By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Hard-hitting Edrin Dapudong whose soft-spoken and friendly disposition outside the ring is in stark contrast to his cool but fierce competitiveness inside, is favored to retain his WBC silver flyweight title when he clashes with Mexico’s Wilbert “Hurricane” Uicab in his hometown of Quintana Roo, Mexico on September 17, Mexico time.
Dapudong (19-2, 10 KO’s) made a big impression on fight fans in the picturesque Nayarit province when he scored a spectacular 1st round knockout over highly-favored Jesus “The Destroyer” Jimenez last June 19.
Uicab, nicknamed “Hurricane” is 26 years old with a record of 28-5-1 with 17 knockouts. He is the reigning Mexican flyweight champion having won the title with an 8th round TKO over tried and tested Faustino Cupul last June 5.
Uicab is described as a crowd-pleasing boxer-puncher who has won nine of his last ten fights with one no decision against Anthony Villareal of the US when Uicab suffered a cut on his left eyebrow in the second round and couldn’t continue. Villareal is the same fighter who lost his WBC Youth Intercontinental flyweight title to world rated Milan Melindo last January 14 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu.
Among Uicab’s victims in his winning streak was Filipino BJ Dolorosa who dropped a ten round unanimous decision in a North American Boxing Federation title defense by Uicab on June 6, 2009.
The Mexican southpaw won the vacant NABF title with a 10th round TKO over Jose Alberto Cuadros on January 17, 2009 and is considered a tough opponent.
However, both Dapudong and the Pinol brothers are not afraid and believe that the newly crowned champion would be able to overcome the challenge of Uicab and hopefully set up a world title fight against Jose Luis “Pingo” Miranda who won the WBC flyweight title with a 5th round TKO over Richie Mepranum or move down and face WBC light flyweight champion Omar Nino who won the title from Filipino Rodel Mayol on the same day that Dapudong destroyed Jimenez.
Dapudong told us that he had no problems making the light flyweight limit and was actually fighting as a light flyweight before Pinol received the offer to take on Mexican flyweight Jimenez.
At the weigh in Cancun, Dapudong was almost one pound under the limit while Uicab was exactly 112 pounds. The atmosphere at the press conference was polite and refreshing with Dapudong even posing for pictures with the family of Uicab.
The humble farmer's son from M'lang set the friendly tone. When asked by the media to predict the outcome of the fight the 24-year-old Dapudong instead thanked the Mexican promoters who invited him to fight in Mexico again and greeted the Mexican people on their celebration of the 200th Independence Day Celebration.When asked whether he intends to knockout Uicab and turn himself into another "Mexican Destroyer" like pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, Dapudong said he does not have the habit of making knockout predictions and he does not want to be known as a Mexican Destroyer which emulated the similar decent and respectful style of Pacquiao.
Dapudong said "I respect the capabilities of my challenger Wilbert Uicab because I do not believe he will become NABO and Mexican flyweight champion if he is not good. Filipinos always have a lot of respect for Mexican fighters. I do not have the habit of making predictions but I can promise my promoter (Hector Garcia of HG Boxing) that I prepared hard for this fight and you can all expect a good show."
Appearing in the press conference with his manager, former North Cotabato governor Manny Pinol who was accompanied by his brothers Noli, the chief trainer, and retired police colonel Patricio, Dapudong by all accounts once again displayed his humble and unassuming demeanor which has endeared him to Mexican boxing fans.
Following Dapudong's tone, Uicab, dubbed as the "Hurricane," a local boy of Mayan descent who came to the press conference with his family, welcomed the Filipino champion as a friend but he said he will do his best to win the title and make the Mexican celebration of the 200th Independence Day complete.
"I welcome him as a friend but inside the ring, I will make sure that I will do my best and win the title to complete our celebration of the Mexican Independence," he said, a declaration which was met with a thunderous applause by the crowd.
Uicab said he knows the fight against Dapudong will be a difficult fight because he saw what the Filipino champion did to his countryman Jesus Jimenez last June 19 but added that he will not fail the expectations of the people of Cancun and Quintana Roo where he comes from.
After the conference, Dapudong was pleasantly surprised when he was approached by the father and sister of Uicab who asked to have their photo taken with him.
The Dapudong-Uicab WBC Silver Flyweight championship which is set for 12 rounds will be held at the Cancun Convention Center and will be carried by ESPN live and aired in 96 countries all over the world.