MANILA, Philippines -- Eumir Marcial has yet to have a single fight as a professional, but fellow Filipino boxer John Riel Casimero is already convinced that he has a bright -- and lucrative -- future ahead of him.
Marcial decided in July to turn professional ahead of his stint in next year's Tokyo Olympics, signing a six-year contract with Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions.
Casimero, who is signed to the same outfit, believes Marcial will reach his full potential once he gets to train in Las Vegas.
Moreover, he is confident that Marcial will become a big-money fighter in the future because he competes in the loaded middleweight division.
"Si Marcial, malaki ang potential niyan," Casimero said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday.
"At saka dito sa Las Vegas, dito sa US, maganda dito kasi mahal dito 'yung malaki eh," he explained. "Kapag malaki ang timbang mo, parang ang bilis mong sumikat dito kasi maraming laban dito 'pag malaki ang timbang mo."
"Malaking fight ang lalaban mo, malaking event," he added.
The middleweight division in the pro ranks is currently ruled by fighters such as Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, both of whom are proven pay-per-view draws. Other contenders include unbeaten Americans Demetrius Andrade and Jermall Charlo.
Marcial is unique in the Philippine boxing scene. While the country has produced several superb boxers in the lower weight classes, the 24-year-old Marcial is a natural middleweight. Over the years, he has emerged as the dominant force in his weight class in Southeast Asia, thrice winning gold in the SEA Games.
In March, he ruled the Asia and Oceania qualifying tournament in Jordan to secure his ticket to the Tokyo Games next year. There, Marcial is expected to reach the podium, perhaps even win the gold.
When he decides to focus on his professional career, Casimero predicts that Marcial will become a star.
"Maganda ang potential niyan si Marcial, malayo ang mararating ng bata na 'yan," said Casimero, the reigning WBO bantamweight champion.
"Lalo na pagpunta niya dito. Dito niya makikita, dito niya masusubukan ang boxing talaga," he added. "Sana, mag-enjoy siya dito."
Casimero also called on other boxers of Marcial's size and weight to try their luck in the United States as well.
"Ang mga malalaking tao sa Pilipinas, kailangan mag-boxer kasi dito sa US, andito 'yung pera sa mga malalaki," he advised.