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Best against the best

Only way to revive boxing, says Peñalosa, is to pit the best against each other.

With Manny Pacquiao’s fighting days numbered, two-time world champion Gerry Peñalosa believes that the only way interest in Philippine boxing will reach fever pitch again is for the country’s top fighters to square off against each other.

Peñalosa pointed to the proposal to pit reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1 with 17 KOs) to make a mandatory defense against ex-world light-fly and fly titleholder Johnriel Casimero (23-3 with 15 KOs) as a starter.

“Boxing is dying in the Philippines and for people to start getting excited again, we have to see the best fighting the best,” said Penalosa, who retired in 2010 with a 55-8-2 record with 37 KOs.

Penalosa looks to the apparent disregard of the major TV networks in showing the fights of the Filipino world champions.

“You don’t get to watch them fight live,” said Peñalosa, now 44, who held world titles at super-fly (115 lbs) and bantam (118 lbs) in a career that lasted almost 22 years.

The country has three world champions aside from Ancajas and Marlon Tapales, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight titlist and Manny Pacquiao, the WBO welter ruler.

“If it’s not Manny (Pacquiao) fighting, TV doesn’t show it and even if they do, it’ll be on a delayed basis, like watching it a few days later,” said Penalosa, whose world title fights were shown on local TV.

Penalosa insists that while it doesn’t look good pairing two Filipinos in a world title fight, getting them on the same ring will benefit the sport in the long run.

‘This is the only thing that will revive interest in the sport,” he said.

Only ex-WBO champion Donnie Nietes’ fights were shown on the screen apart from those of Pacquiao since the Cebu-based puncher is aligned with ABS-CBN.

Penalosa’s observations hold water.

Casimero fought in London last year and only hardcore fans knew about it as they got to see it only on youtube.

Even Tapales’ remarkable, come-from-behind KO win in Ayutthaya, Thailand, can only seen on the Internet.

On April 23 in Osaka, Japan, Tapales makes the first defense against Shohei Omori.

And, you guessed it right.

No local station is airing it.

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