No need to rush Magsayo

Conrad M. Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

Filipino boxers with unblemished records and high knockout percentages are a rarity up to now, so if one comes along it is hard not to scrutinize the pugilist for his potential to become the next Manny Pacquiao or Nonito Donaire.

And on April 23 in Cebu City, one undefeated Filipino boxer added another knockout victim in a thrilling fight that saw him hit the deck and almost got disposed. That Filipino fighter can make his mark in the international boxing scene if the people behind him play their cards well. We are talking about the 20-year old Mark Magsayo.

Sporting an impressive record of 14-0 with 11 knockouts, Magsayo still needs a lot of polishing despite his logging more than 200 amateur fights.

According to, Magsayo has fought a total of 53 rounds in 14 fights, meaning his average rounds per fight is 3.78. So anybody who lasts with Magsayo beyond the fourth round can be considered lucky. And Magsayo’s opponent on April 23 in Cebu City in one of the undercard fights of the Donaire-Zsolt Bedak bout, Chris Avalos, went six round before Avalos’ corner threw in the towel to save their fighter from getting beaten up further by the Filipino.

Avalos was no pushover of an opponent, because he entered the ring with a record of 26-4 with 19 knockouts. He even finished the fight on his feet despite taking successive blows from Magsayo. Good thing his corner threw in the towel to stop the fight.

Avalos also challenged on February 28, 2015 Carl Frampton of the United Kingdom for the International Boxing Federation junior featherweight title and was still standing before the referee stopped the fight in the fifth round.

Studying closely his fight with Avalos, it is very clear Magsayo has the potential to become the country’s next boxing superstar provided his team doesn’t rush things. At this stage, Magsayo is still a diamond in the rough or a work in process.

What makes Magsayo a very promising boxer is he hits consistently with his right and left fists. But his defense needs improvement.

In the professional ranks, only a few fighters can hit consistently with both fists, with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Roman Gonzalez coming into mind. While Floyd’s right cross has done much damage to the opposition, it is hard to ignore how his left jab and check hook have unsettled his opponents.

As for Gonzalez, his left hook and uppercut are a nightmare to his opponents, while his right cross, hook and uppercut can do real damage.

As for Magsayo, he hit Avalos with both powerful rights and lefts, and if he gets to develop a deadly right cross to complement his left hook, he could become a better puncher in the ring.

One glaring fault of Magsayo though as evidenced in the Avalos fight is he takes too many punches to land his own.

So how many more fights Magsayo should log before contesting for a world title? Maybe four to six more fights. And the good news is one of the vicious punchers in the featherweight division – Nicholas Walters who stopped Donaire in six rounds in October 2014 – has climbed to junior lightweight.

However, undefeated Mikey Garcia, one of the best boxer-punchers in the fight game today, is still campaigning in the featherweight division although he, like Magsayo, is not ranked in The Ring magazine’s top 10 for the division. Garcia’s record is 34-0 with 28 knockouts. Magsayo should steer clear of Garcia in the meantime.


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