Freitas vs. Diaz Preview: Can Acelino Out-Box The Bull?

25.04.07 - By Jim Amato: This Saturday at The Foxwoods in Connecticut there will be a lightweight unification fight between WBO title holder Acelino Freitas and WBA kingpin Juan Diaz. Freitas of Brazil was a long time WBO Super Featherweight champion. He failed to win the WBO lightweight title in his first attempt when he was halted by the dangerous Diego Corrales in 2004. The now 31-year old Freitas claimed the vacated WBO crown in 2006, with a split decision over the slick Zahir Raheem..

diazThe 23-year old Juan Diaz was born in Mexico but fights out of Houston, Texas. He is undefeated in thirty one fights and he has held the WBA version of the title since beating Lavka Kim in 2004. He has made five successful defenses. Between the two fighters their combined record is 69-1! Freitas of Brazil has scored thirty two knockouts. Thirteen have come in the first round. He is a fast handed boxer who is also quite nimble on his feet. His most significant victory was a close decision over Joel Casamayor in 2002 but his most exciting battle was the war he waged with Jorge Barrios in 2003. What a great fight that finally ended in the twelfth round with Acelino as the winner.

Outside of his impressive win over Kim, Juan's best contest was his decision over Jose Cotto. Although Juan is not a devastating puncher he is an aggressive, non stop action brawler. Juan's opponents get very little time to rest when their in the ring with him. So how do Diaz and Freitas match up ?

This will be by far the best fighter young Diaz has met up to this point in his career. Freitas will bring speed, power and experience into the ring with him. Diaz has youth and strength on his side but will it be enough? Acelino showed in his loss to Corrales that his spirit can be broken. Please remember though he was boxing well until he began to tire around the eighth round. Then he started getting tagged by one of the hardest punchers pound for pound in the world today. Against Barrios in a savage battle of attrition, Acelino endured and finally took out his game rival. Diaz can not be compared to Corrales in the power department.

For Juan to win he must do what he does best and that is come forward throwing punches relentlessly. He can not afford to give Freitas any room to use his mobility. He needs to pin Acelino on the ropes and pound the body in an effort to slow him down. Hopefully as the bout wears on the strength of Diaz and the pace of the bout will take most of the fight out of Freitas.

For Acelino to win, he must box but it would be to his benefit if he could hurt Diaz early and get his respect. Land something that will slow down the young bull's aggressiveness. He needs to give Diaz a lot of angles and movement so Diaz will not be able to stay set and punch away. When Diaz does get inside, he has to let his hands go and show Diaz that he can hold his own in the trenches.

I look for a pretty entertaining fight. On paper, this is a good pairing. I see Freitas taking an early lead but as the seventh rolls around I see the younger, stronger Diaz beginning to enforce his will. Freitas will fight in flurries but Juan will keep chopping away at that early deficit. I see a very, very close fight but I feel youth will be served and Juan Diaz will win a close points call.

Article posted on 25.04.2007

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