EVERY young Filipino boxer’s dream is to slug it out in the undercard of eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao’s fight, and for Genisis Libranza it will finally happen this morning.
The Bayugan, Agusan del Sur native will be one of the three Filipino boxers fighting in the Pacquiao-Thurman undercard. He faces American Carlos Maldonado today at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Actually, Libranza should have made his Pacquiao undercard debut when the Filipino ring icon battled and defeated Adrien Broner on Jan. 20 this year but his match was scrapped a day before the match.
Libranza’s supposed opponent, veteran fighter Carlos Buitrago, was way over the weight limit for the fight, forcing the Nevada State Athletic Association (NSAC) to just cancel the match.
Libranza, however, was given another fight in Las Vegas a week later and he scored a unanimous decision victory over Gilberto Mendoza of Mexico.
“It was really disappointing nung nalaman ko na cancelled ‘yung laban ko,” Libranza told the Buzzer Beater. “The NSAC is very strict.”
“Of course, iba pa rin ‘yung lalaban ka sa undercard ni Sen. Manny kaya pinaghandaan ko talaga ito,” he added. “I am really thankful for this opportunity.”
The 25-year-old Libranza will be entering the match with 18-1-0 win-loss-draw ring record, including 10 stoppage wins, while the 28-year-old Maldonado has 11-3-0 card, with seven knockout wins.
Aside from Libranza, other Pinoy fighters seeing action today are Jay-R Inson, who will face Sergey Lipinets for the WBO intercontinental welterweight belt and California-based Filipino fighter John Leo Dato, who will tangle with Mexican Juan Antonio Lopez.
It will be Inson’s second time to be part of Pacquiao’s undercard. He fought in the Pacquiao-Broner undercard and was defeated by Jonathan Steele via split decision.
For Dato, it will be his first to battle in Pacquiao’s undercard. He is upbeat, coming from a unanimous decision victory over Mexican German Meraz last month.
PACQUIAO FAVORED OVER THURMAN
Filipino ring icon Pacquiao is an overwhelming favorite to clinch the WBA world super welterweight belt from Thurman.
Mexicans Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera picked the eight-division world boxing champion to beat Thurman but have not totally crossed out the possibility of the latter pulling off a stunner.
“It’s gonna be a complicated bout, no doubt about it,” Morales said. “But knowing Pacquiao, starting in the second round, that’s when he’s gonna try to charge against Thurman.”
“I was very technical against Manny then, that’s what Thurman must do,” added Morales, who fought Pacquiao thrice with the Filipino winning twice. “I see it as a decision or late knockout win for Pacquiao.”
Barrera, who was twice defeated by Pacquiao in their two encounters, see it as a decision win by Pacquiao “but we always have to take into account the plan that Thurman has.”/PN