By Jake Donovan
When you’re known in inner circles as “Baby Pacquiao,” you better know how to fight.
Juan Carlos Payano knows how to fight.
The unbeaten bantamweight proved that long before turning pro in 2010, in fact long before he even grew into the bantamweight division. A brilliant amateur career hit its pinnacle when Payano scored a major upset in eliminating two-time Olympic medalist Jerome Thomas of France in the opening round of flyweight competition in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Payano went on to lose his very next bout, and it wouldn’t be another two years before turning pro in his native Dominican Republic. It’s been a tough climb to notoriety, though his career receives a major boost on November 30.
A showdown with Jose Luis Araiza graces a card receiving dual airplay. The bout serves in supporting capacity to a 140 lb. title fight between unbeaten contenders Joan Guzman and Khabib Allakhverdiev. The show airs live on Pursuit TV and Bounce TV from the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Payano (11-0, 6KO) is one of several fighters from the Dominican Republic to have reaped the benefits of rising promotional group Acquinity Sports. Based out of south Florida and lead by ambitious promoter Henry Rivalta, the company has made quite a splash in its first year in the game.
“Signing with Acquinity has been heaven sent,” Payano states, having now fought three times under the company’s banner, all of which have taken place in Hollywood, FL. “They have treated me like family and I love them as such.
“My promoter Henry Rivalta has really worked hard promoting me and says I will fight for a world title in 2013, God willing. My trainer Herman Caicedo has really taught me a lot and our head Gary Jonas has had a lot of faith in me.”
There is good reason to have faith in Payano. The 28-year old continues to rack up dominant wins while the competition steadily increases. A 10-round bout with former title contender Luis Maldonando this past May was made to look easy by Payano, who pounded out a 10-round shutout.
“Payano is a junk yard dog,” Rivalta says in complimentary fashion. “He’s nicknamed ‘Baby Pacquiao’ because of all the punches he throws. However, his fight name should be ‘The Pitbull’ because he is truly relentless.
“At 118 lb, there’s no doubt he can contend for a world title in 2013 versus Koki Kameda or anyone else in this weight class. He is an action packed TV fighter.”
Fans will get to find out soon enough, as Payano has every intention of stealing the show. He has his work cut out for him, sharing the stage with a talent-laden lineup that includes stablemates Guzman, Dominique Dolton, Claudio Marrero and welterweight contender Ed Paredes.
Of course, a fan-friendly fighting style goes a long way towards evening up those odds.
“I come to fight; I don’t prance around,” Payano promises. “I go to war from the opening bell.”
Going balls to the wall against a fighter like Araiza is a sound strategy in principal. The 33-year old Mexican trialhorse is winless in his last six contests (0-5-1), but has given a solid account of himself almost every time out.
Araiza is also a familiar face to the Acquinity family, having appeared on their debut show this past January. He brought his best effort in years, holding Jesus Rojas to a draw, one fight before the Puerto Rican faced Jorge Arce on the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley undercard in June.
Payano looks for a win over Araiza to bring his career to new heights. Barely three months into his third year as a pro, the unbeaten bantamweight believes that his career is already on track for bigger things than just more fights at the prospect level.
“In 12 months I plan on being the world champion,” Payano insists.
The first step comes November 30.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox