Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista -- Is he ready to be ranked number one?
By Ron Galarpe
25 Nov 2005
It seems clear that the excitement and curiosity on Boholano sensation Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista are just unbelievably increasing everyday. At a very exciting age of 19, Rey Bautista exemplifies the vibrant spirit of a young man full of energy inside the ring and the hunger to bring pride to his family.
With his youth and re-born confidence, the boy naturally showed his God-given charisma, which impressed upon his countrymen that he could be another ring hero to bring honor to the country. Such had made ‘Boom Boom” probably the next most popular Filipino boxer in the country today after Manny Pacquiao.
But the question remains, is Bautista now ready to face the top dogs in the WBO? Moreover, being ranked number one WBO bantamweight contender, will he be on a title fight soon?
Boom Boom Bautista with Manila Mayor Lito Atienza and Referee Bruce McTavish.
Is Bautista now ready to face the top dogs?
I spoke to Bautista’s handler Tony Aldeguer last Tuesday and he said that Boom-Boom is a naturally gifted boxer but admitted that his ward has a lot more to learn. Aldeguer sounded as if telling me that we cannot just expect a teenager to be at his best right now. The respected but humble Aldeguer impressed upon me that since seeing the promise on Bautista, they gradually honed his skills by carefully selecting the right opponent and at the same time rebuilding his confidence. Now Aldeguer believes Bautista must step up his competition, this is why they have chosen a more worthy fighter in Gerardo Espinoza in December.
Secluding my view only on the WBO contender list, I believe Jhonny Gonzales, Genaro Garcia, and Irene Pacheco are the fighters Bautista may wish to avoid at the moment. Thailanders Ratanachai Sor Vorapin and Veeraphol Sahaphrom maybe worth mentioning, but you only have to avoid fighting them on their home turf. However, I believe these two Thais still belong to the elite of the bantamweight division.
Except for Gonzales and Sor Vorapin, the rest are on their 30’s. But from their previous fights, these over 30-year-old fighters are still on top of their game. I am actually not directly focusing on their age advantage over Bautista, but on their rich experience facing credible fighters and exposure in championship fights. The rest of the WBO contenders that you could not see in my list are the boxers that I believe Bautista can match up on equal footing. There are several top contenders in the WBO that have padded records and you could see that Bautista’s victories showed more respectable results than what they have.
Honestly, the whole bantamweight level is deep of competitive fighters but the WBO top ten list is not. Based on skill and overall ability, if I were to gauge Bautista from the rest of the world, he should be around number eight or nine, or if I miss someone, he could fell down further to tenth or eleventh. But as far as the WBO list is concerned, in the real sense, Bautista should easily land among the top five best fighters in the said organization.
With his number one ranking, will he be on a title fight soon?
As per regulation by the WBO, the highest classified boxer in any division is automatically the mandatory challenger as long as he does not possess any conflict with the television network that has the right to the fights of the champion. In this case, if Bautista wants to fight now current champion Jhonny Gonzales, then he is just qualified as a mandatory challenger.
However, no matter if Bautista is the number one ranked fighter to the throne and an automatic mandatory challenger, his handlers must submit a formal application expressing Bautista’s intention to be the mandatory challenger, or else, he would not be given official recognition as the mandatory challenger.
With this rule, if Aldeguer believes Bautista is not yet ready for a crown, he may wish to delay his submission of the application for mandatory recognition.
Tony Aldeguer told me that within the next two years are the critical periods to decide whether Bautista is ready for a title fight. It is like simply saying that depending on the progress of the boy, then they will decide to fight or not for a world championship. Therefore, for those who are not patient enough not to see Bautista on a title fight, there is a chance that this 19-year-old from Bohol could be on a title fight next year. Let us just hope that Bautista would show more maturity in his coming fights. I guess he needs to fight more Espinozas to improve his skill.
The prime objective of Tony Aldeguer on Bautista is to expose him in the United States both in training and in facing a more stiff competition. They are not on the rush, but when the right time comes, they will go after the belt.
Current WBO bantamweight ruler Jhonny Gonzales has a scheduled fight against Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson on February next year. This means if Bautista wants to avail of his mandatory privilege as the number one ranked contender, he can only fight Gonzalez on the latter part of the second quarter or early part of the third quarter in 2006.
Tony Aldeguer confirmed to me that the Espinoza bout for Bautista would go on for sure in December. He believes that Espinoza would be the toughest test for “Boom Boom”, as the Mexican has experience in battling some of the best in the division.
Gerardo Espinoza is a 24-yr.old orthodox fighter who hails from Tijuana and registered at boxrec.com as a 5-9 boxer. However, some fight reports said that he is only 5-7. He is billed as “locomotora” or in English “locomotive”. Espinoza with his “locomotive” billing may have a propeller-type of style or punches as his record shows 26 KOs out of 28 victories. Out of the 26 KOs, 25 were inside 5 rounds. It seems that there is no doubt that this fighter has power on his fists and should have a killer instinct just like Bautista. However, while he registered impressive victories over so-so opponents, he is known to be mediocre when facing the elite fighters in his division.
Espinoza has faced top fighters like Rafa Marquez, Jose Miguel
Aquiniga, Genaro Garcia, Mauricio Martinez, Cruz Carbajal and Jorge Lacierva. He is actually coming in against Bautista on a 4-fight losing streak all by decisions. It is also worthy to mention that Espinoza on record has been sent on the floor four times, something that should give us confidence as we have seen the capability of the fists of “Boom Boom”.
Nevertheless, Espinoza is a former WBO NABO champion, and WBA Fedecentro champion, and with his rich experience fighting the best that saw him lasting 8 rounds with Cruz Carbajal, 9 rounds with Jorge Lacierva and a close majority decision lost to undefeated Jose Miguel Aquiniga in his last outing, simply means that this fighter is a serious threat to Bautista.
Let us pray that our boy Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista makes it all the way!!!
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