By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter
FOR the sixth time Filipino world champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas will defend his International Boxing Federation super flyweight title, taking on Mexican Alejandro Santiago Barrios in a championship clash on Sept. 29 (Manila time) at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
It will be the third title defense for the Davao del Norte native in 2018 and viewed by one local fight analyst as a chance for the reigning IBF super flyweight champion to make a statement as to his caliber as a champion.
“If we look closely at one Jerwin Ancajas, his impressive skill set speaks for itself. As he performs in the ring, an avid observer of the sport can truly state that he is among the elite of his division. But as a champion, there is an asterisk at the moment because he stands as an untested champion based on the caliber of his opponents in his past title defenses,” said fight analyst Nissi Icasiano in an interview with BusinessWorld.
“It is worth noting that he has yet to face big names, which can define his career and produce marquee moments like his predecessors in boxing,” he added.
Prior to Mr. Barrios, Mr. Ancajas defeated all his opponents by stoppage save for the last one, against compatriot Jonas Sultan in May this year, which he won by unanimous decision.
Despite emerging with a win, Mr. Ancajas’ victory over Mr. Sultan was received lukewarmly by not a few, who felt he could have performed far better and had a more fiery result.
Coming from where he is, Mr. Icasiano said Mr. Ancajas (30-1-1) has a grand chance in the Barrios fight to prove his doubters wrong, more so since he is boasts of a better skills set.
“In terms of skill level between Jerwin Ancajas and Alejandro Santiago Barrios, the difference is day and night. This is the reason why Jerwin has the chance to make a statement win, given the poor reception and passive response in his bout with Jonas Sultan,” Mr. Icasiano said.
Pressed on how he would call the fight, Mr. Icasiano is giving the edge to the Filipino and sees the fight coming to a close early.
“In terms of experience, Jerwin has already the edge. In the last 18 matches of Alejandro Santiago Barrios, he only fought two quality boxers (Antonio Nieves and Jose Martinez) in the Latin American region, which both resulted into anticlimactic draws. Moreover, I don’t think that his punches will be a big threat to Jerwin Ancajas…,” Mr. Icasiano said.
“I won’t be surprised if Jerwin Ancajas finishes the bout before the fourth round. Alejandro Santiago Barrios will come to terms with the harsh reality that he does not belong in the same league with a lethal ring technician like Jerwin Ancajas,” he added.
Mr. Ancajas, 26, won the International Boxing Federation super flyweight title in September 2016 over Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo and defended three times in 2017 and two times to date this year.
Twenty-two-year-old Barrios holds a 16-2-4 record.
The Ancajas-Barrios fight will be broadcast live over ESPN5 beginning at 10 a.m.