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Bautista, Barrera exchange verbal blows

CEBU, Philippines - Seeing each other again six months after their controversial match, ALA Boxing Gym stalwart Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista and Alejandro “Zorrito” Barrera of Mexico traded sharp verbal jabs, further heating up their hotly-anticipated return bout headlining the “Pinoy Pride 3” tomorrow night at the Pacific grand ballroom of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Brgy.Apas, this city.

Hearing Barrera’s claim that he will be easily knocked out because of his weak defense and glass chin, Bautista (29-2, 22KOs) lashed back at Barrera (21-4, 14KOs) by pointing out the body as the Mexican’s Achilles heel.

“Tan-awon lang unya nato kung kinsa namong duha ang dili lig-on og panga,” said Bautista during the final press conference yesterday at Waterfront. “Moangkon ko na maayong boksidor si Barrera pero weak iyang body.”

After undergoing strength and conditioning training with ALA Stable conditioning coach Pio Solon, Bautista’s trainer Edmund Villamor said there is a vast improvement in Bautista's skills and stamina compared to his first encounter with Barrera.The pride of Candijay, Bohol, on the other hand, said he is not intimidated by Barrera’s move in getting help in training from his former tormentor Daniel Ponce de Leon.

“Nalipay gani ko nga nakig-spar siya (Barrera) ni De Leon kay napukaw ang akong kasuko. Human nako ni Barrera, ako isunod si De Leon,” said Bautista.

But Barrera’s trainer Victor Hugo Correa advised Bautista not to dream of fighting De Leon again and instead worry on his upcoming duel with Barrera.

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During their previous battle, Bautista won by a controversial fourth round TKO. The fight had to be stopped after Barrera sustained a gaping gash on his left eyelid that rendered him unfit to continue the bout.

The referee ruled the cut was inflicted by a legitimate punch, thus, declaring Bautista the victor, but Barrera's camp saw it otherwise and demanded a rematch which they immediately got.

"Changing the doctor is not an issue anymore cause we're going to knock Boom Boom out," said Correa.

Barrera, for his part, said he never saw anything out of the ordinary from Bautista, even as he stood pat on his earlier pronouncement to demolish the former interim WBC International featherweight champion within five rounds.

"Boom Boom has power but I did not say anything special on him," said Barrera. "I know he's ready but I am more ready so this is going to be a good fight," said Barrera.

In the supporting main event, WBO Asia-Pacific Youth lightweight champion Jason Pagara (24-1, 13KOs) will be tested anew, this time against the formidable Billy Sumba (18-2, 4 KOs) of Indonesia.

In the equally-exciting undercards, former WBC Silver flyweight champion Edrin “The Sting” Dapudong (20- 3, 11KOs) will make his debut under the aegis of ALA Promotions against Indonesian Sofyan “The Cobra” Effendi (10-10, 8KOs), while bantamweight prospect Roli Gasca (15-1, 3KOs) hopes to steal part of the spotlight when he slugs it out with Joash Aparecio (7-3, 4KOs) of the Cagayan de Oro-based Sajulga Stable.

Meanwhile, the official weigh-in of “Pinoy Pride 3” is set at 11 am today at the atrium of SM City-Cebu. (FREEMAN)

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