By Ronnie Nathanielsz
As previously reported, former IBF minimumweight champion Florante “Little Pacquiao” Condes is scheduled to battle IBO mini-flyweight king Hekkie Budler in the champion's backyard of Emperors Palace in South Africa on March 3.
However, South African boxing writer Nguta Mashiyane reported that Budler whom he described as “a whirlwind” will take his boxing career “to another level when he faces dangerous Filipino Florante Condes in defense of his IBO title.”
Mashiyane noted that Budler whose small body build makes it easy for him to juggle between the junior flyweight and mini-flyweight divisions, “is chasing a much bigger world title and a win over Condes will likely catapult him into the title mix for the WBC.”
The 23 year old Budler has an impressive record of 19 wins with only one loss and 6 knockouts while the hard-hitting 31 year old southpaw Condes has a record of 25 wins, 6 losses, 1 draw and 21 knockouts.
The South African media said Budler who breeds pythons as a pastime just like WBO light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes of the famed ALA Gym “will need all the strength he can muster to beat the former IBF champion.”
Condes won the IBF title by a twelve round split decision over Muhamad Rachman of Indonesia on July 7, 2007 and following a managerial dispute didn’t fight for almost a year when he lost his title via a controversial twelve round split decision to Raul Garcia in Mexico despite dropping Garcia in the final round.
Condes then faced the much bigger and talented Nkosinathi Joyi and dropped a unanimous twelve round decision in an IBF title eliminator in South Africa on June 6, 2009.
He won praise for his brave performance even though he was comprehensively beaten by Joyi who then went on to win the title from Garcia.
Respected boxing patron Tony Aldeguer of ALA Promotions helped Condes by featuring him in two successive bouts on the ABS-CBN “Pinoy Pride” series. Condes scored a unanimous eight round decision over Indonesia’s Sofyan Effendi on August 28, 2010 and then won by a 7th round TKO over Japan’s Kenichi Horikawa on November 27, 2010.
Aldeguer wanted Condes to train in Cebu at least for two weeks before a scheduled fight so he could get some good sparring and be handled by one of the young and capable trainers Joseph Baldago but Condes, for whatever reason, declined the invitation and lost a great opportunity to get some big fights and nationwide television exposure.
His last fight was for the WBC International silver minimum weight title Condes lost a unanimous decision to undefeated Thai Wanheng Menayothin (16-0, 4 KO’s) with all three judges turning in identical 116-112 scorecards in favor of Wanheng.
South African media noted that Condes “has struggled to get regular action due to a managerial dispute which has seen him fighting just three times after the Joyi bout. The inactivity has had adverse consequences on his performance in the ring, leading him to drop a points decision to the unbeaten Thai fighter Wanheng Menayothin in his last bout in June.”
Fight promoter Rodney Berman, who guides Budler's career, says: "Hekkie is a phenomenal talent and should he win against Condes we will push for him to fight in a title eliminator for the WBC crown."
Budler captured the mini-flyweight title with a gutsy win over another Filipino, Michael Landero, three months ago.
He had previously engaged veteran Juanito Rubillar in two title fights, winning the first by a controversial majority decision on February 27, 2010 which earned Rubillar a rematch. However, in the rematch Budler won a twelve round split decision on June 19, 2010 but this time there were no complaints from the Filipino.