By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE sixth title defense of the International Boxing Federation super flyweight title of Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas on Saturday (Manila time) against Mexican Alejandro Santiago Barrios ended in a split draw, a verdict that left both camps disappointed, and one local fight analyst viewing it as a “hit” to the Filipino champion.
Following 12 rounds of back-and-forth boxing, the judges of the bout held at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, rendered it a split draw, with one judge going 116-112 for Mr. Ancajas, another 118-110 for Mr. Barrios, and the third had it tied at 114-114, resulting in a split draw.
While the outcome had Mr. Ancajas retaining his IBF super flyweight title, for fight analyst Nissi Icasiano it was not so favorable for the Davao del Norte native, especially since at this stage of his career he is trying to prove his mettle as a champion.
“I am completely taken aback by the split draw decision. On my scorecard, I have it 8 rounds to 4 in favor of Jerwin Ancajas. It is also fair if others had it 7 rounds to 5 on their own scorecards. I find it questionable that one judge scored 114-114, and all the more with 118-110 in favor of his opponent. Although I saw Jerwin as the winner together with other respected observers of the sport, his performance in this fight rates a mere passing mark,” said Mr. Icasiano in a post-fight interview with BusinessWorld.
“This is a big blow to Jerwin’s stature because at this stage of his career, he needs to prove that he merits all the attention showered on him as the next standard bearer of Philippine boxing, if he is worth the spot that Top Rank has given him, and if he’ll have the chance of getting marquee fights with the big names of his division. The result of his bout thrusts him to limbo,” he added.
Channeling his focus on the fight, the analyst said Mr. Ancajas undoubtedly had his struggles in exacting his will on his opponent which surely did not help his cause.
“Jerwin failed to capitalize on many of his advantages like size, movement and technical style. In the early rounds, it was very obvious that he had much pressure to put on a show. He pressed the action in the first four rounds which left him open to counter shots. A wild right hand caught him in the fourth, causing his opponent to gain confidence, thereby throwing more shots in Round 5. It was only in Round 6 that Jerwin took to his real game,” Mr. Icasiano said.
Despite the split draw decision in the Barrios fight setting him aback, all is not lost for Mr. Ancajas, said Mr. Icasiano.
The analyst though was quick to say that the Filipino champion has to make things happen in his succeeding fights and come out with a renewed sense of urgency and purpose, living up to the top-caliber fighter billing bestowed on him.
“The logical path to redemption for Jerwin Ancajas is either a rematch with Alejandro Santiago Barrios or to fight someone in the same category as Barrios. In my opinion, he might encounter difficulty with the likes of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, based on his lackluster performance against Barrios. I will not revoke my pre-fight assessment to this bout. I still strongly believe that the difference in skill level and talent is starkly day and night. Should there be a rematch with Barrios, the real Jerwin Ancajas has to show up to get the job done,” he said.
The draw result was the second in the career of Mr. Ancajas, who now sports a record of 30-1-2 with 20 knockouts while it was the fifth draw for Mr. Barrios (16-2-5, seven knockouts).
Mr. Ancajas and his team are due back in the Philippines today.