It was early-January when minimumweight Michael Landero began working out at the Wild Card Gym in Paranaque not because he already had a fight scheduled in the coming months.
Landero’s chief handler, Rommel Nazario, son of the late Rod Nazario, the man credited for setting the stage for Pacquiao’s meteoric rise to stardom in the US, said he doesn’t want his fighters on inactive mode.
“I told him to just start training because offers can suddenly spring up,” said Nazario.
Two weeks ago, Nazario’s predictions came true.
Landero was offered to face Moises Fuentes of Mexico for the WBO minimumweight title on March 2 in Tijuana.
Nazario took the bite even though the money was not that great: $10,000.
“The purse is small but the opportunity is huge,” said Nazario, noting that a victory would open up a world of opportunities.
Landero is no patsy. The 25-year-old from Pontevedra, Negros Occidental, has a 15-5-4 record with five stoppages.
But don’t let that unimpressive mark fool you.
Landero knocked out Kenichi Horikawa in nine rounds to nail the Orient-Pacific Boxing Federation crown in Osaka in May 2010 and defended it by scoring a eighth-round TKO of Yasutaka Kuroki in Ibaraki four months later.
Nazario said Landero is somebody who has what it takes to break Fuentes’ heart.
“He is not somebody you get for a tuneup fight,” warned Nazario, aware that Fuentes is also set to fight in late-April.
“We will try our best to ruin their plans,” said Nazario.