Pacquiao's retirement will leave a sizeable hole in Filipino boxing, however there are a lot of fighters coming through the ranks each looking to fill, at least a part of that hole.
One of those is the really exciting Jerwin Ancajas (24-1-1, 16) who gets his biggest fight this coming weekend, as the “Pretty Boy” faces IBF Super Flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo (17-0, 8), an unbeaten Puerto Rican.
Ancajas has been one of the many Filipino fighters who has generally been going under-the-radar in recent years. The talented Filipino isn't a name many international fans will recognise, and may never have seen, but he has been showcased on a few of Top Rank's cards in Macau where he has shown some very genuine ability to be a star.
The youngster combines good looks with incredible speed, unerring accuracy, blistering combinations, spiteful power, a southpaw stance and at 24 years old he also has youthful energy the ring. Notably he is some 4 years removed from his sole loss, a close decision to Mark Anthony Geraldo, since then he has improved drastically and run up a perfect 11-0 (11) record.
For Arroyo the fight will be his first defence of the title he won last Summer, when he took a very controversial technical decision over Arthur Villanueva. That bout saw Arroyo show glimpses of real ability early in the contest, before becoming tired or lazy and doing very little after round 5. That laziness was surprising given that Arroyo had shown good ability to fight through the later rounds in wins over Mark Anthony Geraldo, a 12 round decision win, and Hernan Marquez, an 11th round TKO win.
At his best Arroyo is a very talented boxer, with under-rated power, a tricky southpaw stance with very good patience, a great understanding of distance and timing and an impressive boxing mind. The laziness however is an issue, there question marks, now at least, about his stamina and mental capacity for the sport and he has been dropped in the past, by Jairo Hernandez. In fact some ringside observers suggested that Hernandez did enough to at least deserve a draw.
On paper it's easy to favour the unbeaten champion. He has the most notable wins, he's unbeaten, he's the champion and he's the man with the outstanding amateur pedigree. He did however look very flawed in his title win, despite the official scores, and he will be going away from home for this bout, fighting in Asia for the first time. For Ancajas the opportunity of shocking the world and becoming one of the new faces of the Filipino boxing scene will be a huge incentive to put on the performance of a life time.
We know he's the under-dog, but we can't help but think Ancajas's speed, energy and combinations, as well as home advantage, will see him through to a win here against a talented but flawed champion