MANILA, Philippines -- If a bout against Japan's Naoya Inoue is not in the cards for John Riel Casimero, then the Filipino boxer is more than ready to move up in weight and pursue a fourth world championship.
Casimero has already won titles at flyweight and junior flyweight, and is currently the WBO bantamweight champion. He has made no secret of his desire to unify all the belts in the division, which is the reason he is chasing Japan's Inoue.
"Gusto ko unification talaga, 'yun talaga ang dream ko," Casimero said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum last Tuesday.
Inoue, known as the "Monster," currently holds The RING, WBA, and IBF versions of the bantamweight belt. A bout between him and Casimero was in the works for much of 2020, but talks fell apart because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Casimero, 30, has kept calling out Inoue even as he successfully defended his title against Ghana's Duke Micah last weekend. However, he also noted that he has plenty of other options should the fight not materialize.
"Kung ayaw talaga ni Naoya Inoue na lumaban sa akin, aakyat ako kay Luis Nery para maging four-division (champion) tayo," he declared.
Nery, who hails from Mexico, is the current WBC super bantamweight champion. He and Casimero have a history, with the Filipino daring Nery to put pen to paper and accept a fight against him last month.
Should that fight happen, Casimero already knows how it will end.
"Easy. Easy work," he said of the Nery fight.
Casimero's promoter, Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions, believes that it will be an exciting bout given the two fighters' styles.
"Luis Nery would be the most exciting fight because of his style. He comes right at you," Gibbons said of the 25-year-old Nery, who holds a 31-0 win-loss record, with 24 wins coming by knockout.
Five of those victories have come against Filipino fighters, including former ALA Promotions fighter Arthur Villanueva, whom Nery stopped in the sixth round of their November 2017 bout.
"It would make history for John Riel to win a fourth world title in four divisions," said Gibbons, who is confident that Casimero can maintain his punching power even as he moves up the weight classes -- much like his boss, Manny Pacquiao, did during his rise to the top of the boxing world.
"He (Casimero) is like Senator Manny Pacquiao. As they move up in weight … Casimero still maintains his power. He's now at 118, and I don't see him lacking the power at that weight," he explained.
Aside from Nery, another possible option for Casimero is Cuba's Guillermo Rigondeaux, who holds the WBA (regular) bantamweight championship.
"Marami kaming gustong kalabanin -- Nery, Rigondeaux. Maraming nang nag-aabang ng mga big fights," said Casimero.