By Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO bantamweight champion Gerry Penalosa still hasn’t received the promised contract for his announced title fight against WBO super bantamweight champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” which Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said would take place in Puerto Rico on April 25.
Penalosa’s manager Billy Keane told insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports that he has received no word whatsoever from Arum, adding that Lopez “will not sign” and he (Keane) “doesn’t know what’s going on. But I know Lopez has not signed.”
According to Keane, Arum hasn’t been able to get Lopez who is promoted by Top Rank to agree on the purse.
Keane said that based on the present situation Penalosa will have to fight the winner of the interim title fight between mandatory bantamweight challenger Eric “Little Hands of Steel” Morel (40-2, 21 KO’s) and former WBO super flyweight champion Fernando Montiel (38-2-1, 28 KO’s) or he will be stripped of the 118 pound crown.
The Morel-Montiel interim title fight will take place in Tijuana, Mexico on March 28.
The failure of Penalosa to receive his contract for the Lopez fight and the WBO requirement that he must face the winner of the Morel-Montiel fight or be stripped of the title seems to effectively pave the way for Penalosa’s planned March 21 tune-up fight against 22 year old German Meraz who was picked by Cotabato vice governor Manny Pinol who is promoting the big fight card in Cebu which will be telecast by the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN.
Meraz has a record of 20 wins and 11 losses with 8 wins coming by way of knockouts. Meraz is an extremely active fight who fought no less than 13 times last year and is a tireless fighter who bucks the odds and is expected to be an ideal opponent for a tune-up fight.
Meraz won his last two fights by stoppage. On November 8, 2008 he scored a 5th round TKO over Juan Chabelas and in a rematch on December 13 won by a 4th round TKO.
The Mexican lost a unanimous eight round decision to undefeated Zsott Bedak (10-0, 3 KO’s) on September 27 and also dropped a unanimous decision to another undefeated fighter, Hernan Marquez (18-0, 14 KO’s) on July 12 last year.
Penalosa is currently training in the summer capital of Baguio City along with IBF/IBO flyweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire. He said training camp was going very well and he is eager to get back into the ring for his tune-up fight against Meraz.