By Ronnie Nathanielsz
In what seems like a painful twist, Gerry Penalosa is no longer the WBO bantamweight champion. The winner of the clash between interim champion Fernando Montiel and former WBA flyweight champion Eric Morel, at the Boardwalk in Atlantic City on June 27, will be recognized as champion.
Golden Boy Promotions vice president and international matchmaker Eric Gomez in an overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com, insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports revealed that Penalosa lost the title for failure to defend it within one year.
Penalosa won the title with a 7th round TKO over Jhonny Gonzalez on August 11, 2007, defended it once against former champion Ratanachai Sor Vorapin over whom he scored an 8th round TKO on April 6, 2008 and then fought super bantamweight champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez in Puerto Rico on April 25, 2009 in a fight where he took a bad beating despite a valiant effort before trainer Freddie Roach called a halt before the start of the tenth round.
Gomez said that right after the fight WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel told Penalosa “you are a great champion” and that he deserves a shot at the winner of the Montiel-Morel title showdown.
Gomez said Penalosa had undergone a CTScan and an MRI after taking a brutal beating from Lopez. Gomez said that while the veteran southpaw was “a tough little guy, Juanma was too big, too fast and too strong for Gerry.”
He said Penalosa’s manager Billy Keane had given him some time off before they decide on what to do next.
The 30 year old Montiel (39-2-1, 29 KO’s) who relinquished his WBO super flyweight title because he was having trouble making the weight moved up to 118 and won the interim title with a 3rd round TKO over Diego Oscar Silva last March 28. Silva had beaten nobody prior to his interim title fight against Montiel and was coming off a unanimous ten-round decision over Diego Damian Loto who had a forgettable record of 10-12-3 with 2 knockouts.
The 33 year old Montiel (41-2, 21 KO’s) scored a ten-round unanimous decision over 34 year old Robert Bonilla last March 28. Bonilla (22-11, 13 KO’s) is the same fighter who was knocked out in the 3rd round by promising Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista on May 20, 2006..