By Joaquin M. Henson, Philstar.com
CORPUS CHRISTI – Former WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley said the other day the Philippines has another Manny Pacquiao to revere and named IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas as the fighting senator’s heir apparent to the throne.
Bradley battled Pacquiao in a trilogy from 2012 to 2016, drawing first blood then losing two in a row. Every fight went the distance. Last Saturday, Bradley was on the ESPN TV panel that called Ancajas’ fourth title defense against Mexican challenger Israel Gonzalez at the American Bank Center here. Ancajas floored Gonzalez once in the first round and twice in the 10th before referee Rafael Ramos waved it off. The three-knockdown rule was not in effect but Ramos figured Gonzalez had nothing left after a left hook to the head took the legs from under him at 1:50 of the 10th.
“Ancajas looked sharp,” said Bradley. “This kid will go far. Top Rank will bring him along. He’s got tremendous potential. I thought his 1-2 combinations were on point. It was an impressive showing in his US debut.”
But Bradley said Ancajas has a lot more room to improve. “For one, he should vary his punches,” he said. “I didn’t see him throw too many uppercuts. He landed jabs, straights and hooks. You don’t want to be predictable. For another, I’d like to see more movement. He fought Gonzalez straight up. I don’t mean jumping out side-to-side. He should try shifting his balance laterally to create angles and find openings. One last thing, he should throw feints.”
Bradley’s suggestions should be taken positively by Ancajas’ manager and trainer Joven Jimenez. They’re not major adjustments, just some tweaks that could easily be added to his training regimen.
“My final advice to Ancajas is to stay focused,” said Bradley. Top Rank publicist Lee Samuels said Ancajas reminds him a lot of Pacquiao. “What’s making Jerwin popular is the Pacquiao connection,” he said. “Fans see Manny in Jerwin. Of course, there will never be another Manny. But if Jerwin fights even a fraction like Manny, that’s amazing. He’s got Manny’s charisma. He’s humble. Fans love that. In my 35 years working with Top Rank, the nicest fighters I’ve ever met were Muhammad Ali and Manny. It’s that Manny charisma that I see in Jerwin.”