Pacio confident ring rust not a worry vs Brooks
By the time he reenters the fight circle, Joshua Pacio will have been idle for exactly 435 days. That’s quite a gap, especially for someone who is at his youthful peak and reigns as a strawweight champion.
But the Baguio City standout is far from listless.
“I know my last fight was in September of last year. People were saying I’d deal with ring rust. I proved them wrong,” Pacio (20-3-0) told the Inquirer on Thursday.
“I’d do it all over again. The venue will be here, in the Philippines. So it’s a must for me to pull out the win,” he added.
Pacio is set to take on Jarred Brooks (19-2-0), a former UFC veteran who has been on a tear in the weight class, stringing together three convincing victories in just six months.
The pair was originally scheduled to face off back in June in Singapore in what would have been a fitting resolution to a back-and-forth that has spilled on social media and even involved Pacio’s Team Lakay stablemate Lito Adiwang.
“He’s just playing mind games,” Pacio said of Brooks with a chuckle. “We’ve been here in the community a long time, and that’s no longer new.”
Pacio and Brooks lock horns Dec 3 at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I think he’s a wanna-be-something. I know the business side of what he’s doing. But I respect him too as an athlete. He’s a high-level wrestler. He’s been fighting formidable guys. All this is no longer new to me—being targeted. I am the champion,” Pacio said.
Pacio has truly come a long way from that timid strawweight prospect that he was during his promotional debut in Myanmar back in 2016. His words now pack confidence, and much of that is thanks to all the introspection the long gap has afforded him.
Also helping Pacio was being tapped as a coach for the promotion’s reality show, ONE Warriors Series, which is set to premiere this Sunday.
Teach to learn
“That was my first time to coach. And I saw a lot of holes in my game. It was kind of tough. I realized I had to improve even more,” Pacio said of the gig, which exposed him to 16 contestants jockeying for a lucrative US$100,000 contract under ONE.
Raymund Ortega, Ariel Lampacan, Ernesto Montilla, Norman Agcopra, Ariel Oliveros, LA Lauron, JM Guntayon, Marvin Malunes, Genil Francisco, Adonis Sevilleno, Joevincent So, Ralf Francisco, Ely Fernandez, Sheraz Qurashi, Mcleary Ornido and Christian Laurio are the bets in the show sponsored by Globe Telecom.
“As coach Mark (Sangiao) would always say, teaching is learning,” Pacio said, adding he is itching for the time when he could finally put all those lessons to use.
“[Jarred] is saying I haven’t fought someone like him? Well, I’d tell him he hasn’t fought someone like me,” he added.