By NICK GIONGCO
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Israel Gonzalez, the last of ten children from the renowned Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas, firmly believes the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title will change hands this Saturday night (late Sunday morning in Manila).
While acknowledging that Filipino champion Jerwin Ancajas is aggressive, fast and strong, the tenth-rated Gonzalez insists that he will come up with a head-turning performance at the American Bank Center.
“I have fought southpaws before and I didn’t have problems with them,” said Gonzalez with the help of a translator on Wednesday afternoon before working out.
Armed with a 21-1 win-loss record with eight KOs, Gonzalez swears that “volume punching and speed”, to go with his counter-punching skills will propel him to victory.
Gonzalez has largely been ignored even though he had been here since Sunday night as he blew into town on the same flight with Ancajas, who came from Los Angeles. Gonzalez came with just two handlers from a flight from Mexico City while Ancajas was with a party of five, not including a two-man TV crew and a scribe who flew in from Manila to chronicle his exploits.
Seasoned by over 100 rounds of sparring in the rugged mountains outside of Mexico, Gonzalez likewise feels Ancajas, making the fourth defense of the IBF 115-lb crown, will be hard-pressed to come up with a huge win.
Recently, Top Rank signed Ancajas to a juicy three-fight deal and this should put more pressure for him to make a lasting impression.
“The pressure is on him and not on me,” said Gonzalez, adding that while he is fighting for the first time on US soil, he remains cool, calm and collected.
Ancajas is making his American debut and it will be telecast live on ESPN with Arum hoping that the fast-rising Davao del Norte native will live up to lofty expectations.