WORLD champion Melvin Jerusalem was no longer surprised when he emerged as the underdog in his first title defense of the WBO minimumweight crown against Puerto Rican Oscar Collazo on Sunday (Manila time).
Melvin Jerusalem vs Oscar Collazo
The 26-year-old challenger who is being promoted by retired former world champion Miguel Cotto, has been favored to dethrone the Filipino champion in their 12-round bout at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
This despite the fact the undefeated Collazo only has a total of six fights as a pro, including four by knockouts.
Jerusalem will be making the first defense of the crown he won last January and is fighting in the US for the very first time.
But the Filipino champion, fighting out of Sanman Promotions, is unfazed by the underdog tag.
“It motivates me more knowing that I am the champion, and yet the underdog in this fight,” Jerusalem said on the eve of the match.
“It’s my first title defense and I will not just give away my belt. I want to be champion for a long time, and I will show on Sunday why I am a world champion.”
Being an underdog is nothing new to the 29-year-old title holder from Bukidnon.
Jerusalem also had the same status when he knocked out Japanese Masataka Taniguchi in two rounds to win the WBO belt in Osaka.
The Filipino carries a record of 20-2, with 12 KOs.
Both the champion and challenger didn’t encounter any problem tipping the scale during the official weigh-in Saturday (Manila time).
Jerusalem came in at 104.6lbs, while Collazo weighed at exactly the 105-lb limit.