Freitas-Diaz: War or Bore?

acelino feitas21.03.07 - By Ted Sares: I’ll be attending this one for a number of reason one of which is that I’d enjoy seeing Acelino “Popo” Freitas get his butt whipped by Juan “El Torito” Diaz on Saturday, April 28 at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT. The WBA/WBC Lightweight boxing Title will be at stake. The fight will be televised live on HBO.

Like I said, I want the Brazilian to lose, but admittedly for many wrong reasons. I felt his retirement announcement after the Zahir Raheem fight was a poorly disguised negotiating maneuver to gain leverage for a large payday fight. I am sick of his hype (when he got married, his wedding was televised live to all of Brazil, and it broke the all time audience record for a live event in that country), his marital problems (he was later divorced), his near emotional breakdowns and tears after he wins a fight, his lame excuses for sub-par performances and his all-around heavy boxing drama…but most of all…I’m tired of his recent reluctance to be a warrior.

But I’m a realist and I know that the youthful Diaz, 31-0 with 15 ko's, while always putting forth an enormous punch volume, has little pop behind those punches. On the other hand, Acelino Freitas does have one-punch knockout power and has the goods to put the Baby Bull down if he gets the opportunity, though Diaz does have underrated and improving defensive skills.

The 31 year old Brazilian, a former world junior lightweight and lightweight champion, has a 38-1 record with an impressive 32 ko's. But that one defeat was, well, pretty awful. When he fought Jorge Rodrigo Barrios in an all-out war for the WBO and WBA Super Featherweight Title in 2003, he showed “no quit.” When he was beaten by Diego Corrales in 2004 at Mashantucket for the WBO Lightweight Title, he showed major “quit.” He pulled a “no mas” at the 1:24 mark of the tenth round after having been decked three times in the fight by Chico. Fight fans in Brazil were shocked when he, instead of the referee, waived off the fight and calmly returned to his corner; many at Foxwoods openly wept. Later, against Raheem in 2006, also at Mashantucket, he won a snoozer by SD displaying a good deal of caution and tentativeness.

As for clean-cut and affable Juan Diaz, the question is whether he can beat the more experienced Popo with his relentless pressure and nonstop, albeit feather-fisted attack. Moreover, though the fighters he has beaten have had excellent won-lost records, Frietas’s level of opposition has been far superior including such notables as Artur Grigorian, Joel Casamayor Daniel Attah, Edwin Vazquez, Anatoly Alexandrov and Juan Carlos Ramirez. Moreover, Frietas has been somewhat of a road warrior having fought in a number of different locations. Diaz, on the other hand, has shown an affinity for fighting in Texas.

Juan clearly has a warrior’s mentality, but unfortunately lacks the power tools to back up what warriors do and in this regard is different from another “El Torito” who use to do his nasty thing also in Texas. Juan won the WBA world title at the age of 20 in 2004 and has made five successful title defenses. He is only 23.

Styles make fights. If Popo duplicates the one he used against Raheem, this one could go down as the “bore war” of the year. If he decides to press the action, the fight could get interesting as Diaz is always incoming. If that happens, it may become a test of “El Torito‘s” solid chin against Acelino’s proven power. Something is bound to give. At least that’s one possibility I’m counting on. However, the more likely one might be a cautious Frietas using technique and clinches to ward off a Diaz using a high volume of non-lethal punches to pile up points.

An intangible in Popo‘s favor is that he could achieve redemption for his disgraceful performance against Corrales. Roberto Duran was given the same opportunity when he fought Davey Moore and he made the most of it. However, Popo is no Duran.

All of this should make for an intriguing affair on April 28. I’ll be there and will post my analysis on ESB shortly after. Oh yes, my bet. I’ll take Frietas by UD in a dreadful snoooozer, but I’ll take nothing less than 3 to 1.

Article posted on 21.03.2007

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