Philippines, 11 Dec 2018
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Biggest payday up for Jerwin

IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas has been guaranteed the biggest purse of his career for staking his crown against fellow Filipino Jonas Sultan in May or June and Las Vegas matchmaker Sean Gibbons said the paycheck of $120,000 will be the start of more lucrative deals to come.

Ancajas was supposed to face Sultan in the undercard of the Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford mainer at the Mandalay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on April 14 but the show was postponed. Crawford suffered a right hand injury in sparring last week and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum will soon announce the new schedule.

Since Ancajas wrested the IBF crown from Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo in September 2016, his paychecks have increased from $40,000 for his first defense against Mexico’s Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in Macau in January last year to $60,000 for his second defense against Japan’s Teiru Kinoshita in Brisbane last July to $80,000 for his third defense against Ireland’s Jamie Conlan in Belfast last November to $95,000 for his fourth defense against Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez in Corpus Christi, Texas, last February. The Sultan fight will mark Ancajas’ first breach of the six-figure mark.

Gibbons said even as he’s not taking Sultan lightly, Ancajas should turn back the No. 1 contender and make two more title defenses before the year ends. “Jerwin could pull in $400,000 this year,” said Gibbons. “Bob’s a genius and he knows how to spot a great fighter. Initially, Bob offered Jerwin a three-fight contract with an option for three more fights. After Jerwin knocked out Gonzalez, Bob didn’t hesitate to exercise his option so he’s got Jerwin locked in for five more fights.”

Gibbons credited Irish basketball organizer Dave Cullen for opening Arum’s eyes to Ancajas indirectly. “I met Dave in a Belfast gym before Jerwin’s fight against Conlan,” said Gibbons. “He wore a New York Knicks shirt and I found out he received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY in 2007 for his role in Peace Players International. Dave was recognized for getting Protestant and Catholic kids together to play basketball. I gave Dave and his son tickets to watch Jerwin’s fight. Dave was so impressed with Jerwin’s performance that he phoned ESPN president John Skipper to tell him about the fight. I presume John then phoned Bob and before I knew it, Bob offered a contract. Things have a way of working out if you’re a good kid like Jerwin.” Others who’ve been given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award include Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Dean Smith and Nelson Mandela.

Gibbons said what sets Ancajas apart from others is his humility. “Jerwin’s still the same down-to-earth guy,” he said. “He’s not extravagant. He helps out his family and invests his money wisely. With trainer Joven Jimenez, Jerwin set up the Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite, which is getting to be more popular than the Wild Card Gym. He reminds me of former IBF/WBO featherweight and WBO superfeatherweight champion Orlando Salido who’s now 39. He’s been a pro for 22 years. He was born in Mexico and now lives in Phoenix. He owns houses and a 16-door apartment building. His family’s future is secure. His kids speak English and go to good schools. He’s got something to show for what he did in the ring.”

Gibbons said even as Ancajas is mobbed like a rock star in the Philippines, it isn’t getting to his head. “He’s like Sen. Manny (Pacquiao) in that respect,” he said. “Jerwin’s head is in the right place. He’s just a nice, humble guy.”

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

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