By Ponciano "John" Melo Jr.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Jeo Santisima is a heavy underdog coming into his biggest fight yet on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas against the WBO Super Bantamweight champion Emmanuel Navarrete.
The 23-year old Masbate native is on a hefty 50-1 underdog against the Mexican who will be defending his belt for the fifth time as an undercard for the hyped rematch of Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
Sitting in an odd situation, Santisima vies to duplicate what the then-unknown boxer Manny Pacquiao did to the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion Lehlo Ledwaba that paved the way to Pacquiao dominating the boxing world.
“Only Manny Pacquiao is the inspiration to fight this coming [February] 22,” uttered Santisima who will box on his first fight outside the Philippines.
“I feel so good and excited for this fight,” he added in a short interview.
Almost two decades later, Santisima is on the shoe of his trying to shock the world, not to mention that his 17-fight winning streak is on the line as well. Currently, he holds a record of 19 wins with 16 coming via knockout and two losses.
However, it is easier to say than done. Navarrete dropped the Filipino contender Juan Miguel Elorde last September and is looking to roll over Santisima for his first pay-per-view bout.
“I feel very good because Mexico is looking for new superstars and I'm thankful for the opportunity of the pay-per-view,” he said.
Navarrete is confident he can put away Santisima to move forward on a unification match after being so active in the ring in the last twelve months.
“After I win on Saturday night, I'm obviously looking for a unification fight and I will look for the options on the table and pick the best one.”