By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Hard-hitting southpaw Michael Farenas, the 30 year old protégé of former two-division world champion Gerry Penalosa is looking good and according to Penalosa “is ready to rumble” when he battles undefeated American Mark “Too Sharp” Davis in an IBF eliminator for the No. 2 junior lightweight spot at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut on July 2.
Penalosa told the Manila Standard that Farenas was just two pounds over the limit for the official weigh-in which will take place at 3:00 p.m. today and doesn’t see any problem with making the weight.
He said Farenas’ sparring at the Wild Card was “very good and he is ready to rumble.”
Penallosa said among his sparring were former lightweight title challenger Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta and Roger “Speedy” Gonzalez, a sparring partner of “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao and reportedly a world rated Russian said to be IBF lightweight Intercontinental champion Andrey Klimov at the Wild Card Gym of trainer Freddie Roach in Los Angeles.
Farenas was being handled mainly by Penalosa’s elder brother Carl and strength and conditioning coach Jay San Pedro who studied his regimen in Canada.
Penalosa said Roach “helped Farenas, arranged sparring and did the punch-mitts.”
Penalosa said Farenas was “moving well and is feeling good” even as he added that Farenas is hungry for recognition and a world title shot.
The Farenas showdown with Davis is expected to be a real test for Farenas who, according to Penalosa, “wants to win. He hits hard and is hungry.”
The 29 year old Farenas (38-4-4, 30 KO’s) is currently ranked No. 4 by the IBF while the 27 year old Davis who is ranked No. 11, has a record of 18-0 with 5 knockouts.
After blowing his chances for a world title bout when he lost to Marlon “Rata” Aguilar of Nicaragua in Mexico on May 8, 2010, Farenas made a remarkable comeback and earned a title shot at WBA champion Takashi Uchiyama on July 7, 2012 but the fight ended in a 3rd round technical draw.
Farenas earned recognition when he was featured on the undercard of the fourth showdown between “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao and Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, 2012, in a clash for the WBA Interim title.
Gamboa dropped Farenas twice but the courageous Filipino caught the cocky Cuban Olympian with a cracking left hook and dropped him in the 9th round but eventually lost a twelve round unanimous decision.
Farenas hammered overmatched Mexican Gerardo Zayas, dropping him three times in the opening round to win by a TKO in Austin, Texas on April 27, 2013 and in his last fight scored a 2nd round TKO over Mexican veteran Hector Velazquez to win the vacant WBC Asia Boxing Council Continental title.
Velazquez had previously lost by a 6th round TKO in a WBC International super featherweight title bout to “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao on September 10, 2005.
Davis was an outstanding amateur who won a gold medal at the US Junior Olympics in 2002 and several other gold medals before winning at the Eastern Olympic trials for the 2008 Olympic Games.
As a pro Davis has maintained his winning ways and is unbeaten in 18 fights winning 5 by knockout which somehow seems to indicate he has no real punching power which is a factor Farenas can exploit.
In his last fight Davis won a ten round unanimous decision over Carlos Vinan of Ecuador.
Farenas is not likely to take any chances knowing that he is just a couple of fights away from a crack at the world title against the winner of the face-off between champion Argenis Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KO’s) of the Dominican Republic and former Cuban Olympian, undefeated Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KO’s)at the Convention Center in Miami, Florida on July 10.