MANILA, Philippines - Unbeaten superbantamweight Dodie Boy Peñalosa Jr. was recently named among 15 fighters from seven different countries in the list of the “Stars of 2015” by the editors of the London-based weekly publication Boxing News and made it to the elite cast with only one other Asian, WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan.
Peñalosa, 22, raised eyebrows after nearly decapitating Florida’s Jesus Lule with a counter right hook to the jaw in scoring a second round knockout in the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez undercard in Las Vegas last December. The win elevated his record to 10-0, with 10 KOs.
“No doubt, this exciting Filipino southpaw can bang,” wrote the Boxing News editors in the Jan. 24 issue. “The short right hook that dismissed Lule was a thunderbolt. The next Filipino who comes to the fore after the (future) retirement of Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire will face real pressure from a nation that has been spoilt in the last decade, thanks to two national treasures. But there is a huge audience for them to take on and that is no bad thing.”
Boxing News singled out Peñalosa’s strengths as power, a southpaw stance and pedigree. The downside is Peñalosa is “untested, yet to improve the level of opposition and the expectation of family and nation.” The editors added, “Peñalosa is the wildcard of this bunch and yet to move out of a very moderate class of opponents but he has good genes as the nephew of teak-tough former superflyweight and bantamweight world champion Gerry Peñalosa, who boxed until he was 40 (actually, 39) ... he is also the son of Dodie Boy Sr. who had a 13-year career, a former IBF champion at lightflyweight and flyweight.” The lineage isn’t just from the father side. His mother Marie Ann Pumar also comes from a boxing family that includes fighters Isagani (Little Guns), Rolando, Dommy, Alex and Gabriel Pumar.
Boxing News didn’t ignore Peñalosa’s younger brother Dave who is also undefeated with a 5-0 record, including 3 KOs. “Some say Dodie Boy’s brother Dave, also a superbantamweight, is the better prospect,” the editors went on. “But Dodie Boy stole the march on his sibling with that thunderous knockout in Vegas. Look out for the Peñalosa boys over the next two years.”
Others in the “Stars of 2015” cast include Brandon Rios, Saul Alvarez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Abner Mares. Tyson Fury and Adrien Broner. So Peñalosa is in elite company.
Peñalosa’s manager and uncle Gerry said yesterday he is negotiating a deal for the brothers to perform in the undercard of WBO/WBA flyweight champion Brian Viloria’s defense against Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada in Macau on April 6. Gerry said a proposed card featuring the Peñalosa boys against Mexican opponents at the Cuneta Astrodome on March 23 is on hold, pending the finalization of talks with Top Rank chairman Bob Arum for the Macau show.
“Negotiations are going on,” said Gerry. “The other day, I spoke with Bob Arum (on overseas telephone) and he wants Dodie Jr. and Dave in Macau and Michael Farenas in the Rios-Mike Alvarado undercard in Las Vegas on March 30. The Cuneta card is on hold (at the moment).”
Dodie Boy Jr. was set to battle Lizandro de los Santos in a 10-rounder for the vacant WBO Oriental superbantamweight crown at the Cuneta Astrodome on March 23. In the same card, Dave was supposed to face Juan Jimenez in a six-rounder. If the Peñalosas come to terms on the Macau deal, it’s likely the same opponents will be in the bill.
Farenas, who is also managed by Gerry, made a good account of himself in knocking down Gamboa en route to losing a unanimous decision in Las Vegas last December. The showing has opened doors for Farenas who impressed the MGM Grand Garden and a world-wide audience with his guts, spirit and raw power.
Dodie Boy Jr. said he looks up to Pacquiao, his father Dodie Boy Sr. and Gerry and hopes to follow in their footsteps. “My idol is Kuya Manny, I want to fight like him, no fear,” he said. “My guide is Papa. I’m always with him. I try to fight with the power he showed when he was a champion. From my uncle Gerry, I’m learning to use my head, to fight with technique, skill and defense.” No fighter could be inspired by more accomplished role models.