by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Former two division world champion Gerry Penalosa is confident that his protégé, southpaw Michael Farenas is ready to shock undefeated Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa when they clash for the WBA interim-super featherweight title on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on December 8.
In an overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard on the eve of their departure for Las Vegas, Penalosa said Farenas has “trained really well, he’s in very good condition and is quietly confident of stunning” the fancied Gamboa.
Penalosa said Farenas, nicknamed “Hammer Fist” with a record of 34-3-4 with 26 knockouts has had some tough sparring with Pacquiao’s former sparring partner world-rated Russian Ruslan Providknov, a junior welterweight with an impressive record of 22-1 with 15 knockouts and another former Pacquiao sparring partner Speedy Gonzales.
The one thing going for Farenas is that Gamboa hasn’t fought over the last one year and three months and is bound to feel the effects of the long layoff.
His last fight was an 8th round technical decision over former world champion Daniel Ponce De Leon of Mexico who had a nasty laceration on his forehead after an accidental clash of heads and they had to go to the judges scorecards on September 10, 2011.
Farenas who has had a string of wins in the US is coming off a 3rd round technical draw in a WBA super featherweight title fight against Japan’s rugged Takashi Uchiyama on July 16 this year.
The southpaw’s only setback in the US was an 8th round unanimous decision loss against Marlon Aguilar of Nicaragua on May 8, 2010.
Farenas has racked up 7 wins and 1 technical draw in since then and has vowed “to do everything he needs to win.”