By NICK GIONGCO
Filipino fighter John Vincent Moralde was supposed to see action on a Top Rank card last Thursday night (Friday morning in Manila) in Las Vegas.
But a COVID-19 test that turned positive prompted Top Rank to scrap his scheduled lightweight eight-rounder with Alexis del Bosque of Mexico at The Bubble inside the MGM Grand.
The test was done on the eve of the match.
Moralde, 26, is now quarantined at the hotel.
Moralde, who hails from General Santos City, had fought in the US five times, winning two and losing thrice.
Promoter JC Mananquil, who manages Moralde, didn’t respond to calls and messages at press time.
Since June, Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. has been tapping Filipino fighters to beef up its twice-weekly shows held behind closed doors.
Late last month, Mike Plania, another one of Mananquil’s fighters, became the first Filipino to return to the ring during the coronavirus era and won against world No. 1 Joshua Greer.
After Plania’s landmark victory, US-based welter Reymond Yanong won but lost 10 days later.
One of Plania’s stablemates, Mark Bernaldez also fought but was beaten easily by Albert Bell of the US.
With travel restrictions worldwide still in place, only boxers already in the US and even those who can travel from their own countries to America are given chances of taking part.
But the participants, not just the boxers themselves but their trainers, as well as TV crew, staffers from the Nevada Athletic Commission and Top Rank, undergo regular testing to ensure the transmission is kept on check.
There were two Filipinos scheduled to fight on that same night.
But former Orient-Pacific champion Mark John Yap, who has been living in the US, came in massively overweight at 136.7 lbs against Colombian Miguel Marriaga, who checked in at 127.3. The limit was 128 lbs.
The Yap-Marriage was also cancelled owing to the infraction.