Cintron Not Looking Past Feliciano

20.11.07 - By Matthew Hurley: International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Kermit Cintron is scheduled to partially unify the title when he takes on WBO champion Paul Williams on February 2nd but before that anticipated showdown he will step in the ring this Friday night against Jesse Feliciano in what must be viewed as a tune up fight. Cintron, however, refuses to look past his opponent and insists that ever since he lost to Antonio Margarito in 2005 by knockout in the fifth round he views every fighter as potentially dangerous..

kermit cintron “Feliciano is a tough fighter that comes to win,” he says. “He doesn’t try to survive. It is a dangerous fight. He’s going to come and try and take the title away from me. He’s got heart but I don’t think he can punch.”

It would be easy for Cintron, who is coming off a spectacular second round knockout of Walter Matthysee, to anticipate another short night but the fighter, now under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward, is taking a one fight at a time approach and is determined to stay sharp and focused every time he steps into the ring.

“It’s a very important fight for me,” he maintains. “You just never know what can happen in a fight, so you can never look ahead because that’s when you run into problems. Look at when Paul Williams fought Margarito. Margarito was looking ahead to a Cotto fight and he lost.”

In point of fact Margarito took on Williams instead of signing to first fight Cotto in hopes of securing a more lucrative contract afterwards with Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather or Cotto. Mosley and Cotto ended up fighting each other in front of a raucous crowd in Madison Square Garden with Cotto emerging victorious. So certain was Margarito that Williams wouldn’t be a problem that not only did he underestimate him but he started the fight slowly, lost several early rounds and couldn’t quite catch up, despite a late round rally. He also lost the opportunity to fight Cotto who derisively commented after beating Mosley that Margarito had blown his chance by not signing to fight him in the first place so now he’d have to get back in line.

Cintron’s point is telling and he doesn’t want to make the same mistake. “Feliciano is hungry and fighting for a title makes you even hungrier. Not every fighter with his record (15-5-3 with 9 KOs) has the opportunity to fight for a world title, and that’s what makes him dangerous.”

Feliciano will also be fighting in front of his hometown in Los Angeles and has dedicated the fight to his fallen son, who died after birth on June 11th. Such motivation often raises a fighter’s game to a level he’s never hit before and Feliciano intends to throw everything in his arsenal at the champion.

“I like my chances to win this fight,” he says. “I think I am getting overlooked and underestimated because I am the easy mark. They’re trying to use me as a steppingstone, but that hasn’t worked in the past. I’ve always been ignored and my opponents have paid the price.”

Despite his focus on Feliciano, Cintron, like any championship level fighter, wants to be recognized as the best in his division so his radar is picking up on future opponents like Williams, Cotto and possibly Mayweather. “If you want to unify the titles, you’ve got to beat the other champions. I don’t know if those fights will come off so I just have to keep winning and defending my title.”

That one fight at a time approach continues on Friday night.

Article posted on 21.11.2007

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