By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has said the Philippines deserves the best fights because “any country that can produce a Manny Pacquiao deserves to get the best in boxing” even as he announced that he would stage four “Pinoy Power” fight cards in 2010.
Arum who signed a two-year deal with the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN during a quick visit to Manila said the first big “Pinoy Power III” card will take place at the Las Vegas Hilton on February 13 headlined by WBA super flyweight interim champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (22-1, 14 KO’s) who will battle Gerson Guerrero, the reigning North American Boxing Federation champion and the winner of a WBC title eliminator last June 13.
Guerrero scored a 10th round TKO win over Enrique Quevedo in capturing the NABF title and winning the WBC title eliminator.
Donaire, on the other hand scored a twelve round unanimous decision over Panama’s Rafael “El Torito” C oncepcion in a clash for the WBA interim title which Concepcion lost on the scales by being well over the 115 pound limit.
Also on the Top Rank card will be featherweight Bernabe Concepcion (27-3-1, 15 KO’s) who will take on Puerto Rican southpaw Mario Santiago (21-1-1, 14 KO’s) whom Arum described as a tough opponent having drawn with WBO champion Steven Luevano in a title fight on June 28, 2008 and beaten Morris Chule by an eight round split decision last October 17.
Former two-division world champion Gerry Penalosa (54-7-2, 36 KO’s) , the veteran southpaw will go up against former world champion Eric Morel (41-2, 21 KO’s) of Puerto Rico in a bantamweight title eliminator while Arum indicated he would try to use his persuasive powers to get WBO champion Fernando Montiel of Mexico to take on Michael Domingo who is a replacement for Z “The Dream” Gorres whose career was regrettably cut short by brain surgery following a smashing victory of Luis Melendez of Colombia last November 13.
Top Rank’s respected matchmaker Bruce Trampler who will soon be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame told us that Morel had turned down the offer to fight Domingo but gave no reason for the rejection. However, Arum appeared confident he could persuade Montiel to take the fight.
In addressing ABS-CBN Chairman and CEO Gabby Lopez, Arum said “I promise I will supply you with the best in boxing and I know you will showcase it here for the Filipino people like no other television entity in the Philippines.”