CEBU City—When Nicaraguan Luis Perez and his handlers saw their tally in yesterday’s official weigh in, the group pumped their fists in the air and declared their readiness to punish Filipino AJ “Bazooka” Banal.
“That’s hard work. That’s great preparation. We‘re going to demolish Banal,” vowed manager Mario Antonio Garcia, while looking at the scales that registered 117 ¾lbs.
When Banal’s turn came and tallied 116lbs, the Filipino flexed his muscles then gave Perez a mean look, while the Nicaraguan was standing beside the weighing device.
“I’m going to kill you. If you think you’re ready, I’m also ready for you,” said Banal to the delight of a crowd of more than a hundred gathered at SM Cebu’s atrium.
Banal and Perez then punctuated yesterday’s intriguing weighing event with a stare down and slit-throat gestures, uncanny but a seemingly necessary routine to create interest for an international card that nowadays can be a guaranteed a hit only if one of the fighters is named Manny Pacquiao.
Their weight, however, is already a strong indication that both Banal and Perez are in great, fighting shape as the contracted weight is 120 lbs set tonight at 10-rounds at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug.
Though no title is at stake, the 32-year-old Perez (26-4, 17 knockouts) sees his one-night Philippine campaign worth the gamble as he is guaranteed of a shot at super bantamweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. of Puerto Rico if he wins convincingly against Banal.
The 21-year-old Banal (22-1-1, 18 Kos), on the other hand, is in no hurry in aiming for a world crown even if he scores a convincing win.
Manager and promoter Michael Aldeguer said a promotional deal from Top Rank that aims to gradually market Banal as the next superstar to come out of the Philippines, is currently on the table.
“This is the fight I need to prove that I am ready to beat the best in this division. I want to be considered an exciting fighter and that I will prove against Perez,” said Banal.
Meantime, welterweight rivals Mark Melligen and Mexican Bladimir Hernandez, as well as super lightweights Jason Pagara and Thai foe Sapaetch Sor Sakaorat all made their respective weight limits.
Dennis Principe, Manila Standard Today