Pacquiao protege Mark Magsayo desires to be the subsequent nice Filipino fighter


LOS ANGELES — Filipino featherweight Mark Magsayo was starstruck the primary time he met his idol Manny Pacquiao on the Philippines senate flooring on Dec. 5, 2017.

The second occurred on his spouse and supervisor Frances’ birthday and every week after he scored his 18th skilled win. Pacquiao publicly praised the younger fighter by passing a congratulatory invoice and gifted him $5,000 out of his personal pocket.

Like many fighters from the Philippines, the Tacloban Metropolis-born, Bohol-raised Magsayo (22-0, 15 KOs) was impressed to begin boxing when he watched Pacquiao change into a bona fide star when he knocked out Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003. On the time, 8-year-old Magsayo was promoting pandesal and ice cream as a road vendor and had misplaced his first three beginner fights as a child.

The Barrera struggle is Magsayo’s earliest reminiscence of Pacquiao. In any case, Pacquiao made his professional debut in 1995 — six months to the day earlier than Magsayo was born.

Magsayo’s desires to struggle on a Pacquiao undercard will change into a actuality on Saturday in Las Vegas when he faces former world champion Julio Ceja. The 26-year-old Magsayo, who additionally has over 200 beginner wins, will take to the ring forward of Pacquiao’s pay-per-view bout with Yordenis Ugas — a fruits of a circuitous route stuffed with matches and begins.

Months after his first assembly with Pacquiao, Magsayo sat in nosebleed seats in Malaysia to observe the senator struggle for the primary time in individual — a mauling of Lucas Matthysse on July 15, 2018.

By then, Magsayo’s trajectory had slowed after contractual points with the now-defunct ALA Promotions. Magsayo break up from the Cebu-based firm and headed to Las Vegas to signal with Now Boxing Promotions. However the firm by no means acquired him a struggle and Magsayo purchased out his contract to strike out on his personal.

Magsayo and Frances each sat on the MGM Grand crying as they contemplated their future on Christmas day in 2018. He could not have been farther from reaching his lifelong dream of combating on Pacquiao’s undercard.

To cease a 17-month skid, Frances staged and promoted a pair of fights for Magsayo in Asia in 2019. A lifeline from his hero got here when Sean Gibbons, the pinnacle of Pacquiao’s promotional firm, focused Magsayo as a expertise to acquire.

Magsayo had lastly caught the break he’d sought. He met with Pacquiao and Gibbons on the future Corridor of Fame fighter’s home in Makati and signed a three-year contract on March 10, 2020.

“I prayed that someday I’d struggle on the undercard of Senator Manny Pacquiao, and at last, my dream has come true,” he stated. “I want to indicate the world that I am the perfect 126-pound fighter on this planet. That is my massive shot. That is my stepping stone to change into a world champion.”

PACQUIAO BELIEVES Magsayo has the makings to be the actual deal.

“He jogs my memory of myself,” Pacquiao stated on the time of his signing. “How we each struggled to come back from nothing to a world-rated contender. I really like his work ethic and need to change into a world champion and I’ll do the whole lot to assist promote Mark and make his desires a actuality.”

Magsayo now has a dream crew guiding him with Pacquiao, Corridor-of-Fame coach Freddie Roach and Gibbons.

He has been coaching alongside Pacquiao ever since boxing’s eight-division champion arrived in the USA throughout the first week of July. He is been studying the whole lot from footwork to self-discipline on the Wild Card Boxing fitness center in Los Angeles and through Pacquiao’s well-known runs at Griffith Park.

“When you may have Manny in your nook it is good for any fighter,” Roach stated. “Mark is an excellent fighter and exhausting puncher. He hits simply as exhausting as Manny did at 126. He would possibly even be a bit of higher puncher than Manny. He has energy in each arms. He is harmful always. He can knock guys out. He is very ready for this struggle.”

Gibbons stated he promised Magsayo a three-fight plan on PBC properties once they first met that may culminate with him combating on a Pacquiao undercard.

“It is just about rolled out precisely like we talked about, and that is typically troublesome to tug off in boxing,” stated Gibbons. “Everybody is aware of what Manny goes to do. Mark is unknown and nobody actually is aware of his actual potential. That is his stage and coming-out get together. Mark is the most important breakout star we’re ready on. He is both going to interrupt out, or flame out.”

Gibbons has causes for concern following the primary struggle he served Magsayo.

Magsayo was making ready to finish a pandemic-induced 13-month layoff in October by combating right-hander Jose Haro. However Haro unexpectedly retired every week earlier than the bout.

As a substitute, he confronted a tall, awkward southpaw in Rigoberto Hermosillo on brief discover. Magsayo did not look his finest, however did sufficient to attain a break up choice win regardless of being out-landed 181 to 136.

“He is a bit of stationary typically as a result of he likes to sit down down on his punches, however he is getting higher and higher,” stated Roach. “He has a excessive ceiling.”

Roach stated Magsayo’s combos, punching energy and footwork have improved fight-over-fight since they first shaped a crew.

“My punching earlier than was wild. Now I am extra correct,” stated Magsayo. “Freddie is correcting my errors. It is nice to have a legendary coach in my nook.”

Magsayo rebounded in April to knock out Pablo Cruz in 4 rounds. He is now set as much as struggle Ceja (32-4-1, 28 KOs), a scrappy and battle-tested former 122-pound titlist.

Ceja final fought to an exciting break up draw in opposition to rising star Brandon Figueroa in 2019. Ceja blew weight by 4.5 kilos for that tremendous bantamweight bout and is now making his division debut at 126 following a 21-month layoff.

THE UNHERALDED X-FACTOR guiding Magsayo is his spouse Frances, a tattoo artist turned boxing zealot who’s ten years older than her husband.

Magsayo met Frances on March 1, 2014 within the Philippines throughout his fifth profession bout. He went again into the stands to observe the remainder of the fights and sat subsequent to Frances. The 2 have been married a two years later in Manila in 2016.

All through their relationship, Frances has needed to play the position of associate and taskmaster.

“It is exhausting to separate being a spouse from being skilled, however we’re glad collectively and like finest pals,” stated Frances. “… At instances I’ve to push him to go run, and never give him extra meals if he desires it. It is hurtful for me. However I inform him ‘it is higher to undergo right now than tomorrow.'”

Magsayo acquired forward of himself throughout his teenagers and tattooed a WBO belt on his left arm. Frances, who has inked over a dozen totally different items of artwork on his physique, helped him cowl it up.

A future tattoo bearing a boxing belt is feasible, however any grasp plan entails a decisive win over the hard-charging Ceja.

Magsayo can also be trying to be the subsequent pugilistic face of Pinoy pleasure. He aspires to come back near reaching the degrees of Filipino legends like Nonito Donaire and Pacquiao.

“The principle individual watching his struggle Saturday night time is [PBC head] Mr. Al Haymon,” stated Gibbons. “If he will get previous Ceja, the sky is the restrict, and we’ll ship him an exquisite world title struggle.”

A win would put Magsayo in prime place to struggle the likes of champions Gary Russell Jr. or Leo Santa Cruz. Magsayo is already ranked within the high 5 by the WBC, WBO and IBF, and he plans on combating at 126 till he captures a crown.

“Can he win titles in eight divisions like Manny Pacquiao?” Roach puzzled. “I do not suppose that report will ever be damaged. If there may be anybody who may do it, perhaps it is Mark, as a result of he has that energy.”

He lastly will get his likelihood this weekend.

“I am able to change into the subsequent face of Filipino boxing,” stated Magsayo. “I am not the subsequent Manny Pacquiao, however I need to comply with in his footsteps. I need to make my very own title.”

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