Philippines, 27 Mar 2023
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Second Overtime: As "Monster" hunt stalls, new foe looms for Casimero

CHICAGO -- Manny Pacquiao (MP) Promotions president Sean Gibbons is an eternal optimist, the kind of dude who will smile on a cloudy day.

Which is why, despite one postponement and a lingering pandemic, he remains hopeful that the much anticipated bantamweight unification bout between his ward, WBO champ John Riel Casimero, and WBA and IBF king Naoya "Monster" Inoue, will still take place sometime in September or October.

"It's still in play," Gibbons told "The team is still very optimistic."

But Gibbons is also a realist who concedes that there is a strong possibility that the bout, which had been marinating for months can be furloughed yet again due to the spike of COVID-19 cases in the United States, particularly in Arizona and California which borders the state of Nevada.

Casimero, who has been training in the U.S. for the past 122 days and had endured the postponement of the highly-touted fight's original April 25 date, is obviously disappointed.

But to suggest that Top Rank is somehow "ducking" him is simply not true.

The 118-pound unification duel is in peril of being postponed a second time because largely of the fact that Inoue, shackled by travel restrictions, can't make it to the U.S. from Japan until at least September, per multiple reports.

Another hiccup is the continued ban on fans from attending the potential blockbuster. Naturally, Top Rank, which is in the business of making fights and money, would rather stage such lucrative showdown at a more convenient time when gate receipts are in the equation.

So what now for John Riel?

Well, the 5-foot-5, 31-year old stud is continuing on with his training at the Bones Adams Gym in Las Vegas.

Gibbons presented the Ormoc city native a list of three fighters to choose from as an alternate foe in the event that the Inoue chase does bog down.

Pedro Guevara (36-3, 21 KOs) of Mexico is among the candidates. Raushee Warren (17-3, 4 KOs) of the United States is another.

Both are veterans, aged 31 and 33, respectively, with respectable records. But neither possess the youth and punching power of the third candidate --- Jason Moloney.

Ranked in the top four on the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF bantamweight rankings, the 29-year old Australian packs a stellar record of 21-1 with 18 KOs.

It would be interesting who Casimero picks as his next dancing partner.

Sean and Valerie.

HAPPY TRAILS SEAN AND VALERIE. Sean Gibbons first laid eyes on Valerie sometime in 1991. He hasn't looked at another woman ever since.

Together for 29 years, the lovely couple, whose union has been blessed with two wonderful kids --- Parker, 28, and Brendan, 21 --- had just celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary.

To borrow Gibbons' own famous holler --- Viva!!

While interviewing Sean two days ago I apologized effusively for doing it on a Sunday but he washed whatever guilt I felt with a simple response.

"No worries. This is what I do 24-7. Never a bother," said the dashing American with dimples the size of golf balls.

Accessible, friendly, and honest, Gibbons is a media darling.

And as his bride Valerie can attest, hand on Bible and eyes glinting with love, Sean is also unbelievably loyal.

One more time.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.

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