring two months before his 27th birthday, Bautista still remained fit by jogging regularly. He aslo kept himslef busy teaching boxing to the Philippine Air Force and also at ALA Fitness Gym.
“He is focused with his training, I've never seen him like this. It's hard to say if it was a good decision to comeback, it was his decision and we are just here to support him. We will just have to see how he does on May 10,” said Aldeguer.
Bautista, 34-3 with 25 knockouts, was once one of the most promising Filipino boxers and was once dubbed as the future of Philippine boxing.
However, he didn't live up to everyone's expectations as he got knocked out in the first round of his first and only title shot against then World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight champion Daniel Ponce de Leon in California in 2007. After three straight wins fighting locally, Bautista suffered another defeat in the hands of Heriberto Ruiz in Las Vegas the following year.
Bautista would show some signs of brilliance, winning eight straight fights. But last year, Bautista dropped a split decision to Jose Ramirez, in a fight wherein he was bruised and battered.
The Bautista vs. Villanueva is one of the featured bouts in the next Pinoy Pride that will be headlined by a rematch between WBO light flyweight king Donnie Nietes and Moises Fuentes.