IF champion Merlito Sabillo stays true to his words, then Colombian challenger Jorle Estrada may find himself in big trouble on Saturday night.
On the eve of his first world title defense, the 29-year-old pride of Bacolod City declared he feels fine and better going to his 12-round match against Estrada at the Solaire Resort and Casino Hotel.
So fit is the champion that he knows he’s going to be even good than the last time he fought when he won the World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight belt with an eighth-round technical knockout of another Colombian in Luis Dela Rosa.
“Pakiramdam ko mas malakas at mas mabilis ako compared sa last fight ko (sa Colombia),” said Sabillo of his memorable March 9 bout in Cerete.
Owner of an unbeaten 22-0 record, including 11 KOs, the champion didn’t have a hard time making the weight on Friday when he tipped in at 104 lbs. during the official weigh-in held at the Solaire.
Estrada, with a record of 17-6, with 6 KOs, came a shade lower at 103 lbs.
After refusing to make any knockout predictions, Sabillo was bolder with his words this time.
“Tumama lang tayo ng isang solid, di tatagal ang laban ng 10 rounds,” said the champion while feasting on bananas, hard boiled eggs, and a bottle of sports drink shortly after the weigh-in.
Upon arrival here, the 24-year-old Estrada vowed to end Sabillo’s reign by saying he’ll finish off the Filipino in seven rounds.
Third man in the ring is Raul Caiz Jr., while the three judges scoring the bout are Joe Garcia, Ulysses Glenn, and Salven Lagumbay.
The Sabillo-Estrada title match serves as the main event of `Pinoy Pride XXI: When Worlds Collide' presented by ALA Promotions and giant network ABS-CBN.
Unbeaten Filipino Arthur Villanueva (22-0, 12 KOs) also easily made the weight for his WBO Asia-Pacific super-flyweight championship match against Mexican Arturo Badillo, tipping in at 114 lbs.
Badillo initially came in overweight by a pound, but made it at 115 lbs. after about an hour.
Comebacking AJ `Bazooka’ Banal and his Mexican foe Abraham Gomez both weighed in at exactly 122 lbs for their 10-round super-bantamweight showdown.
The match will be Banal’s first since his failed bid for the WBO bantamweight title against Pungluang Sor Singyu of Thailand at the Mall of Asia Arena last October.
“Kailangan makabawi,” said the 24-year-old Banal (28-2, 20 KOs). “Natanggap ko na rin naman `yung pagkatalo ko, and ginagamit ko yun (talo) para mas maging magaling pa na boksingero.”