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Cuarto to fight like Manny
Manny Pacquiao
STAR/ File

Cuarto to fight like Manny

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Challenger Rene Mark Cuarto plans to use super WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s fighting style and technique in attempting to dethrone IBF minimumweight titleholder Pedro Taduran in their scheduled 12-round all-Filipino duel in General Santos City on Feb. 27. Pacquiao’s training assistant Nonoy Neri is preparing Cuarto for the crack at the crown and will be in his corner.

“Gagawin namin yung style ni Senator para ma off-balance si Taduran,” said Neri. “Counterpuncher si Cuarto. Hindi kami sasabay kay Taduran. Pinag-ensayuhan namin speed. Kailangan pagkatapos ng kumbinasyon, alis sa harapan ni Taduran.” It’s a tactic that Pacquiao has perfected in his storied boxing career.

The only difference is Cuarto is an orthodox fighter unlike Pacquiao and it’s Taduran who’s a southpaw. Neri said it won’t matter. “Pag tinamaan si Taduran, baka babagsak siya at malakas si Cuarto,” added Neri. “‘Di ko masabi na patutulugin basta bibigyan namin siya ng magandang laban. Handa na kami sa training.”

Cuarto, 24, was in line for a shot at the vacant IBF 105-pound throne but lost to Samuel Salva in an eliminator in March 2019. Salva went on to face Taduran for the crown and was stopped after four rounds six months later. Taduran has since defended the title once, battling Mexico’s Daniel Valladares to a majority technical draw in Nueva Leon, Monterrey, last February. Neri said this time, Cuarto won’t be denied the championship.

Taduran, 24, is training in Bangar, La Union and will head to General Santos City on Feb. 12 or 13 to allow for a 14-day quarantine. He will be accompanied by manager Art Monis, trainer Tacy Macalos and Monis’ brother Romeo. Monis said it’s no secret Cuarto will try to copy Pacquiao but Taduran is ready for it. “Alam namin ang gagawin niya kaya kumuha kami ng orthodox at southpaw na ka-sparring sina Jonathan Almacen at Cris Ganoza at back-up si Paolo Sy,” said Monis. “Ang laban na plano namin ay sabayan at habol suntok. Sabi ni Taduran, gagawin niya lahat ang kanyang makakaya basta laban lang at huwag mag-underestimate kay Cuarto. Promotion nila at ensayado si Cuarto. Gusto rin manalo kaya sa laban na lang magkaalaman.”

Neri’s counterpart in Taduran’s corner is Macalos, a former IBF lightflyweight champion who retired from the ring in 1994 with a record of 29-12-3, including 12 KOs. Monis said Macalos is confident that Taduran will retain the belt. “Sabi ni Tacy, basta nasa kondisyon si Taduran pagdating ng laban, maganda ang ipapakita niya at masisiyahan ang mga manonood,” said Monis. Taduran’s sparmates are making sure he’s in top shape. Almacen, 21, is a former WBC Asian Boxing Council minimumweight champion. Ganoza, 26, is a southpaw who’s coming off a knockout win over Powell Balaba. Sy, 24, is a banger whose last win was a knockout over Noel Guliman.

Cuarto is the IBF’s highest-ranked contender at No. 3 as the No. 1 and No. 2 slots are vacant. His record is 18-2-2, with 11 KOs while Taduran’s mark is 14-2-1, with 11 KOs. Neither fighter has been stopped. Taduran hails from Albay while Cuarto is from Zamboanga del Norte.

RENE MARK CUARTO
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