We don't, and never have, supported “interim” title fights for the sake of it. Despite that we do, occasionally see interim title fights that either special, such as the WBA “interim” Flyweight title bout between Koki Eto and Kompayak Porpramook. Another possible “interim” thriller comes on April 1st when we get an OPBF “interim” Bantamweight title fight between the criminally under-rated Filipino parring of Rey Megrino (22-20-3, 19) and Jonathan Baat (30-7-4, 14).
On paper the bout might not look anything note worthy, in fact some may even be questioning why a fight fan should even care about these two fighting. The truth however is that both fighters are fringe world class and the owners of two of the most misleading records in the sport. On their day either could be a handful for very good fighters and in fact both are very deserving of bigger and better fights than they have been getting in recent years.
Of the two men the oldest is the 35 year old Baat, who has spent the last few years fighting out of Japan. He has been a professional since 2000 and fought a relative who's who in his 41 fight career. That has seen him share the ring with Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, Kohei Oba, Shingo Wake, Qiu Xiao Jun, thrice in fact, Rodrigo Guerrero, Ma Yi Ming, Mike Tawatchai and Liborio Solis. He's certainly not unbeatable but he's a tough and tricky Southpaw who hits harder than his record suggests.
During his career Baat has claimed several minor titles, including the MinProBa Bantamweight and the WBO “interim” Oriental Bantamweight crown. Along with those to title wins he has also fought for PABA, WBC International Silver and the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental titles.
On paper Baat would be favoured, given the records of the two men. Records however are made for DJ's and Megrino is one of the men who should never be over-looked due to the numbers attached to his name. If anything he's a fighters who has proven that a bad start to a career isn't the be all and end all and he has turned his career around drastically from a 6-8-1 start. In fact it was only 4 years ago that Megrino was 15-20-3 (13) and staring down the barrel of becoming a career journeyman. Since then however he has reeled off 7 wins, 6 inside the distance. Those wins have seen him beat the likes of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Myung Ho Lee and Ernesto Saulong.
Whilst Megrino is on a good run it's perhaps worth noting that the 29 year old has never been one to be matched softly. Of his 20 losses only 5 have come by stoppage, and a large number of his losses have come against notable fighters. They have included losses to Wonjongkam, twice, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Tepparith Kokietgym, Marlon Tapales, Paipharob Kokietgym, Sonny Boy Jaro, Nawaphon Por Chokchai, Arthur Villanueva and Pungluang Sor Singyu, and of course many of those losses have come in Thailand with some having questionable judging.
Whilst Megrino's current run has been impressive he has a number of other wins of note. They include stoppages over Denver Cuello and Ratanapol Sor Vorapin and the then hotly tipped pairing of Kenji Kubo and Fonluang KKP. It's fair to call him crude but given his toughness and god given power he's a real threat and seems to be a man just coming into his prime in recent years, though has sadly become a member of the “who needs him club?” and with his upset wins stacking up, it's clear why opponents aren't in a rush to face him.
With both men having upset mentalities, under-rated skills, over-looked toughness and a lot to win here we are expecting something very special. Sadly though we think the bout has come too late for Baat who at 35 has seen better days. Of course he may surprise but we think the 6 year age difference between the two, and the sheer hunger of the 29 year old Megrino, will be the difference between the two men.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.