Inspired by the win of his compatriot Manny Pacquiao on Sunday, World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimum weight champion Merlito “The Tiger” Sabillo is predicting a victory against his Nicaraguan foe Carlos Buitrago.
Sabillo’s head trainer and coach Edito Villamor said that their main priority is to dominate the fight convincingly round by round since they are dealing with a younger opponent. Villamor also said that this is when the stamina of a fighter becomes very important.
“If a knockout will come, the better. But if not, that’s okay as long as we dominate the whole  rounds,” said Villamor. “Sabillo should move quicker and punch stronger than what Manny [Pacquiao] did to [Brandon] Rios. So far, all boxers are in better fighting condition and ready to go.”
Sabillo, 29, who scored a ninth round knockout to Jorlie Estrada of Colombia in July for his successful second title defense, will face the 21-year-old Buitrago (27-0 win-loss slates with 16 knockouts) in a 12-round title fight in Pinoy Pride 23: Filipinos Kontra Latinos on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Sabillo (23-0 win-loss card with 12 knockouts) of Bacolod City said that winning in boxing is not only through the way of knockout but also by outboxing the opponent and controlling all the rounds.
“I watched his fights and he is very tough who likes to slug it out,” said Sabillo. “I need to fight wiser against him because he is moving so well. In boxing, movement is key aside from hitting your target. How can you land punches properly if you’re not moving?”
Buitrago is coming off from a unanimous win over Mexican Julian Yedras on July 20.
“Improving my counter-punching skills is my other concern. My endurance and stamina is both fine,” added Sabillo, who is also planning to move up to light flyweight class depending on the result of his fights this year.
Josef T. Ramos