Boxing

'Just-See' Feliciano: Gritty Puerto Rican Welterweight Out To Silence All Skeptics

boxing By Vivek Wallace: The welterweight division has been the sports proverbial 'loaded-deck' for quite some time. Generally when this weight division comes up, the names Mayweather, Cotto, and Margarito fill the conversation to a point where there's very little room to discuss any others. As great as those 3 aformentioned fighters are, last November, one relatively unknown commodity set out to change that, and by the end of the night it was obvious that this diamond-in-the-rough was poised with a 'shine' being polished as we speak. That commodity is none other than the man simply known as "El Rayo", Mr. Jesse Feliciano, whose recent gritty performance against a top tier welterweight earned him ring credibility in it's bravest form, leaving many to openly ponder the question of exactly when would that 'guy' who gave Kermit Cintron absolute hell be back in the ring?

After that defining moment, those who didn't know his name not only began to respect it, but also request it, and with no further ado, tonight "El Rayo" (15-6-3, 9KO's) strikes again as he faces Andrey Tsurkan (25-3-1, 16KO's) on ESPN's Friday night fights.. For those familiar with Ukranian Andrey Tsurkan (pronounced SUR-can), it doesn't take much to know that this fight will be bombs away from the beginning to the end. While Tsurkan comes with heavy artillery of his own to detonate, Feliciano has proven time and time again that in his world, there are no 'lay-downs'. Every competition is a war and every second is a battle.

Some may glance at the 6 losses on his record and expect a subpar fighter, but his past in the ring is a perfect example of why fans should INspect rather than EXpect. A perfect case for this statement is made when you analyze the history of top welterweights Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, and linear champ Floyd Mayweather Jr., compared to Jesse Feliciano, throughout their first 24 professional fights. While Cotto, and Mayweather were both brought along a bit more gradual under the tutelage of Top Rank's Bob Arum, Feliciano was clearly baptized by fire, as 13 of his first 24 opponents had one loss or less, compared to Margarito (11), Cotto (8) and Mayweather (5). Some might argue the level of competition between the fighters but better logic quickly responds when you consider that of the many great fighters in the sport, few in history have ever traveled such a treacherous path.

One might question what gives a fighter the you-know-whats to take such a path, but after spending 20 minutes interviewing Feliciano it became very evident that this is a young man whose present is defined by his past, yet in the end his future will be defined by his heart. Never known as one to display false bravado, there was no audible crack in his voice when asked who would he like to face next in the ring? His response was "after a hard fought victory against Tsurkan, Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr., and/or a rematch with either Cintron or Alfonso Gomez" would whet his appetite. As the conversation shifted to his log-jammed weight division, he spoke kindly of Floyd Mayweather Jr., remembering sparring sessions they had leading up to the Jose Castillo fights. When asked what was his take on the criticism Floyd Mayweather Jr. has received lately for appearing disinterested in defending his straps, he responded by saying "Floyd's a business man....He's put in the work through years of hardcore dedication and earned the right to receive all that has come to him". Although he stopped short of saying that Mayweather should earn a free pass to lollygag, he did seem very appreciative of all he learned in his encounters with the 'Prettyboy'.

As we wrapped up the interview, Feliciano, a true fight fan's man, emphatically stated that "[he] wants all of his fans to know that any fight he's in will be nothing less than excitement from the beginning to the end". Keeping that in mind, a famous man once said "the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step", and for Feliciano, the first step has been taken, the next is a motion in progress. Tune in tonight at 930pm est as the mission resumes. For those who've never witnessed a Feliciano fight, don't ask, 'Just-See' Feliciano at work.

Eastside Boxing would like to thank Jesse Feliciano, Mike Martinez, and the complete Feliciano camp, and wish them a much success.

(Got Questions or Comments?: Write ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved)

Article posted on 25.04.2008



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