With Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire blazing ahead, treading the same career paths is a tall order for every rising prospects from the Philippines. While the way is difficult, the journey is not entirely impossible.
Both Pacquiao and Donaire have garnered so much achievements in 2010; Pacquiao extending his title run with eight titles in as many divisions and scoring the Fighter of the Decade honors from the BWAA and Donaire staying aloft in the pound-for-pound rankings via three straight stoppages. With the bar of Filipino boxing raised a notch, expectations are high for the following Filipino boxing prospects.
1. Mercito "No Mercy" Gesta, 20-0 (10 KOs), lightweight
The undefeated WBO NABO lightweight champion, who also practices Muay Thai, is poised to shoot for a world lightweight crown in the middle of 2011, according to Gesta's manager and co-trainer Vince Parra. Gesta and his team are already planning to take on lighteweight contender and former super featherweight titleholder Rocky Juarez.
However, Parra and Gesta already declared their desire for a match with Robert Garcia's unbeaten ward Brandon Rios and punish him for insulting Freddie Roach, who is a friend to both Parra and Gesta.
2. Milan "Method Man" Melindo, 27-0 (7 KOs), flyweight
Perhaps the most skilled boxer from ALA Promotions' current roster, Melindo had four successful campaigns this year. With a world title shot expected to materialize in 2011, many believe that Melindo is ready to fight in the world stage. However, several boxing fans have their apprehension, considering the lack of Melindo's punching power. Will skill and finesse propel the Method Man to the top? Or will the competition at the elite level will be too much? 2011, if things go well, will prove to be an exciting year for Melindo.
3. Drian "Golden Fist" Francisco, 20-0-1 (16 KOs), super flyweight
Exciting and thrilling are several of the adjectives that best describe the reigning WBA interim super flyweight champion. After winning his last bout against Duangpetch Kokietgym, Francisco's first fight outside the Philippines, analysts and fans are now tuned in to this Filipino prizefighter. Francisco have already fought world class fighters such as Latino super flyweight champ Ricardo Nunez and former world light flyweight champion Roberto Vazquez. It is only a matter of time before Francisco will land a world title bout.
4. Jason Pagara, 24-1, (13 KOs), light welterweight
Young and raw, Pagara exudes lots of potential. That said, it would be a very immature move if Pagara would take on the world stage any time soon. The kid still needs a lot of polishing. But with so much promise, there is no reason why Pagara won't shine in 2011. If Top Rank is keeping an eye on this kid, then there is no reason why we should not.
5. Lorenzo "Thunderbolt" Villanueva, 18-0 (17 KOs), featherweight
Boasting loads of punching power every time he enters the ring, Villanueva, who also reigns as the WBO oriental featherweight champ, seems to have a bright 2011 ahead of him. Signing up with ALA Promotions, one of Philippines' powerhouses in boxing promotions, Villanueva is expected to see a lot of action and perhaps a chance to fight in an international event in 2011.
Other Filipino boxing prospects to watch out for:
6. Allan Tanada, 10-1-2 (5 KOs), super featherweight
7. Arthur Villanueva, 14-0 (10 KOs), flyweight
8. Froilan Saludar, 10-0-1 (7 KOs), flyweight
9. Johnriel Casimero, 14-1 (8 KOs), light flyweight
10. Mark Jason Melligen, 20-2-1 (14 KOs), welterweight
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com