by Ronnie Nathanielsz
American trainer Richard “Rick” Staheli who handled Manny Pacquiao’s preparation when he won his first world title – the WBC flyweight championship scoring a stunning 8th round knockout of Thai hero Chatchai Sasakul in December 1998, says PABA light flyweight champion Randy Petalcorin could be a world champion at minimumweight.
Staheli made the prediction after Petalcorin sparred seven rounds with Rey Las Pinas and Eduardo Baluarte at the Prime Time Gym in Angeles City as he entered the final stages of training for his title defense against Thai challenger Samartlek Chaiyonggym at the Mandaluyong Gymnasium on April 21.
The fight card which will include a Philippine title fight will be telecast on a slightly delayed basis by AKTV IBC 13 on its newly launched “Pinoy Knockout” boxing series.
Staheli told us after an impressive workout by the southpaw Petalcorin who fights as a junior flyweight, “is actually a mini flyweight and he can make a 105 pounds. I would rather see him fight for a world title at 105 pounds because that’s where he can be and he’s a big puncher at that weight.”
Asked about his hopes for Petalcorin, Staheli said “I tell you I think he’s got the ability to become a world champion. Right now he’s ranked No. 8 by the WBA and if he defends his title successfully his manager Peter Maniatis ( the well-known promoter and TV KO Boxing show host in Australia) said he might move up to No. 4 or 5. He’s right there. He has only had 17 fights. Give him three or four more fights, let him defend his title a few times and he’ll be knocking at the No.1 spot very soon and then he’ll be a mandatory for somebody.”
The trainer said Petalcurin has a record of 16 wins, 1 loss and 13 knockouts and “the guy can hit.”
Staheli said Petalcorin has been training for a couple of months now although we had a bit of a medical problem (which were dental problems) but he’ll be ready next week and I expect big things from him.”
Noting that he sparred against much bigger opponents, Staheli said “that’s going to help him. I don’t think the Thai is going to be a big hitter but its hard to get sparring partners for him because he is only a 105 pounder, so everybody is going to be bigger than Randy. But he makes up for it with his speed and he’s got real nice combinations. He hits pretty good for a 105-108 pounder.”
He said Petalcuoin’s Thai opponent “is a step up and if you look at Randy’s record he hasn’t fought a lot of real good guys but Samartlek was an Olympian, he’s certainly a step up and we want to look at different guys after that to give him bigger and better tasks.”
Staheli said he hasn’t “been around Petalcorin to see any big test where the mental angle comes in. He seems like when you push him in training some days when we do 25 rounds, ten rounds on the punch-mitts on a non sparring day, he’s really working hard and is not discouraged. He knows he’s got some goals and he wants to obtain those goals. I think he’s got the mental edge.”
Petalcorin won the PABA Interim title when he dropped Michael Rodriguez in round 7 en route to winning by an 8th round disqualification on August 6, 2011. He also won the vacant WBC Asia Boxing Council Continental title with a 1st round knockout of Yodchingchai Sithkonnapha on June 11, 2011. He also scored a ten round unanimous decision over Arnel Tadena on September 24, 2011 and in his last fight scored a 2nd round knockout of Jherad Tuyor on October 23, 2011.
The 27 year old Samartlek who has a record of 8-3 with 3 knockouts is coming off an eighth round unanimous decision over tough Indonesian Sammy Hagler. Samartlek’s biggest win was a unanimous decision over former IBF minimum weight champion Muhammad Rachman (62-9-5, 31 KO’s) on January 24, 2011.
Samartlek also battled hard-hitting world title contender Denver Cuello but was stopped in the 9th round in a WBC International minimum weight title fight on March 26, 2011