Jessie Magdaleno/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.
World-class boxer Jessie Magdaleno was born in Pomona, but he moved away at age 4 and has since called Las Vegas home.
“Vegas, it’s been good to me,” Magdaleno said. “It’s been a great city and I just have so many kid memories from there.”
It is therefore appropriate that Magadaleno will fight for his first world title in his backyard. He’ll challenge Nonito Donaire for his super bantamweight belt on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas welterweight title fight Nov. 5 at Thomas & Mack Center.
“It’s a huge opportunity for me,” Magdaleno said this week at an L.A. news conference.
That’s for sure. Donaire, of San Leandro via the Philippines, has won world titles in four weight classes. He’s more than likely going to one day be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Nevertheless, the undefeated Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs) speaks in undaunted tones about this shot.
“It’s a big challenge for me, but like I tell everybody, I have this vision and I feel like my age and my speed and my power is really going to overcome him,” Magdaleno said. “I take nothing from him. He’s a great fighter. He’s accomplished what he’s accomplished in the sport.
“But I believe it’s time there’s a new champion and I believe it’s me.”
Magdaleno, a southpaw, is just 24. Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) is 33 and has been in plenty of ring wars. Frank Espinoza, Magdaleno’s West Covina-based manager, intimated his fighter has to go hard all the way through to take full advantage of his youth.
“We’ve gotta look to go all 12 rounds and wear him down because we are the younger fighter,” Espinoza said. “I think it’s his time and I believe Jessie Magdaleno is going to become a world champion Nov. 5.”
For Donaire, he’s stoked about fighting on the same card as Pacquiao for the first time. He also likes where his head is at, and he figures that’s bad news for Magdaleno.
“Most of all, I’m very excited for the mind-set that I have,” he said. “The person that’s within this ring, that’s going to be in that ring is a man who’s a king. And whoever steps in that ring, it’s my ring.”
This card will be available on Top Rank pay-per-view for $59.95.