Manny Pacquiao got the ball rolling on January 19 with a victory over Adrien Broner. Now it’s Aston Palicte’s turn to keep the momentum going for the Filipino boxing contingent when he faces Jose Martinez on UFC FIGHT PASS tonight. And he’ll undoubtedly be using lessons learned while in camp with the “Pac-Man” to help him secure his 25th pro victory
“I was really happy training with the people’s champ of the Philippines,” said Palicte. “I got to spar more and did hard training together with Manny.”
It’s a priceless education for anyone connected with the Filipino icon, not only because of what happens in the ring, but also because of what happens outside it. Few fighters get the attention Pacquiao does, and being in the eye of the hurricane with him as fans and media close in is something the 28-year-old from Bago City embraces.
“I enjoy the training with Manny and I don’t really mind the media,” he said. “I was happy to be able to experience this camp with Manny’s group and learning about championship experience through Manny.”
Palicte has a little championship experience of his own, having gone 12 rounds with countryman Donnie Nietes last September. The bout for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title ended in a draw, with one point separating him from a split decision win. Some fighters would have a tough time dealing with being that close to the belt and not getting it, but Palicte takes a mature approach to the stalemate, which moved his pro record to 24-2-1.
“I’m not really affected by the draw with Donnie,” he said. “If anything, I realized that I have to work on a lot of aspects in boxing. So I didn’t really put me down. I gained experience through that fight and now I’m going to make it up in this fight.”
The Martinez bout, which takes place at the Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine, California, is Palicte’s first since he fought Nietes, and with Nietes winning the WBO 115-pound belt in December, a win by Palicte is expected to set up a rematch. So now the stakes are even higher tonight, but Palicte is staying cool.
“I’m not thinking about the rematch with Donnie yet,” he said. “I’m focusing on one boxing match at a time because, after all, I need to win this match on the 31st first before going back to fight with Donnie. If I lose this match, it won’t matter.”
At 20-0-2 with 13 KOs, the Miguel Cotto-promoted Jose Martinez is no pushover, but when it comes to breaking down his Puerto Rican foe, Palicte is opting to leave that up to his team.
“I’m not really a fan of watching film of my opponents,” he said. “I like putting my energy on myself and focusing on what I can work on to put myself in a good position to win. That’s also because I trust the coaching staff and the team to do that for me.”
Sounds like a fight’s about to break out. Aston Palicte can’t wait.
“It feels like this year is gonna be a big year,” he said. “After all, if I win this match, I’m going to be able to get that title bout again against Donnie. And that aside, I feel good about this year because I am the first professional boxer that’s going on the UFC FIGHT PASS card, so I’m looking forward to that and I’m ready to pour out my hard work for the whole year.”