Freeman Cebu Sports

Casimero cashes in

BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro - The Freeman

John Riel “Quadro Alas” Casimero has a come a long way, hasn’t he? After disposing off Duke Micah in three one-sided rounds last Sunday, Casimero made a serious statement that he was ready (or has always been) for the big time. After touring the world and eleven countries chasing fights that have defined his career, he might have scored the win that will see him settle down in Las Vegas and that will bring him the biggest names, fights and money in the bantamweight (118 pounds) and/or super bantamweight (122 pounds) divisions. Did you hear that cash register sound effects? Katching!

This was the same sentiment raised by MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons who described Casimero’s latest win as similar to that of Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s when the Pacman stepped in as a late substitute and scored a stunning knockout win over Lehlo Ledwaba to win the International Boxing Federation super bantamweight world championship. This win, according to Gibbons, was the turning point for the Senator who would go on to win more titles at heavier weight divisions and fight the toughest boxers out there, including the likes of Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar de la Hoya, Antonio Margarito, Timothy Bradley, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Will Casimero follow in the Pacman’s footsteps?

Listening to both Gibbons and Casimero exchange pleasantries, jokes and call-outs at the PSA online forum reminded me of a similar press conference that Bob Arum and Pacquiao held at the Manila Hotel way back. In that presscon, Arum said that Pacquiao had chosen to go with Top Rank (and not Golden Boy) and that he (Arum) would find ways to make Pacquiao “cross over” to the U.S. market where the money was big and the quality of opposition assured. The rest is history. In Casimero’s case, Gibbons and his prize-fighter from Ormoc were still on cloud nine after the demolition job on Micah and called Naouya Inoue a “Japanese turtle” who was hiding and avoiding Casimero. They were supposed to clash in a unification bout last April but the pandemic stepped in. “Bob Arum has Inoue hiding under a bed,” Gibbons jokingly said. “Inoue’s not a monster, he’s a turtle” both Gibbons and Casimero sang together.

What’s next for Casimero? Inoue is obviously who they want to fight, and that’s what we all want, don’t we? This one will be for all the marbles (and the money). But the undefeated Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) has a fight on October 31 against Jason Moloney which he should handily win. Inoue’s last fight was a tough unanimous decision win over Filipino Nonito Donaire, a slugfest where Donaire wobbled Inoue and had him in trouble. This is crucial since Casimero only has to look at the tape of this fight to see how he can punish the champion and determine who the real monster is. Another option is to go for a fourth world title in a fourth weight class: the super bantamweight division against WBC champion Luis Nery of Mexico. Gibbons mentioned that he liked Nery’s style and that this fits that of Casimero. WBA regular bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux has also been mentioned as a possible opponent. When asked about a possible rematch with former tormentor Jonas Sultan, Casimero said that’s out of the question as he doesn’t stand to earn much from such a fight. Makes sense!

Money should no longer be an issue for Casimero. Gibbons said that Casimero should be a main event fighter in the U.S. now that Showtime and people of Al Haymon have expressed their interest; seeing him fight up close. “People are seeing what I’ve been seeing for the past seven years,” Gibbons said. “He’s the real monster.” While it was difficult to get fights for Casimero in the U.S. before, this won’t be the case anymore, another statement that had Casimero smiling ear-to-ear, and I’m sure it’s a smile worth a million dollars (or pesos?). “When you do it in the U.S., that’s where you make the big hit,” Gibbons shared. Gibbons further added that Casimero has gone from being unknown to becoming popular in the boxing market. And it wasn’t only about the fight per se. It was how he carried himself from his media interviews, the knock-out, the one-handed push-ups after the fight, and his over-all showmanship. I also saw a more confident and proud Casimero who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and converse in English too. He even admitted that one part that he had to improve was his mastery of the English language. I’m happy that after practically making the world his office address, it looks like he’ll be moving to a new office in the U.S.

For now, Casimero is looking forward to a well-deserved trip home to Ormoc after being gone for seven months. One thing for certain is that it’s going to be his best trip home ever. Casimero is coming home and cashing in. Congrats champ!

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