Much has been said about Jerwin Ancajas and his upcoming coming-out party on US soil this Saturday in Corpus Christi, Texas (Sunday, Manila time).
But what about his Mexican opponent, Israel “Jiga” Gonzalez?
Despite having 21 wins (8 knockouts) and a loss, Gonzalez was considered by local fight pundits as an enigma. Even the camp of Ancajas had a hard time finding his fight tapes.
What they are sure of, however, is that the Mexican will come into the fight hungry, just like when Ancajas first fought for the IBF world junior bantamweight crown against McJoe Arroyo in 2016.
"Tulad din sa'min dati nu'ng challenger din kami . . . pusong challenger 'yan kasi lalaban para sa championship," Ancajas said.
Even Gonzalez declared himself poised to pull off a shocker against the fancied Filipino boxer.
According to Notifight, Gonzalez underwent high-altitude training in the Mexican municipality of Jiquipilco near the Otomi Ceremonial Center. The place was said to be more than 3,000 meters above sea level.
He is a native of Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
"My dream is to become the first world champion from Cabo San Lucas," Gonzalez said in Spanish.
The Mexican, rated No. 10 by the IBF, said he waited for this chance since the first time he laced his gloves 10 years ago.
"I have no doubt in achieving the goal that I set the first time I put on a pair of boxing gloves, which is to win a world crown," he said in a separate report by El Siglo de Torreon.
But what about his fighting style? Will he pose a problem against the rising Filipino star?
Former world lifght flyweight champion Rodel Mayol, who is backing up Ancajas, found a 2016 video of Gonzalez fighting former light flyweight king Ramon Garcia.
"I’ve studied Gonzalez’ moves on video. He likes to throw the right straight, left hook and left uppercut," he said in Quinito Henson's report to Philboxing.
"I think he’s wide open for a right hook from Jerwin because Gonzalez brings down his left hand after throwing a right straight. Once Jerwin lands, it’s over."
Despite his limits, Gonzalez is determined to turn back Ancajas, who has a more impressive record of 28 wins with 19 KOs and 1 defeat.
"I'm ready to shine ... it's time and I will not miss," said Gonzalez.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)