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By Rich Mazon

A Messy Situation for Drian Francisco
Fri, 12 Jul 2013

Drian Francisco will be facing the toughest opponent of his twenty six fight career tonight at the ?Fight Capital? of the world. The heavy handed Filipino pugilist will square off against another hard hitter in Chris Avalos at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas and as a headliner of tonight?s installment of ESPN?s Friday Night Fight.

This is the most important fight of Francisco?s career. This is a make or break fight for him - literally. Francisco?s future depends on this fight, a fight that will unfold a turn of events for the 30 year old fighter from Sablayan, Mindoro.

Francisco?s contract status is still in limbo. One inside source from the industry describes it as ?a big mess.?

He ditched and left his longtime stable and manager, Elmer Anuran?s Saved by The Bell Promotions, and flew under the radar to join Justin Fortune?s batch of fighters in Los Angeles.

Anuran insists that Francisco has still a valid and live contract with him and that Francisco cannot sign with any other promotional company because of this.

Francisco?s fight against Avalos tonight is under the banner of Top Rank Promotions, the boxer was cleared by Anuran for this fight, after talks and discussions with Top Rank?s Bob Arum. But Anuran affirms that this only applies to this fight alone and out of consideration to Arum and he reiterates his earlier stand prior to this discussions that he intends to file a law suit against Francisco for breach of contract.

Francisco in the meantime claims that he was made to sign a contract extension under pressure and believes that it will carry no weight in the U.S. where he plans to continue his career that was stalled because of issues with his contract, his former stable and his new team.

Francisco has been training hard at Fortune?s gym since he arrived here in March, he informed me that he was supposed to fight in May and in June, both of which got moved to tonight?s bout. He patiently trained while his new team irons out his current situation.

But was everything ironed out prior to tonight?s fight? I have been informed by a reliable source that another fighter has been on ?stand-by? for weeks until yesterday just in case Francisco would not be able fight Avalos. This is because of certain uncertainties regarding the Francisco?s status. Top Rank, according to my source, was still having second thoughts on Francisco and his current position even during the fight week.

Recent calls and text messages to discuss this with Francisco proved futile. He has been ignoring my attempts to reach him and other questions about his fight. I hate to think that this is because of my last column where I critiqued the latest actions of his trainer. I hope not.

Francisco and Avalos officially went through the weigh-in ceremonies yesterday in Las Vegas. Both met the weight requirements for tonight?s bout, which, for all intents and purposes, makes it official.

Francisco has no other options but to win tonight, Top Rank will not waste time on him if he fails miserably against Avalos. A lawsuit is also waiting for him if he returns to the Philippines in case he loses according to Anuran. All his hard work, his recent decisions about his career and his sacrifices away from his family ride in this fight. He cannot let this issue and other things count as a factor against a very dangerous Avalos, whose only two defeats came via Split Decisions.

And I know that Francisco has this in his mind and that he will give everything he has, when he steps inside that ring.

After all, despite all of this confusion and drama- Drian Francisco is a fighter and that is all he can do- to fight.

You can reach the author at and on Twitter @Freemazon910.

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