HEART, determination and aggression will be World Boxing Organization (WBO) mini-flyweight king Merlito Sabillo’s edge in his title defense against Mexican Francisco Rodriguez this Sunday at the Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
“We expect a tough fight for Merlito but I know his heart and determination will be the difference. Rodriguez is no pushover,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu. “He just has to be himself, aggressive and take the fight to Rodriguez. He has to dictate the tempo from the first round until the end.”
Sabillo’s aggressive approach to the game has earned him fans and a world title. The 30-year-old Bacolod City native fought in Colombia last year and snagged the interim WBO mini-flyweight crown with an eighth round technical knockout over Luis de la Rosa.
He is in the same situation after a year, this time as a champion defending his belt in enemy soil.
“I don’t see any difference fighting in Mexico or Colombia. It will always be challenge fighting in enemy territory,” Aldeguer said.
Despite being an up-and-comer, Aldeguer doesn’t take Rodriguez lightly because he believes that the 20-year-old Mexican is a talented fighter.
“Yes (I have videos of Rodriguez). He is a technical fighter and is versatile. He can adjust fast, it won’t be an easy fight for Sabillo,” he said.
Rodriguez has won back-to-back fights over unheralded Moises Calleros and Ernesto Guerrero. But before those wins, he dropped a seventh round technical knockout over arguably one of the best in the division, Roman Gonzalez.
Sabillo, on the other hand, has won two of his last three fights last year. He is coming off a split draw with unbeaten Carlos Buitrago, in the most difficult fight of his career.
Sabillo is 23-0-1 with 12 knockouts, while Rodriguez is 13-2 with nine knockouts.