Penalosa Defends Title, Finishes Challenger in 8

By Carlo Pamintuan: Gerry Penalosa (53-6-2) successfully defended his WBO bantamweight title by disposing of the game but overmatched Thai challenger Ratanachai sor Vorapin (72-10-0) inside eight rounds. Penalosa started to connect with crisp combinations to the head and body very early in the fight. He would often frustrate the challenger with quick 3-punch combinations while the Thai missed wildly with his tries. It was obvious that the two thirty-something combatants prepared very well for that fight because both knew that a loss this night could very well be their last..

The two tough pugs traded heavy leather from the opening bell. Penalosa picked his spots and sniped from the outside while the Thai barged in and came forward with swinging punches. The Thai was trying very hard to connect against the champion but Penalosa showed his defensive skills by using his feet to go around the challenger while blocking most of the Thai’s attacks with his gloves.

It was a great tactical fight between the two veterans who have 125 wins and only 16 losses combined. It was a give and take affair though it was clear that the defending champion was winning most of the rounds. He would unleash a barrage of punches as soon as he hears the 10-second warning to leave a lasting impression on the judges.

The two clashed heads early in round eight and it opened up a cut above Penalosa’s forehead. The cut seemed to wake Penalosa up as he stepped on the gas pedal a bit harder thereafter. The champion hit the Thai challenger with a clean uppercut that backed him up. It seemed like a knockdown as the challenger appeared to have touched the canvass with his glove but the referee decided to let the action continue.

Penalosa, smelling blood, moved forward and hurled hard combinations that sent the challenger down. The Thai showed his tremendous heart as he gamely stood up after the knockdown but it was clear that it was just a matter of time before the fight, and maybe his boxing career, was over.

After the masterful display of ring generalship by Penalosa, Manny Pacquiao, fresh from an encounter with nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez minutes earlier, came to the ring and gave his friend a hug.

In the post-fight interview, Penalosa said that the Thai was a tough challenger and that he also wanted to win. “I wanted to win too and I didn’t want to lose in front of my countrymen, I want them to go home happy” he added. He was also asked what he plans to do next. Penalosa’s answer was crystal clear. He wanted another shot at WBO superbantamweight champion, Daniel Ponce de Leon. Penalosa shouted de Leon’s name loud and clear as if to command the promoters at ringside to make the match as soon as possible.

At this stage of his career, it is clear that Penalosa only has a handful of fights left. He is already 35 and his best days are clearly behind him. With that said, Penalosa is driven to give a few more fights that would make people remember him. He looks forward to a few more good paydays to support his family and he also wants the world to remember him as a fighter who overcame great odds and a fighter who suffered multiple setbacks but managed to climb the top of the mountain again.

Though it is true that he can no longer be the first Asian to win three titles in three different divisions as Pacquiao already holds this distinction, Penalosa is still devoted to winning another world title. Besides, being the second Asian to have this distinction isn’t all that bad, especially if the only name that will be above his is Pacquiao’s

Article posted on 06.04.2008

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