By Nick Giongco
Is Drian Francisco over-rated? The Filipino super-flyweight is unbeaten in 18 fights with 13 knockouts and one draw and is slated to face his first big-name opponent on Oct. 3 in the Philippines. Francisco has been penciled to battle former world light-flyweight king Roberto Vasquez of Panama in a 12-rounder for the World Boxing Association International 115-lb throne at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City, which is on the outskirts of the capital Manila.
Vasquez, also 26 years old like Francisco, sports a 27-3-0 win-loss-draw mark with 20 knockouts and has been in the ring with a bevy of world champions such as Hugo Cazares, Takefumi Sakata, Beibis Mendoza and Jose Antonio Aguirre.
In contrast, Francisco has been fed mostly on a steady diet of no-names and cadavers and while he has been pretty fun to watch in disposing them of, his lack of experience against topnotch opposition could work against him when he squares off with somebody like Vasquez.
Francisco hails from Sablayan in Mindoro province but now calls the town of Agoncillo in scenic Batangas, as home.
In an interview over DZSR sports radio’s boxing program of Edwin Sese and Renato Lirio on Thursday, one of Francisco’s handler even talked about a fight with the Mexican Jorge Arce, who is certainly on the way down but remains a livewire foe for somebody as green as Francisco.
While this piece is not meant to discourage Francisco and his handlers, it may be prudent for them to first pit Francisco against a veteran Filipino campaigner just to see how far he can go.
But it appears that the die is cast and it’s all systems go for Oct. 3 versus Vasquez.
We can only hope that Francisco lives up to the hype.