Sonny Boy Jaro provided one of the most inspiring stories in Philippine pro boxing in March 2012 when he came out of nowhere to win the World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight title (112 pounds) over accomplished Thai champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. Offered as a sacrificial lamb, Jaro came out like a ferocious tiger and flattened Wonjongkam in six rounds.
Jaro was literally clutching on straws before the Wonjongkam fight, having been soundly beaten in two previous attempts at a world championship. Jaro dropped a lopsided decision to Mexican Edgar Sosa in 2008 in a bid for the WBC light flyweight (108 pounds) bauble and was knocked out in just one round a year later by World Association (WBA) light flyweight champ Giovani Segura.
The upset win over Wonjongkam resuscitated the career of Jaro. Unfortunately, the new lease on life his boxing career received turned out to be, well, a short-termed lease. On July 16, 2012, in his initial defense of the WBC title, Jaro was outpointed in 12 rounds by Japanese Toshiyuki Igarashi. Jaro threw the harder punches, and American judge Luis Escalona actually scored the fight for him at 116-112. The two other judges, however, gave the fight to Igarashi.
Jaro insisted that he won the fight, but no return bout came against Igarashi. Jaro further drifted into oblivion, losing his next two fights. He was again on the verge of calling it quits when he rattled off three straight knockout wins, the last one being a vicious sixth round knockout of Indonesian Ichal Tobida on June 28.
Believe it or not, at age 32, and after 13 years in the fight game, Jaro (37-13, 27 knockouts) is again on course to win a second world title. He is booked to travel to Mexico on September 20 to challenge Mexican Carlos Cuadras for the WBC super flyweight (115 pounds) championship.
Nicknamed “The Prince,” Cuadras totes an imposing record of 30-0 with 24 knockouts. The 25-year-old Cuadras won the WBC super flyweight title on May 31 with an eight-round technical decision win over Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Cuadras was cut on the left eye because of a clash of heads but was leading on points at the time of the stoppage.
The early scouting report on Cuadras is that he is a stand-up boxer who loves to work his way behind a steady left jab. Cuadras is a ferocious body puncher and Jaro’s rock-hard abs figures to be tested to the hilt. On the downside, Cuadras does not move his head particularly well and he can be vulnerable to the overhand right.
Cuadras holds a decision win over Fernando Lumacad in 2012, but Jaro is easily the most battle-tested Filipino he has faced to date. It will be interesting to see how Cuadras, who remains untested, will handle the whirlwind style of Jaro.
Jaro knows that another loss will likely mark the end of his boxing career. In what could be his swan song, look for the Filipino mauler to belt out his most ferocious tune.
For comments, the writer can be reached at email@example.com.