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News  


What JIGA means


PhilBoxing.com



Israel Gonzalez.

CORPUS CHRISTI. Mexican challenger Israel Gonzalez is known as JIGA which stands for his full name Jesus Israel Gonzalez Acevedo. On his team cap and boxing robe, JIGA is prominently spelled out. For IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas who stakes his crown against JIGA at the American Bank Center here this morning (Manila time), the nickname is ominous.


In Pilipino, the word “higa” means to lie down and in boxing, that’s bad news. When Gonzalez’ trainer Condor Sanchez was told what “higa” means in Pilipino, he laughed out loud. Sanchez brought out his cellphone, looked through his gallery and pointed to a picture showing a fighter flat on his back. “Is this what ‘higa’ means?” asked Sanchez in Spanish. That’s absolutely correct. The question is who will have the last laugh? Ancajas or Gonzalez? Who will be lying down when it’s all over? JIGA or Pretty Boy?

It’s difficult to predict an outcome because there’s little that’s known about Gonzalez who’s more of a mystery opponent. No videos of his fights are available in the internet and Gonzalez said he’s not to blame. Gonzalez denied he or his associates deliberately took out videos of his fights so Ancajas wouldn’t be able to scout him. JIGA, the youngest of 10 children, said it’s because he’s a no-name fighter. Nobody knows him, nobody cares. That’s why, he claimed, the pressure is on Ancajas to win, not on him because he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. The Ancajas camp finally found a video of Gonzalez' 2016 fight against former WBO lightflyweight champion Ramon Garcia by tracking Garcia, not Gonzalez.
****

From his record, Gonzalez appears to be a manufactured commodity. At least six of his 22 fights, one of which he lost, were worked by referee Arturo Cota who’s his godfather. In fact, Cota introduced Gonzalez to boxing when he was 10 and is in his training team as the mitts man. How anomalous is that? His godfather and patron refereed six of his fights, including his biggest win over Garcia.

Seven of his opponents had more losses than wins and five checked in with at least 12 defeats. In Gonzalez’ most recent outing, he stopped Reymundo Hernandez in the fifth round in Monterrey last November. Hernandez entered the ring with a laughable record of 0-1. Yet, Gonzalez has managed to climb up the IBF ratings to No. 9. That means he’s backed up by influential lobbyists.

Ancajas can’t be too careful. His trainer Joven Jimenez said he doesn’t expect the fight to go beyond 10 rounds with Gonzalez the victim. Cutman Todd Makelim declined to make a forecast because he hasn’t seen much of Gonzalez on film. But he’s certain Ancajas has a lot more to show in the ring because of his handspeed, footwork, power and boxing sense. Still, Makelim cautioned Ancajas not to be overconfident.
****

Ancajas said judging from the way Gonzalez’ physique is chiseled, he’s well-prepared to fight. But so was Jamie Conlan in Belfast last November. Ancajas was booed lustily by Irish fans when he invaded Conlan’s hometown. He was composed and fought without pressure. Conlan was decked in the first, third, fourth and sixth rounds before referee Steve Gray stopped the carnage.

Ancajas said he’s inspired by Sen. Manny Pacquiao to go all out in his US debut. “I’ve learned a lot just by watching how Sir Manny fights,” he said in Pilipino. “I’m grateful to Sir Manny for giving me this chance. I’m thankful to Top Rank for welcoming me to the world’s No. 1 stable and I’m humbled by the warm reception from the Filipino community and media in Corpus Christi. I’m excited to fight on ESPN which has a world-wide audience and it will be shown live in the Philippines on ESPN5.”

Ancajas and Gonzalez have both lost only once in their careers. Ancajas has won 15 straight fights since dropping a majority decision to Mark Anthony Geraldo in Lapu-Lapu City in 2012. He fought to a first round technical draw with Ervin Yamo in Cebu City in 2010. Gonzalez has won eight in a row since losing a six-round unanimous decision to Argi Cortes in Mexico in 2016. In terms of knockout ratios, Ancajas has a higher rate of 69 percent with 18 KOs in 26 wins compared to 40 percent for Gonzalez with eight KOs in 20 victories. Both stand 5-6 but Gonzalez has the edge in reach, 69 1/2 to 66 1/2 inches.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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