Bernaldez seeks 3rd straight hit for Pinoys when he battles Bell

MANILA, Philippines – Can Mark Bernaldez make it 3 straight hits for Filipino boxers in Las Vegas?

The answer hangs until Bernaldez tackles unbeaten Albert Bell on Thursday, July 2 (Friday, July 3, Philippine time) at MGM Grand.

Oddsmakers pick Bell to prevail in the 10-round lightweight tussle because of his 16-0 slate and sheer size.

At 6-feet, the prime prospect out of Toledo, Ohio towers over Bernaldez of General Santos City by 6 inches and holds an even longer reach advantage.

Though Bernaldez weighed in at 132 pounds and Bell 133 after stripping naked and removing his face mask on Wednesday, the American is certain to gain more weight on fight night.

For Sanman Promotions head JC Manangquil, however, Bernaldez (20-3, 14 knockouts) is ready to rattle the banker like what compatriots Mike Plania and Reymond Yanong did.

Plania, also of Sanman Promotions, trounced WBO bantamweight contender Joshua Greer on June 16 to pave the road for local fighters' return amid the COVID 19-pandemic.

Yanong followed suit by besting American Clay Burns on June 25.

"He (Bernaldez) is In good condition. We have a game plan," said Manangquil, noting Plania fought Greer on 3 weeks notice while Bernaldez has 6 weeks to prepare, both under Cuban coach Osmiri Fernandez in Miami, Florida.

The strategy, of course, is to take away Bell's long jabs by boring in and going to the body. After all, Bell isn't noted for power with only 5 knockouts to boot. (READ: Bernaldez tries to trace Plania's route in battle vs unbeaten Bell)

In his last 3 wins, Bell settled for unanimous decisions, including one over Andy Vences, who beat Bernaldez unanimously last Nov. 26.

On his last fight on December 15, Bernaldez knocked out Renan Portes in the first round in GenSan.

The winner is sure to barge in the top 10 rankings and may even be rewarded with a world title crack. – Rappler.com