by Nick Giongco
Former world bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales stopped Mexican Roberto Castaneda in three rounds Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila) to remain on track for another crack at the big time.
Seeing action at the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, California, Tapales decked his overmatched foe in the very first round and turned him into a virtual punching bag the rest of the way.
Referee Ray Corona had no other choice but to put a halt to the carnage at the 1:37 mark of the round, giving the Filipino lefty his second straight victory on American shores.
Rated in the top five in the 122-lb class, Tapales is now being groomed to fight knockout artist Emanuel ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete of Mexico, the World Boxing Organization titleholder.
Sean Gibbons, the intensely influential matchmaker of fast-rising contenders, is going to lobby for Tapales to become Navarrete’s mandatory challenger.
“I will ask the WBO to make him No. 1. He is ready for a shot,” said Gibbons, who also serves as Manny Pacquiao’s right-hand man.
Trainer Rodel Mayol, a former world champion, likewise believes Tapales, 27, is ripe for a shot at Navarrete, 24.
“Marlon has what it takes to win a world title,” said Mayol, who also trains Tepora, John Riel Casimero and Romero Duno.
“Marlon will have a two-week break in the Philippines before coming over to resume training,” he added.
Navarrete has a 27-1 record with 23 KOs while Tapales has a 35-2 card with 15 KOs, his last seven fights ending by way of KO.