2 more Filipino boxers try luck in Las Vegas

MANILA, Philippines – Holed up in the United States amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipino boxers John Vincent Moralde and Mark John Yap secured fights on Thursday, July 16 (Friday, July 17, Philippine time) at The Bubble, MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Moralde and Yap agreed to tangle with Mexican Alexis Del Bosque Flores and Colombian Miguel Marriaga, respectively, despite short notices from Top Rank Inc.

According to JC Manangquil, head of Sanman Promotions which handles Moralde, they were given the offer only on Monday but accepted it because Moralde has been training for two months and is already in top form as he was supposed to fight David Berna in Miami on July 24.

"Moralde told me he's in good condition and ready for battle," said Manangquil. "It's hard to pass up this opportunity because based on their records, Moralde has a good chance. Flores is good but isn't a standout."

Moralde, who hails from General Santos City, holds a 23-3 slate with 13 knockouts, the last two coming in his last two bouts against Jovany Rota and Matias Agustin Arrigada, respectively.

Flores has a 17-5 card with 9 knockouts, although he won his last 4 fights via unanimous decision.

Though Flores is listed as 6-foot-flat and Moralde 5-foot-7, Manangquil said the discrepancy in height and reach won't be a big problem because the Mexican isn't afraid to trade punches even from close range.

While Moralde-Flores could go either way, Yap will be the huge underdog against Marriaga in their featherweight tussle.

Yap, a journeyman from Cagayan de Oro, has lost his last two fights in Las Vegas and 3 of his last 4 for a 30-15 record, 15 by knockout.

In contrast, Marriaga, a three-time world title contender, has stopped his last 4 opponents to climb to 29-3, 25 by knockout.

Marriaga suffered back-to-back losses in 2017, but these were against Oscar Valdez and Vasyl Lomachenko. – Rappler.com