by Nick Giongco
As he awaits the confirmation of his next fight in the US, Jerwin Ancajas on Tuesday expressed optimism that Manny Pacquiao will handle Keith Thurman with ease when the two collide on July 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Appearing at the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, Ancajas, the reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight champion feels that even at 40, Pacquiao remains superior when ranged against Thurman.
“Base sa nakikita ko sa ensayo ni Sir Manny, nandun pa rin yung kanyang lakas at bilis,” Ancajas told scribes at the Amelie Hotel in Ermita, Manila.
Ancajas is so confident of victory that he sees Pacquiao stopping Thurman sometime in the sixth or seventh round although the 27-year-old southpaw is not taking Thurman for granted.
“Si Thurman, bata, mas malaki at may bilis din (Thurman isn’t only young but is bigger and has speed as well),” he stressed, adding, however, that Pacquiao looks absolutely fantastic in his buildup.
According to Joven Jimenez, who serves as Ancajas’ lead trainer and manager, matchmaker Sean Gibbons has instructed them to begin preparing.
Jimenez said that three fighters–Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (39-3 with 26 KOs), Romanian Alexandru Marin (18-0 with 11 KOs) and Australian Andrew Moloney (20-0 with 13 KOs)–are being mentioned by Top Rank chief Bob Arum as foe.
“We were just told to start training because the fight will be late-September or early-October,” said Jimenez.
Ancajas (31-1-2 with 21 KOs), who ahs defended the IBF 115lb title seven times, the last only last May with a knockout of mandatory challenger Ruichi Funai of Japan in Stockton, California, reported back to the gym more than two weeks ago.