Freeman Cebu Sports

Salud eyes Tapales’ first defense on Pacquiao card

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebuano topnotch promoter Rex "Wakee" Salud has a lot of options for the first defense of his prized ward, newly-crowned WBO bantamweight king Marlon "The Nightmare" Tapales.

Salud said he received a lot of offers after the spectacular triumph of Tapales six days ago in Thailand where his prized ward courageously recovered from two knockdowns in the fifth round on the way to batter two-time world champion Pungluang Sor Singyu into 11th round submission and snatch the WBO 118-pound crown.

"I got a lot of offers right after the victory of Tapales, but none of them I seriously consider as of the moment," said Salud, who has definitely reprised his role as a 'kingmaker' after guiding Tapales to become the fourth world title-holder from his RWS Stable after the celebrated brothers Dodie Boy and Gerry Peñalosa, who were both two-division world champs, and ex-WBC flyweight titlist Malcolm "Eagle Eye" Tuñacao.

A Japanese boxing group has also expressed their interest to stage the first defense of Tapales in Japan but Salud said they have to talk things over yet.

"I have to weigh things up and explore all the possibilities with regards to the first defense of Tapales. If there's a promoter who is willing to hold it here in the country, then why not? I believed it would be best for Tapales to fight before his countryman much more now that he's already a world champion," he said.

Salud admitted though that his first option is for Tapales to put his WBO throne on the line in the comeback fight of Filipino sports hero Manny Pacquiao.

 Top Rank chairman Bob Arum is reportedly coming over to the Philippines this August 9 to iron things out on Pacquiao's impending ring return set for November 5 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquiao's next opponent could be either the undefeated WBC/WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford or WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.

"If things will be finalized already about Pacquiao's return bout, then I will work things out for Tapales to be included in that card. That would be my priority," said Salud.

The 24-year-old Tapales became the newest toast of Phl boxing after his sensational triumph over Sor Singyu last July 27 at the  ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya that installed him as the fourth reigning Filipino world champion after Donnie "Ahas" Nietes (WBO light flyweight), Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire, Jr. (WBO bantamweight) and Johnreil "Quadro Alas" Casimero (IBF flyweight).

The pride of Maranding, Lanao del Norte went down the canvas two times in round five, but showed great recuperative powers on the way to stop Sor Singyu in the 11th round.

Tapales has earlier said that he wants to slug it out with the best in his division, even as he also hopes to reign for a longer period of time.

"I want to fight the best out there in my division. I don't care whoever my opponent is and wherever the fight will be held," said Tapales. "Hopefully I will be champion for a longer period of time. That is one goal I have set for myself." (FREEMAN)


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