By. Nicolai Rhiz Roska
LOS ANGELES. Unless he makes a drastic u-turn from his official retirement announcement, the great Manny Pacquiao isn't walking back inside the Wild Card gym to wrap his battle-tested hands one more time and prepare for another blockbuster fight.
Sadly, realistically, that train may have left the station for good.
But Freddie Roach, the owner of this world-famous sweat shop along Vine street in Hollywood isn't running out of Filipino pugilists who are eager and willing to carry on the legacy of the sport's only 8-time division champ and incumbent Philippine senator.
Leading the cast is reigning IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas who will make the 10th defense of his title against Fernando Martinez this February 26 at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ancajas, 33-1-2, is expected to handle his business and then seek to unify the division.
Newly-minted featherweight champion Mark "Magnifico" Magsayo is also a Wild Card regular. He is penciled to defend his title in April or May, depending on what MP promotions president Sean Gibbons gets ironed out. But Magsayo, in tip-top shape, is always ready to go.
Eumir Marcial isn't a champion just yet, but based on several experts and insiders' predictions, he is on his way. The Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist is back in L.A. and has reconnected with coach Freddie in the quest to climb up the ladder in the powerhouse 160-pound division.
Rounding up the Pinoy pugs chasing their fistic dreams in the city of angels include Marlon Tapales, Jeo Santisima, Jed Bornea and Jonas Sultan, who is coming off his sensational victoru in New York where he decisioned previously unbeaten Carlos Caraballo of Puerto Rico.
(L to R) Reigning IBF superfly champion Jerwin Ancajas, the author Nick Roska, Jeo Santisima, and Eumir Marcial.