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Who’s afraid of Jorge Solis?

Not Pacquiao, but Mexican’s no pushover

By Roy Luarca
First Posted 01:31:00 03/13/2007

Filed Under: Boxing, Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines -- He?s no superstar, but he?s no pushover either, judging by his unscathed fight record.

Jorge ?Coloradito? Solis, the latest in the series of Mexicans seeking the scalp of Manny Pacquiao, is as dangerous as any of the touted fighters the Filipino boxing hero and World Boxing Council International super featherweight titlist has traded punches with.

But Pacquiao -- after watching a video of Solis? last fight against Fernando Lizarraga on Jan. 25 -- seems ready to dismiss Solis as a worthy adversary. He fights the Mexican on April 14 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Pacquiao, according to some accounts, did not even find it necessary to see the full five rounds Solis took to beat Lizarraga on Jan. 25 in Las Vegas.

He senses no danger, no urgency to fast-track his training that is already behind schedule, according to a report that quoted Justin Fortune, Pacquiao?s trainer-in-waiting at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.

?Treat Solis with caution?

Some boxing pundits, including two-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach, back Fortune?s fears. Roach went on to say last month that Pacquiao should treat Solis ?with caution.?

They also pointed out that, at 27, Solis is at his prime and -- based on his untarnished record of 32 wins, 23 by way of knockout, and two draws -- packs a wallop.

In moving his departure from General Santos City for Los Angeles to March 17, Pacquiao, they said, will not be able to meet the standard eight-week regimen required for a tough battle.

Roach, Pacquiao?s longtime trainer who is in Puerto Rico supervising Oscar De La Hoya?s preparations for his May 5 bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr., told veteran boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielz in a phone conversation: ?It?s (Pacquiao-Solis) a dangerous fight. There is no such thing as an easy fight.?

Consider, too, that at 5-foot-10 Solis towers over Pacquiao who is 5-6 1/2, and has a longer reach.

Although his previous opponents were nowhere near the mold of countrymen and Pacquiao victims like Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, Solis has built a reputation to attract the attention of Top Rank honcho Bob Arum.

After all, Solis was Mexico?s super bantam champion in 2001 and featherweight titlist since 2003. Currently, he is ranked No. 2 by the WBC and No. 4 by the World Boxing Organization.

Impressive amateur record

At 16, Solis started his boxing career in his hometown of Guadalajara and compiled an impressive 33-3 record as an amateur.

After bulking up his wiry frame, Solis, older brother of International Boxing Federation light flyweight champion Ulises, turned pro on Feb. 6, 1998 and made his mark right away by beating Bernardo Tule by technical knockout.

Thus far, his most recognizable opponent is current WBC interim featherweight champion Humberto Soto, whom he fought in 2004. After a clash of heads in the first round, the fight was declared a no-contest in the third round.

Vulnerable at the middle

It is highly suspect also whether Solis, a natural at 126 pounds, can withstand the power of Pacquiao?s punches, which have floored 34 of his 43 victims.

By moving up to the 130-lb division, Solis may be presumably brittle and is likely to be vulnerable at the middle, which is one of Pacquiao?s favorite targets apart from the head.

And, if scouting reports are true that he lacks footwork and does not run much, then Solis should find himself in trouble once Pacquaio tags and nails him at the corner.

That is if Pacquiao hits peak form in time for the pay-per-view spectacle expected to rake in millions of dollars in revenues.

On the plus side, Solis is regarded as a thinking fighter with snapping jabs, 1-2-3 combinations and jarring rights. He is one who studies his opponents thoroughly, their style and their power, and then adjusts as the fight wears on.

It?s unlikely, however, that he?s been hit by the same hammer that Pacquiao wields in both fists.

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