The rise and fall of Pinoy boxing stars in Las Vegas
     December 11, 2012 4:00pm
While most Filipinos will look back with regret and disappointment on the outcome of the "Pacquiao-Marquez 4" bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday (PHL time), not all is lost for the Philippines as two Filipino boxers won the opening matches of the event.

It was a gloomy day for Philippine boxing with the losses of three Filipino boxers, including Sarangani Rep. and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao who lost for the first time in four matches to fierce Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez.

However, two Filipino boxers, Ernie Sanchez and Dodie Boy Peñalosa Jr. saved the day for the Philippines, winning against their rivals in the opening matches of "Pacquiao-Marquez 4."

Featherweight fighter Sanchez, 20, of San Pablo, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines won against Coy Evans, on Sunday.

Sanchez's record goes up to 14 wins and three losses.

On the other hand, Super bantamweight  fighter Peñalosa, alias "Dugong Kampeon," 21, won against Jesus Lule.

The son of retired boxer and former IBF champion Dodie Boy Peñalosa, the younger Peñalosa's record went up to 10 wins and zero losses.

Well-earned victories

Sanchez opened the event with a unanimous decision victory over Evans. Although Sanchez staggered during the second round he managed to floor the sleek Evans in the middle of the third round.

Evans stood up to the count and fought valiantly during the end of the round but Sanchez already had the momentum and was the better boxer in the remainder of the fight.

“Nung tinamaan ako nung second round nag-black out ako,” Sanchez said after the fight. “Di ko alam kung itutuloy ko pa yung laban pero naisip ko nakakahiya kay boss Manny [Pacquiao] kung magpapatalo ako lalo na sa undercard niya,” he said in an earlier report on GMA News Online.

Meanwhile, Peñalosa Jr. put his opponent Jesus Lule Raya down in the second round with a counter right hook to end the bout early with 1:12 remaining.

Referee Jay Nady waved his hands and calling off the fight with the victory going to Peñalosa Jr.

“Di ko naman inisip na mana-knockout ko siya kasi alam naman natin na matibay yung mga Mexicano,” said Peñalosa. “Alam ko na tinamaan ko siya ng solid at alam ko na bumagsak siya pero di ko inakalang di na siya tatayo,” he said.

Dodie Boy Peñalosa Sr., the fighter’s father, was extremely proud of his son’s performance. “Masaya ako na nanalo kasi lahat ginawa naming sa training,” he said. “Para ito sa lahat ng Pilipino na sumusuporta sa boxing.”

Three defeats

Unfortunately, the three last fights of the "Pacquiao-Marquez 4" bout — featuring Filipino boxers Mercito Gesta, Michael Farenas, and Pacquiao — all ended in losses for the Philippines.

Sunday's grudge match between Pacquiao and Marquez was the first match the Sarangani congressman surrendered to his fiercest rival in four outings.

During the December 9 fight, Pacquiao sat down on the canvas during the third round while Marquez went down on his knee during the fifth.

The 'shocker' happened during the waning seconds of the sixth round where only less than ten seconds remained where Pacquiao was going in for the kill after pummeling Marquez with a flurry of punches earlier in the round to send his mouthpiece flying.

Marquez had his back to the ropes and Pacquiao was the aggressor. Everyone was anticipating for the bell to end the sixth round when Pacquiao suddenly rushed in while Marquez delivered a short stinging right straight.

The perfectly-timed blow landed square on Pacquiao's chin and jolted the future hall-of-famer's head, sending him out cold and face first to the canvas.

Marquez was then declared to be the winner via technical knockout while the fallen Pacquiao regained consciousness after what seemed to be a long minute.

Gracious defeats

On the other hand, Gesta and Farenas fought hard but failed to win their respective title matches.

Gesta had the opportunity to take the IBF Lightweight title if he defeated Miguel Angel Vasquez but Vasquez proved to be a smart champion, knowing how to maintain his distance while maximizing his reach.

The fight dragged on with taunts coming from Gesta during the earlier rounds to make Vasquez lose his cool and come in but Vasquez didn't bite the bait.

Judges gave a unanimous decision victory to the Mexican champion Vasquez giving the promising Gesta his first professional defeat.

For Farenas, the battle was not an easy one from the start since he was up against Yuriorkis Gamboa, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist.

Gamboa is considered to be the best in the featherweight division, an article of the news site “Asian Journal. said.

However, this didn't dampen Farenas' spirits as he continued to fight against Gamboa even with a cut near each of his eyes.

Despite being knocked down in the second round, Farenas showed that he was a fighter when he stood up and managed to pressure the hulking Gamboa.

He was again floored in the seventh round and just when Gamboa seemed ready to go in for the kill during the ninth, Farenas suddenly released a left counter that brought the Olympian to his knees.

But this was not enough as Gamboa stood up and went on to win the following rounds and ultimately the match with a unanimous decision.

Although Farenas lost, fans cheered him on for his effort even when faced with the tall order of upsetting an Olympian gold medalist for the WBA super featherweight title. - VVP, GMA News
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