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Cebu City, Philippines – Philippines and Mexico have a long history of ring wars, with a string of memorable battles and forgotten clashes throughout the years. Pinoy Pride 8 hopes to provide the former over the latter. And on paper at least,  the eighth installment of the Pinoy Pride series looks promising as fighters from both sides are roaring to best the other, with each boxer looking forward to stop their bouts from going the distance.

20-year old undefeated super bantamweight prospect Genesis Servania (14-0, 5 KOs) of Bacaolod City will be facing his first foreign opponent in veteran Gerson Guerrero (34-8, 26 KOs), an old ring warrior whose list of battles include fights with Daniel Ponce de Leon, Mauricio Pastrana, and Alexander Bahktin. A three-time world title challenger, Guerrero’s experience is seemingly the Mexican’s most potent asset against the youthful Servania, who promised to teach the old-timer a lesson in knocking a fighter out.

Servania tipped the scales at 120 pounds while Guerrero weighed 121, just below the super bantamweight limit of 122.

Reigning WBO Asia-Pacific Youth light welterweight champion Jason Pagara (27-1, 16 KOs) assured this writer yesterday during the weigh-in that his assignment, the power-punching Rosbel Montoya (34-4-1, 29 KOs), does not scare him. In fact, the young pugilist from Cagayan de Oro takes the fight as a challenge to better himself and prove to the world that he has what it takes to be an elite. Montoya holds the WBC FECOMBOX light welterweight crown. Both men vowed to knock each other out for Pagara’s title.

Pagara came at 140 on the dot while Montoya was just a pound over his Filipino opponent.

Main event fighters Milan “Method Man” Melindo (24-0, 8 KOs) and Francisco “Chiquita” Rosas (22-8-2, 13 KOs) are not lost for words when it comes to verbal jabs and promises of knockouts. It was Melindo, however, who exuded more confidence in contrast to his timid Mexican counterpart. While Rosas declared the he will take Melindo to “a world of pain”, Melindo is convinced a knockout will happen along the way and tonight will inch him closer to a world title.  Both men will be fighting for the WBO Intercontinental flyweight championship.

Melindo registered on point at 112 pounds, the weight limit for flyweights. Rosas, however, initially came at 117 pounds, five pounds over the ceiling. Rosas was reported to said that he intend to forfeit the title so he can keep the extra pounds. ALA Promotions founder Antonio L. Aldeguer warned Rosas that his purse will be withheld and he will move to have WBO take disciplinary actions against Rosas if the Mexican refused to get rid of the extra weight.  Rosas immediately worked to shed the excess poundage and came back hours later and weighed in at an acceptable 113.5 pounds.

Still, Rosas will wear heavier gloves to offset his weight advantage over the Filipino.

Predictions

Coach Edmund “Ala” Villamor told this writer that his wards are ready for tonight and predicts a sweep for Team Philippines.  Villamor sees a KO victory for Melindo and Pagara within five rounds and a hard but winnable fight for Servania.

“Guerrero’s experience and skills will make it hard for Genesis but our boys will win tonight,” Villamor said.

“Competitive” competition for a change

Boxing manager Ken Smith, who handles Filipino prizefighters Jether Oliva and Ramie Laput, told this writer that ALA Promotions is making a good move in bringing in fighters who can provide “decent” competition for their boxers. Still, Smith believes that the ALA Boys SHOULD win their respective bouts.

“I think Tony (Antonio L. Aldeguer) is a little worried for no reason,” Smith said, referring to Aldeguer’s earlier statement about him being nervous about the level of opposition their fighters are facing. “Melindo will win this one easily. But I think it will be a tough fight for Pagara and Servania.”

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.