MANILA—Filipino world champion boxer Jerwin Ancajas took a gamble over the weekend by taking a departure from his usual boxing style and beating mandatory challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez on his own game.
Instead of boxing from a distance, Ancajas got into a phone both exchange with Rodriguez to show he can handle even the meanest brawler of his division.
He also did this to prove himself worthy of recognition being accorded the more familiar names in the junior bantamweight class such as Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico, Roman Gonzalez of Nicaragua and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand.
"What surprised me in this particular fight of Jerwin Ancajas was the way he fought," said fight analyst Nissi Icasiano.
"Usually, Jerwin takes a methodical approach, breaking down his opponent brick by brick in every round before fishing for the finish once he sees his opponent is ripe for the picking.
"In this fight, he stood toe-to-to and traded hard blows in the pocket. In my opinion, he and his team took a different route to make an impression."
In the eighth round, Ancajas cornered Rodriguez and forced him to take a knee following a series of shots to the face.
He followed this up with a left to Rodriguez's body, hurting the Mexican who nearly retreated after being chased by the Filipino.
Rodriguez, however, proved to be a durable fighter. He was still able to put up a stiff challenge, even winning the closing rounds.
Ancajas eventually took a unanimous decision win.
"It's a big risk, but I am glad it paid dividends in the end. They gambled and they pulled it off," said Icasiano.
"It's not an approach that I would recommend for Jerwin, but if the intent was to put the entire division on notice and open the doorway to fight the other champions at 115 pounds, he did accomplish that in this fight."
Icasiano added that Ancajas also needed to look impressive now that he is under the Premier Boxing Champions banner.
While still being managed by Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions, the Panabo City, Davao del Norte native has already parted ways with Top Rank Inc.
This, however, opens a lot of opportunities for the Filipino, hence, the added motivation.
"It's his first fight under the PBC banner and it's his first fight in more than a year. Plus, it was aired on Showtime . . . PBC saw their ROI in Jerwin," said Icasiano.
"It somehow bolstered the profile of Jerwin as a boxer."