Ancajas destroys foe
Corpus Christi, Texas —After displaying his ferocity as a fighter, Jerwin Ancajas unraveled his gentle nature—and class—on Saturday night.
Ancajas knocked Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez out in the 10th round, and, instead of celebrating right away, went over to his fallen enemy to find out if he’s all right.
In so doing, the new Filipino sensation not only retained the International Boxing Federation junior bantamweight crown at American Bank Center. He also enthralled the fans inside the venue and the viewers from the United States and worldwide.
Ancajas lived up to the hype and dominated the game but overmatched Gonzalez, stressing a point with a flash knockdown right in the first round.
The pride of Panabo City, now residing in Barangay Ramirez in Magallanes, Cavite would have settled for a shutout victory, but found an opening and went for the kill in the fateful round.
Ancajas staggered Gonzalez with a snappy right jab then sent the Mexican down again with another hard left straight.
Gonzalez beat the count, but when Ancajas floored him anew with an overhand left, Puerto Rican referee Rafael Ramos finally halted the bout at the 1:50 mark.
Gonzalez launched an attack in the fifth round only to be repelled quickly. The Filipino had won all the previous rounds before the stoppage.
The 26-year-old Ancajas, hailed as the second coming of Manny Pacquiao, raised his record to 29-1-1 with 20 knockouts.
Ever humble, Ancajas said the victory wasn’t only for him to savor.
“This honor is not for me alone, but also for the Filipino people,” Ancajas said in Filipino.
It was a rude awakening for the 21-year-old Gonzalez, who was also hoping for a grand entry into boxing’s mainstream.
“It was a tough fight. I wasn’t expecting this result,” said Gonzalez, who dropped to 21-2 with eight knockouts.
“It was a great experience and I will bounce back.”
Back in his locker room, Ancajas bared he drew inspiration from the attention Pacquiao, his idol and benefactor through MP Promotions, has been giving him.
They talked late Friday night, with the eight-division world champion and Philippine senator giving him encouragement before praying over him.
On Saturday, Pacquiao advised Ancajas to shun the pressure of being compared to him, to relax and do his thing in the ring.
Best yet to come
According to chief trainer Joven Jimenez, however, Ancajas wasn’t at his optimum best against Gonzalez, giving him a seven with 10 being the maximum.
For revered promoter Bob Arum, who signed up Ancajas to a three-fight deal with an option to extend, the southpaw’s fourth straight knockout victory over title challengers was an excellent performance.
As such, expect Arum to pit Ancajas against other renowned 115-pounders in more lucrative fights within the year.
For now, however, Ancajas is looking forward to a two-week respite back home, something well earned for masterful demolition of Gonzalez has put him among boxing’s elite.
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