By Nick Gionco
FRESNO, California — A little over forty-eight hours before they were set to collide, defending champion Jerwin Ancajas and mandatory challenger Jonas
Sultan appeared Thursday before the media as though they have either a long-standing issue to be ironed out or a debt to be paid.
Their demeanor was a far cry from what took place over the weekend in Los Angeles when Ancajas and Sultan smiled at each other and even shook hands during a function organized by the Filipino community.
With their fight for Ancajas’ International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight crown set to explode Saturday night at the Save Mart Center, Ancajas and Sultan did give each other meaningful looks but not the harmless, blank stares.
Instead, what the two fighters gave each other were those usually seen on the faces of cold-blooded killers, sharp and menacing.
As they pose for the traditional staredown, Ancajas and Sultan looked at each other in the eye and they broke off without giving one another a tap on the shoulder, much less a fake handshake.
Making the fifth defense of the IBF 115-lb title, Ancajas sees Sultan as a legitimate threat to his reign, somebody not deserving of pity and kindness but of pain and punishment.
Sultan also gave Ancajas the same look, knowing that his future – ring and personal – depended on the outcome of his first shot at a world crown.
The southpaw Ancajas believes Sultan won’t easily give up.
“Filipino boxers fight their heart out. I consider them to be difficult (to fight) in the ring,” said the 5-5 Ancajas, who stands an inch taller than the Cebu-based puncher.
“I have been there before and I know he will push himself to the limit,” he added.
“I won’t waste this chance as this is something that I had dreamed about many times. I am here to win the title,” said Sultan.
Top Rank head Bob Arum said it is imperative that Ancaas retains the title because he has lined up two more fights before the year ends.
“I’d like to see him in September-October and in December,” said the 86-year-old Hall of Fame promoter.