There is a joke doing the rounds on some boxing websites that Panamanian Guillermo Jones has been calling Filipino fighter John Riel Casimero (18-2, 10) "inactive. Thankfully this weekend sees Casimero returning to the ring for the first time in some 7 months.
As the reigning IBF Light Flyweight champion Casimero is one of boxing's forgotten men. In fact he's almost disappeared into a void shared by not just Guillermo Jones but also Beibut Shumenov.
Casimero's situation unfortunately hasn't been helped by a lack of backing which has seen at least one fight this year fall through. Neither has it been great that he's had to travel for many of his recent contests, in fact 6 of his last 7 have been on the road.
It's been on the road that Casimero has managed to create a name for himself as a genuine road warrior. He's scored victories in Nicaragua, Argentina, Mexico and Panama whilst suffering defeats in South Africa and Mexico with all 6 bouts coming against world ranked fighters such as Cesar Canchila, Moruti Mthalane, Pedro Guervara, Luis Alberto Rios and most notably Luis Alberto Lazarte.
This weekend the prodigal son returns home for his first fight in the Philippines since August 2011 as he takes on the #6 IBF challenger Felipe Salguero (18-4-1, 13) of Mexico. A man many may remember giving Donnie Nietes an incredibly tough contest last year.
For Casimero, 23, this will be the third defense of the title he won by stopping Lazarte in a controversial bout in Argentina. The victory was completely legitimate though the scenes following the bout, a full blown riot, were highly condemned by the boxing world with Lazarte's fans trying to physically attack Casimero. For many fighters this would have been enough to retire them in fear, for Casimero however it seems to have helped spurred him on to keeping a hold of a title he almost lost his life for.
At his best Casimero is a genuine natural talent. He can box brilliantly, be can fight and whilst he's not the biggest puncher in the division he can certainly hurt people due to his work rate and speed. Unfortunately there seems to be something about him that the fans haven't warmed to, though he's a fighter who deserves to have fans and have people congratulating him on his successes against the odds.
Possibly the reason why few fans care too much about Casimero is his lack of world level punch. What he has, which has helped him at the top level, is stamina. His most notable stoppages have come in the second half of fights with Ardin Diale being stopped in round 8, Lazarte being stopped in round 10 and Canchila being stopped in round 11. Unfortunately he doesn't help himself with some dull performances as well.
In Salguero we have a genuine a really dangerous challenger. His record might look sketchy with 4 losses from 23 fights but 2 of those occurred in his first two professional contests way back in 2008. Since then however the Mexican has slowly proved himself with his most notable contest being a very close defeat to Casimero's compatriot Neites.
Oddly it was Salguero's bout against Nietes that put him on the proverbial map. It was the Mexican's first first world title bout, his first bout outside of Mexico and it was his first opportunity. Unfortunately after losing to Nietes he was stopped by Luis Alberto Rios in an IBF eliminator with Rios then getting a bout with Casimero which saw Casimero winning a less than memorable contest.
Against Nietes, Salguero proved to be an aggressive and hard working fighter. He didn't seem the most accurate or the most well conditioned but he brought a lot of pressure, was hard to force back and looked very heavy handed. His shorts may nave forced Nietes to the canvas but they all looked thudding upstairs and downstairs.
Casimero is tough. The only stoppage loss on his record came to the excellent Mthalane in South Africa at Flyweight a division bigger than what Casimero really should have been fighting at. With that in mind we don't think Salguero will hurt him enough to break him down. The Mexican will certainly try to turn it into a war but we think Casimero will just about manage to create the distance needed to box and move. In fact if Casimero's not too ring rusty there is every chance that he'll manage to make Salguero pay for his wild offense.
The Mexican, from interviews posted the past few weeks, does sound very confident, though he's again going to the lion's den and we imagine he'll again fall just short of claiming a world title. In a loss however we think Salguero will further enhance his own reputation and will likely prove himself to be a top contender, something that should help build Casimero's name as well as Salguero's.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.