Photos by Sumio Yamada
FRANCISCO 'PANCHITO' BOJADO vs DAIRO ESALAS
Once a rising star, Francisco Panchito Bojado lost interest and drifted away from boxing after losing a split decision to Jesse James Leija almost three years ago in Atlantic City. It seemed a shocking waste of talent.
Now, though, Bojado is back as part of the Golden Boy Promotions roster, and the classy junior welterweight boxes at the MGM Grand on the eve of the De La Hoya-Mayweather blockbuster.
Bojado, still only 23 (he turns 24 next week), has been training in Puerto Rico and has done some sparring with the boss, Oscar himself.
Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez tells me that Bojado has been looking sharp but still has a way to go, which is only to be expected after so long out of the game.
For the first fight back, Bojado has a reasonable test in the Colombian Dairo Esalas, in a 10-rounder made at a match weight of 142 pounds.
Esalas, 33, has lost five of his last six fights but he is coming into this contest after a fine effort in New York when he lost a split decision to prospect Edgar Santana.
I understand that Esalas fought very well in that fight, despite suffering a cut over the left eye. He went to the body and at times outworked his younger opponent. Santanas harder hitting pulled him ahead in the scoring but the eight-rounder was just one round on one scorecard from being a draw.
This was only Esalass second bout in almost three years but his strong showing suggests that he might not be an easy opponent for Bojado when you take into account Panchitos long layoff.
Bojados talent has never been questioned but in the two fights he lost to Juan Carlos Rubio and Leija, whom he dropped in the opening round he simply did not fight hard enough. Against a willing, busy veteran such as Esalas, Bojado will have to let his hands go or risk being outhustled. I think that Bojado knows this only too well and I am looking forward to seeing a nice blend of boxing and punching from the Mexican-born fighter.
Obviously, Bojados inactivity is something of a concern, but I get the feeling that he is serious about his comeback and anxious to make up for lost time, and I think his natural talent will be too much for Esalas. I see Bojado breaking Esalas down and stopping him around the eighth round.