By Nick Giongco
Jeo Santisima was as bubbly as a child who had just walked inside Disneyland on Monday night (Tuesday in Manila) when he checked in at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Even the 50-1 odds stacked against him in his shot at Emanuel Navarrete’s World Boxing Organization super-bantamweight crown didn’t dampen his spirits.
“That’s nothing to me because I trained hard for this one and I studied him well,” said Santisima, sounding upbeat in his chances of scoring an upset.
Navarrete is making the fifth defense of the WBO 122-lb title and Santisima, who fights out of the ALA Boxing Club of Cebu, feels he has what it takes to rain on the Mexican champion’s parade.
“I watched five of his fights and I know what to do,” said Santisima, who packs a 19-2 record with 16 KOs.
Navarrete, who has a 30-1 card with 26 KOs, has been extremely busy the past 12 months.
Last year, Navarrete defended four times and intends to use Santisima as a launching pad for another explosive year.
Told about the insulting odds, Santisima insists his underdog label only makes him all pumped up to dethrone the heavy-handed Navarrete.
“A big challenge to me,” said Santisima, who is attempting to duplicate what a then-unknown Manny Pacquiao did on the same venue in June 2001 against Lehlo Ledwaba.
“It’s just me and him (Navarrete),” Santisima stressed, adding that he is capable of repeating Pacquiao’s beatdown of Ledwaba almost two decades ago.