FightPost Boxer of the Week: Mike Plania
By Gary Kittilsen
Mike Plania of General Santos City in the Philipines, woke up Tuesday morning as a 16-1 underdog and an unknown commodity to all but the hardest of hardcore boxing fans.
However, just hours later a switch went off and sports gamblers started pouring in money on the unknown Filipino and the odds were down to less than 3-1 by the time Plania walked into the ring on Tuesday night.
In what was supposed to be little more than a tun up for Joshua Greer Jr who was the number one ranked bantamweight in the world by the WBO. It was supposed to be a stay busy fight till the pandemic passed and Greer could land himself big payday and a world title fight with either WBO champ John Riel Casimero or unified WBA and IBF champ and Top Rank stablemate Naoya Inoue.
In reality, it turned out out to be anything but a tune-up for Greer and a bit more than he could handle as Plania rallied early and late, and pulled the upset via majority decision and captured our Fighter of the Week Award.
As soon as the bell sounded to start the fight it became obvious that Plania was no 16-1 underdog, he was no 3-1 underdog either and Greer was going to be in for the fight of his life.
A massive left hook swept in at the end of the first round and dropped Greer to the seat of his pants. Greer, a Chicago native, tried to jab and stay on the outside in the second and third rounds and had some success staying on the outside.
However, Plania figured out the quicker Chicagoan and was able to get on the inside and land devastating right hands and left hooks that were snapping the head of Greer back.
Clearly, in control of the fight in the sixth round, yet another left hook dropped Greer again Putting Greer in a deep hole on the scorecards, and knowing he was in trouble Greer picked up the pace and became the aggressor. Having success with the left hook and uppercut on the inside, rallying to get back in the fight and taking the seventh and eighth.
Greer stayed on the hunt and was doing well when a perfectly placed left uppercut from Plania stopped the stalking American in his tracks and seemed to take all of his steam out and stopped his momentum. The two traded heavy artillery in the final round to end the fight and it was more than enough for Plania, as he took the majority decision by scores of 96-92 97-91 with the third judge scoring it a much to close 94-94.
The 118-pound division is as loaded as any division in the sport. A litany of big fights are going to be on the table for Plania. Outside of a rematch with Greer, which would be a hotly anticipated fight, given how entertaining the first scrap was.
Additional showdowns with fellow Filipinos Nonito Donaire and WBO champ John Cassimore would be entertaining all-action scraps. Cuban legend Guillermo Rigondeaux and unified champ Naoya Inoue are also available and would both be intriguing big money fights for Plania.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank