With Nonito Donaire back on the shelf due to COVID, fellow Filipino Reymart Gaballo will get his biggest opportunity to date on December 19th. As first suggested by Keith Idec, later reported by Rappler, and recently confirmed by The Ring, the 24-year-old “Assassin” will now headline Showtime’s PBC card against Emmanuel Rodriguez.
The winner will claim the interim WBC bantamweight belt rather than the real deal. Presumably, either Donaire or Nordine Oubaali will be their next opponent.
Gaballo (23-0, 20 KO) looks like a highly promising bantamweight, having stopped 15 of his last 16 opponents. The sole decision came against then-unbeaten Stephon Young, whom he dropped once en route to claiming the interim WBA bantamweight title. Said title immediately vanished and reappeared around Naoya Inoue’s waist when he knocked out Jamie McDonnell two months later because the WBA are cretins.
He was originally slated to meet Jose Velasquez on the same card.
Rodriguez (19-1, 12 KO) represents a monumental challenge. Though he hasn’t fought since falling to Naoya Inoue in last year’s WBSS semifinals, the Puerto Rican boasts wins over Paul Butler and Jason Moloney, the former in flat-out dominant fashion. This is absolutely a sink-or-swim matchup.