'Boom Boom' to fight on Pacquiao-de la Hoya undercard
By RONNIE NATHANIELSZ
It just keeps getting better and better.
Manny Pacquiao and Gerry Peñalosa will not be the only Filipino boxers slugging it out on December 6 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Early Wednesday morning in Manila, Eric Gomez, Golden Boy Promotions (GBP) vice-president and international matchmaker, confirmed that they are going to put up Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Oscar de la Hoya welterweight clash.
"We are going to put him on the show and we are trying to get him a good fight against someone in the rankings, someone who could give him a good fight," Gomez said in a telephone interview from the US.
Gomez said GBP had confidence in Bautista.
The top executive, however, made it clear that they "[are] not going after a world champion for his (Bautista's) next fight but want to do a fight that is important to set him up for his next couple of fights before fighting for the title."
Gomez said he had received positive reports about Bautista’s second round TKO victory over tough Mexican Eden Marquez on Saturday, August 30, in Cebu, and also the fine showing of WBO minimum weight champion Donnie Nietes.
Bautista retained his World Boxing Organization International super bantamweight belt in Saturday's match.
When informed that the fights drew a huge crowd at the Waterfront Hotel, Gomez said he expected that because it was Bautista.
"The thing with ‘Boom Boom’ is that he’s very charismatic. He’s one of those guys that people like to see fight because you never know what’s going to happen. Anything can happen. He could get dropped but he could also knock anybody out. That makes him exciting," he said.
Peñalosa to fight undefeated Mexican
On Tuesday, Peñalosa confirmed that he received a call from manager Billy Keane about a fight offer from GBP for the December 6 Pacquiao-de la Hoya main event.
The WBO bantamweight champ picked undefeated 22-year-old Mexican Abner Mares over Nestor Rocha for his next title defense.
The Mares showdown is a mandatory title defense.
Peñalosa said that Keane told him there were two offers on the table from GBP.
The first stipulates that Peñalosa should defend his title against Rocha for a purse of $150,000, possibly on the undercard of the IBF/IBO welterweight title fight between Paul Malignaggi and Britain's Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton at the MGM Grand on November 22..
The second says the WBO champ should face No. 1 ranked Mares (17-0, 10 KOs) also at the MGM Grand but on the megabuck Pacquiao-de la Hoya fight for a much bigger purse of $250,000.
Peñalosa, the 36-year-old southpaw with a record of 53-6-2 with 36 knockouts, said his choice was Mares. "I am confident I can beat him."
Peñalosa was earlier scheduled to fight Rocha in Tubod, Lanao del Norte but the plan was scuttled after trouble broke out in the region.
Peñalosa won the world title with a stunning one-punch knockout of Jhonny Gonzales in the Philippines vs Mexico World Cup and then successfully defended his title over former world champion Ratanachai Sor Vorapin via an eighth round TKO at the Araneta Coliseum last April 6.
Asked why he chose Mares, Peñalosa said he realized that if he fights on the Pacquiao-de La Hoya card, he will be pushed out of the limelight though the huge pay-per-view audience and the purse would make it worthwhile.