Farenas bowls over foe to earn title shot
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - July 4, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sorsogon slugger Michael Farenas hardly raised a sweat in trouncing previously unbeaten Mark (Too Sharp) Davis of Ohio as he scored a convincing technical knockout with referee Steve Smoger calling off the IBF superfeatherweight title eliminator at 0:59 of the eighth round in Mashantucket, Connecticut, last Wednesday (yesterday morning, Manila time).

Davis, 27, never went down but was viciously battered by Farenas from the opening bell. Farenas was on attack mode throughout the scheduled 12-round bout. In the first round, he opened a cut near Davis’ right eye with a brutal punch. A blistering body assault put Davis on the defensive in the second round. Davis was staggered in the fifth and nearly collapsed in the sixth with the bell coming to his rescue. Before the start of the seventh frame, the ringside physician checked on Davis’ condition. Davis was allowed to continue and managed to stay on his feet, staying away from Farenas’ punching space, in the seventh.

Early in the eighth, Farenas went all out for the kill. He sent Davis reeling towards the ropes with a series of heavy blows, prompting Smoger to step in and wave it off.

“I prepared hard for this fight,” said Farenas on overseas telephone in Filipino. “I knew what Davis would do. My trainer Marvin (Somodio) was a big help. When I trained with coach Marvin and coach Freddie (Roach) at Wild Card, they didn’t only watch me spar or work out but they also taught me about strategy, style and defense. They gave me lectures. I owe this victory to them.”

Farenas said his plan was to cut the ring off and prevent Davis from moving around. “Sinagasaan ko siya,” he said. “Alam ko, tatakbo siya kaya ‘di ko siya pinabayaan.” Farenas pummelled Davis’ body like a blacksmith pounding an anvil with a sledgehammer and it ground the American to a halt.

“I thought he would go down in the third when I hit him with a wild left hook to the head,” continued Farenas in Filipino. “But he’s strong and very brave. He didn’t want to give up. I’m ready for a world title shot. I learned a lot from coach Marvin and coach Freddie. Even my defense has improved.” Farenas said he was encouraged by a handful of Filipino fans, including a few relatives, at the Foxwoods Resort Casino.  

Farenas is ranked No. 4 by the IBF in the 130-pound division. His manager Gerry Peñalosa, who watched at ringside, said Farenas will be the mandatory challenger of the July 10 winner of the fight between IBF champion Argenis Mendez and No. 1 contender Rances Barthelemy in Miami.

“Michael was very impressive,” said Peñalosa. “The fight was one-sided. Michael just overpowered Davis. I thought Davis was ready to go in the sixth but was saved by the bell. To his credit, Davis never took an eight-count but the referee saw he was in no condition to continue. He was intimidated by Michael’s power. Davis tried to use his speed to stay away but it didn’t work. Michael chased him down. Davis couldn’t move away. It was a perfect fight plan for Michael. His team came up with a strategy and Michael executed.”

Farenas used to be known as a barroom brawler with no concern for defense or tactics. Now, he’s been groomed to fight intelligently. The win over Davis raised his record to 39-4-4 with 31 KOs. Davis suffered his first defeat and his record is now 18-1, with 5 KOs.

Farenas said he’ll fly to Los Angeles from where he takes a flight back to Manila on July 10. Peñalosa will leave for home ahead to attend to an urgent business matter but said he may return to the US and watch the Mendez-Barthelemy fight in Miami.

The Mendez-Barthelemy fight is a rematch. Last January, Barthelemy dominated Mendez and knocked him out in the second round. Mendez’ promoter Mike Tyson, however, protested the outcome, pointing out that the knockout blow came some six seconds after the bell. Tyson even hired lawyer Pat English to plead his case before the Minnesota state athletic commission. The knockout win was later nullified and Mendez was allowed to retain his title on a no-contest but the IBF ordered an immediate rematch.

Farenas, who has now won five in a row, all by KO, since losing to Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa in Las Vegas two years ago, is expected to move up to No. 2 in the IBF ladder. Curiously, the IBF has declared the No. 2 slot vacant. IBF chairman of the championships committee Lindsey Tucker promised Peñalosa that Farenas would become the next mandatory challenger with a win over Davis.

Peñalosa said he put pressure on Farenas to win by threatening to end his career if he lost. “Michael has all the advantages,” he said. “We even brought him to the US a month before the fight so he wouldn’t have to deal with jet lag. There was no reason to lose.” Farenas made sure he didn’t disappoint Peñalosa.




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