CEBU City – Even at the advance age of 35, comebacking former world champion Florante Condes believes there’s still a few fights left in him.
After more than a year of inactivity, Condes is attempting another ring return as he sees action in the undercard of Saturday’s Pinoy Pride 35 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino here.
The native of Looc, Romblon will be up against Melvin Jerusalem in an eight-rounder at the minimumweight division, where he once reigned as International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion.
Condes said personal matters kept him out of boxing for the last 18 months, or since losing a 12-round unanimous decision to Ryoichi Taguchi in Tokyo, Japan on July 5, 2014.
“May may mga iniisip akong personal kaya tumigil muna ako sa boksing. Hindi ako maka-concentrate,” he related to Spin.ph on Saturday, refusing to elaborate.
“Pero ok na ako ngayon. Nakapag-focus ako ng husto (sa training). Yung timbang ko, saglit lang kuha ko na ulit,” added Condes, who admitted he gained a few pounds during his inactivity.
Condes stunned the boxing world when he upset fancied Muhammad Rachman with a split decision win in Jakarta, Indonesia to win the IBF 106-lbs title nine years ago.
But his downfall was just as swift as his meteoric rise.
Personal problems and conflict with his handlers got in the way that he yielded his championship belt right in his first title defense against Raul Garcia in Baja, California Sur, Mexico the following year.
He went on and lost five of his next 10 bouts before fading to oblivion for more than a year.
Now he’s attempting to make a last-ditch comeback, hopeful there’s still a few fights left in his tank, hopefully for a crack at boxing glory.
“Kaya ko pa naman. Basta wala ng problema ngayon na iniisip. Concentrate na ako sa boxing,” said Condes, who has a ring record of 27-9-1, including 23 KOs.
He likes his chances of beating the 22-year-old Jerusalem, a fast-rising fighter from Bukidnon, now based here, whose ring record is a perfect 8-0, seven of them won by knockouts.
“Tingin ko kaya ko yung bata. Experience lang, lamang na lamang ako,” he said.