Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga should come in highly motivated in his title challenge against WBO junior flyweight champion Jonathan Gonzalez of Puerto Rico this June.
This is because it will be only his second title fight in 4 years.
"I'd like to believe motivated siya sa labang ito sapagkat imagine his only second world title shot after four years, he should be hungry," said sports analyst Atty. Ed Tolentino.
The last time Barriga fought for a title was when he lost via a narrow decision to Carlos Licona in 2018. He went on a 3-year hiatus after that bout before coming out with a pair of victories against 2 Pinoy boxers in 2021.
Tolentino said he expects the crafty Barriga to figure in a chess match against Gonzalez because they have similar boxer-counter punching styles.
"Ang strength ni Barriga is depensa. Magaling mag-slide ng punches, magaling umilag, pero I want him to pick up the tempo in terms of the offense," said Tolentino.
"The idea is to outwork Gonzalez. Hindi pwedeng puro ilag, hindi pwedeng mga movements. He has the better stamina despite the inactivity."
The Puerto Rican holds the edge in experience due to his 25-3-1, 14 KO record. Barriga, meanwhile, has 11 wins against 1 defeat.
But Tolentino believes Gonzalez is a tad slower than Barriga, which should work in favor of the Filipino.
"I like his chances. Kailangan lang talaga i-perk up ang kanyang opensiba," he said.
The Barriga-Gonzalez tiff is slated to take place on June 24 in Kissimee, Florida.