Las Vegas, Nevada – Michael Farenas sat quietly in one corner of the MGM Grand Media Room as people poured in for the scheduled press conference of his Saturday fight with unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa.
He just waited patiently and stood up when he was directed to occupy his spot at the platform which signaled the start of the media event.
This was the first time that Farenas will personally lay eyes on his popular opponent in the undercard of Manny Pacquiao – Juan Manuel Marquez in the arena across from where he sits. This was also the first time that he will stand this close to the former Olympic Gold medal winner and former unified Featherweight champion.
“Medyo malaki ako kasi piga na rin siya.” (I looked bigger than him, maybe because he looked dehydrated at this time.) was Farenas’ initial assessment of his opponent across him.
“Kaya medyo may pag-asa tayo.” (I think we have a chance.) he added after personally assessing Gamboa for the first time yesterday at the press conference.
Farenas smiled at Gamboa first before their customary face-off in front of the cameras and he also acknowledged his opponent’s popular celebrity-promoter, rapper 50 Cent who was by Gamboa’s side during the event.
“50 Cent, I am a fan of yours but sorry.” was Farenas’ message to the rapper-actor turned boxing promoter when he spoke at the dais yesterday.
The 28 year-old boxer from a sleepy town south of Manila stated that he is by no means intimidated of his opponent who was a decorated amateur boxer from Cuba and a former world champion.
“Okay lang. Malaking challenge sa akin na tamaan siya o mapatumba siya. Ganoon ang nasa isip ko.” (It is okay. It will be a big challenge for me to knock him down but I am thinking of it.) admitted the Filipino boxer.
It is a thought that his trainer, former world champion Dodie Boy Penalosa Sr. shares.
“Para sa akin, parang tahimik lang kami pero marami na kaming naihanda na gagamitin sa laban.” (For me, we are just quiet but we have plans in place for the fight.) confided Penalosa Sr.
“First round pa lang, umpisa na, alam na naming kung ano gagawin ni Mike.” (We already know what to do in the first round of the fight.) added the boxer turned trainer.
Penalosa expressed confidence that his ward will be competitive against Gamboa despite being the huge underdog in this fight. Majority in the sport do not give Farenas a fighting chance against the quick and flashy Cuban boxer.
“Kumpiyansa ako ke Michael. Parang di ako kinakabahan sa laban na ito ni Michael ah. Kung matalo man, basta maganda ang laban at maganda ang ipakita.” (I am confident of Michael. I don’t feel nervous at all about this fight. It is alright if he loses, as long as he gives a good fight and a good account of himself.”) Penalosa told Philboxing.com.
Farenas echoed his trainer’s comments about the fight that will be one of the pay-per view attractions this Saturday.
“Hindi ako kabado. Mas okay sa akin (maging underdog), kasi ako talaga ang mag pressure.” (I am not nervous. It is better for me (to be an underdog), because I will be the one to pressure him.) Farenas said.
Michael Farenas may be cool and confident but he knows the magnitude of this fight, the biggest of his career. And this Saturday he intends to leave it all in that ring in Las Vegas.
“Ibibigay ko ang lahat. Ito ang pinakamalaking fight ko, pinakamalaking break ko. Kung manalo ako dito, ito na iyun.”
(I will give everything. This is my biggest fight, my biggest break. If I win, this is it.) stated Farenas.
And that statement of him as being a big fan of Fifty Cent, he said that he was just kidding when he stated that at yesterday’s press conference.
“Joke lang. Joke lang yun.” (It was only a joke.) Farenas laughingly admitted.