Manny Pacquiao
Photos from Manny Pacquiao’s Instagram account
Pro boxing yearender: Pacquiao on a roll
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - December 31, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Super WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao was undefeated in two fights in 2019 and at 41, is looking forward to bigger bouts in the New Year, possibly against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a much-awaited rematch.

Filipino fighters figured in 22 world title fights sanctioned by the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO over the last 12 months, winning 10 and losing 12. Last year, the count was 10 wins, 13 losses, three draws and one no-contest. Pacquiao, IBF superflyweight ruler Jerwin Ancajas, WBO bantamweight king Johnriel Casimero and IBF minimumweight titlist Pedro Taduran are the reigning Filipino world champions at the moment.

Of this year’s world title fights, the breakdown by governing body showed eight WBO fights, five IBF, four WBA, three WBC and two IBO for Filipino boxers. Casimero had three wins, including two interim WBO bantamweight title bouts, while Pacquiao and Ancajas took two each. Other winners were Nonito Donaire Jr., Vic Saludar and Taduran. Donaire stopped Stephon Young to retain his super WBA bantamweight title in Louisiana last April then lost his crown to Naoya Inoue in Saitama last November. Saludar retained his WBO minimumweight belt by outpointing Masataka Taniguchi in Tokyo last February but surrendered it to Wilfredo Mendez on a decision in Puerto Rico last August.

Casimero, a former IBF lightflyweight and flyweight champion, claimed the interim WBO bantamweight diadem via a 12th round disposal of Ricardo Espinoza in Carson, California, last April then defended the title on a 10th round knockout over Cesar Ramirez in San Andres, Manila last August. The interim championship was created while WBO titleholder Zolani Tete recovered from a training injury. Last November, Tete was back in the ring and faced Casimero in Birmingham. Casimero dethroned Tete on a third round knockout then called out super WBA/IBF champion Inoue for a unification showdown.

Pacquiao made believers out of skeptics who thought he was over the hill by thrashing Adrien Broner to keep his regular WBA welterweight crown last January and Keith Thurman to unify the super and regular WBA welterweight titles last July. Pacquiao floored Thurman in the first round and nearly toppled the brash American with a body shot in the 10th before winning by a split decision. There was no doubt who was the superior fighter and Pacquiao re-established himself as the world’s preeminent welterweight.

Ancajas was just as dominant as Casimero and Pacquiao. He retired Japanese challenger Ryuichi Funai after six rounds in Stockton last May then blew away Chile’s Miguel Gonzalez at 1:53 of the sixth in Puebla, Mexico, early this month. Taduran beat another Filipino, Samuel Salva, to capture the vacant IBF 105-pound title in Taguig last September.

Aside from Donaire, Saludar and Salva, other Filipinos who lost in world title fights this year were Marlon Tapales (to Ryosuke Iwasa on an 11 th round TKO in Brooklyn for the interim IBF superbantamweight crown), Joey Canoy (to Nkosinathi Joyi on points in South Africa for the vacant IBO minimumweight crown), Carlo Penalosa (to Maximino Flores on a seventh round technical decision in Novaliches for the vacant IBO flyweight crown), ArAr Andales (to Knockout CP Freshmart on an eighth round technical decision in Thailand for the WBA minimumweight crown), Randy Petalcorin (to Ken Shiro on a fourth round TKO in Yokohama for the WBC lightflyweight crown), Jonathan Taconing (to Ken Shiro on a fourth round TKO in Osaka for the WBC lightflyweight crown), Arthur Villanueva (to Nordine Oubaali on a sixth round TKO in Kazakhstan for the WBC bantamweight crown), Edward Heno (to Elwin Soto on points in Indio, California, for the WBO lightflyweight crown), Juan Miguel Elorde (to Emanuel Navarrete on a fourth round TKO in Las Vegas for the WBO superbantamweight crown) and Aston Palicte (to Kazuto Ioka on a 10th round TKO in Chiba for the vacant WBO superflyweight crown).

Filipinos were winless in three WBC and two IBO world title fights but won three of four in WBA bouts, three of five in IBF and four of eight in WBO.

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