Unbeaten Francisco Palacios to face Enzo Maccarinelli?

By Mark Pickering: Enzo Maccarinelli is now expected to face unbeaten Puerto Rican Francisco Palacios (16-0, 9KO’s) in his bid to recapture the WBO cruiserweight title at London's ExCel Arena on Saturday. Palacios, 31, has come from a shortlist of potential opponents that included Herbie Hide to seal a shot at the Welshman and the WBO title on 2 days notice..

The new challenger, a slick and emerging fighter from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, will make a step up in class to compete for a world title for the first time in his career.

Last year Palacios returned from a seven-month lay-off to step in for former cruiserweight king O’Neil Bell on five days notice and face former world title challenger Louis Azille.

The Puerto Rican upset Azille with a sixth round knockout win.

Palacios is an 11th hour replacement for the injured number one contender Johnathan Banks.

The American withdrew after sustaining an ankle injury during his training camp with the Klitschko brothers in Spain.

Big-hitting Welshman Maccarinelli is anxious to get back into the ring and bounce back from his March defeat to David Haye.

"I have been training twice as hard since the David Haye fight,” said the Swansea man.

"I don't think I've ever hit this hard and I've had to hold back a bit there's so much in my punches."

The 28-year-old is desperate to regain the WBO title, which is vacant following Haye’s move to heavyweight.

"This is my chance to win my title back and get my career back on track," he said.

"I've been doing all my usual runs and fitness programmes with the boys from the gym, but have looked to improve my strength as well.

"I've been chopping logs and dragging tyres around to make me stronger, and I've already seen the effects in sparring."

Article posted on 03.12.2008

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