Oliveira calls out Cintron

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (October 9, 2004) -- For many years “Sucra” Ray Oliveira (47-9-2, 22 KOs) was a 140-pounder that many of the world’s top junior welterweights avoided like the plague and now, as the self proclaimed gatekeeper of the welterweight division, the 37-year-old Oliveira has challenged unbeaten Kermit Cintron (24-0, 22 KOs).

“Micky Ward got his shot at Arturo Gatti,” Oliveira said. “I never got a shot at either one of them. Tszyu, Mitchell, Judah, Leija…..none of them would fight me. I’m the only man to beat Vivian Harris and he’s not even man enough to try and avenge his only loss. I’ve never turned down a fight. Hell, I fought Vernon Forrest on five-days notice. Now I’m a full-fledged welterweight and the same thing is happening.

“I keep hearing about some kid named (Kermit) Cintron being the next great welterweight. Well, if he’s a real player, let him take on ‘Sucra’ Ray Oliveira. Everybody keeps saying I’m old, slowing down, and can’t punch hard. Okay, come on Cintron, show this old-timer what you got. Everybody knows what I bring into the ring. If this kid can beat me, he deserves a title shot against Spinks or Margarito. But I’ll take him to school, no doubt. The kid’s going to find out I’m his daddy. Anywhere, any time. Let’s do it, man.”

Ray’s coming off of a scintillating performance October 1 in Boston against Cuban-born Hicklett Lau (19-12, 2, 9 KOs), in which, Oliveira won an exciting, action-packed 12-round decision (120-110, 117-112, 115-113) to become the first two-time International Boxing Union champion. The result of Oliveira’s rededication to conditioning, under the guidance of his original trainer Libby Medeiros, was best demonstrated in the 12th round against Lau. It was three minutes of non-stop punching by both fighters in what may have been the most punches ever thrown in a single round (non-televised match and no way to count the total punches thrown).

In Atlantic City last December, Cintron stopped Lau in the ninth round in a very competitive match. “Oliveira-Cintron would be an interesting fight,” Lau commented. “Cintron was tiring in our fight. I won the eighth round, but the fight was stopped prematurely in the ninth. Cintron’s a banger; Ray takes a good punch. Ray could weaken him. It would be a very good fight, one I’d like to watch.”

Ray started boxing as a 10-year-old out of the New Bedford Boys Club and his 10-year amateur career included five Southern New England Golden Glove titles at five different weight classes, three New England Golden Gloves championships, and a sparkling 185-15 record. He qualified for the National Golden Gloves Tournament four times and was entered a fifth as a replacement. In 1988, he captured the silver medal at The Nationals, losing to Kevin Kelley in the championship final.

Oliveria’s 13-year pro career includes victories against former world champions Charles Murray (twice) and Vince Phillips, as well as present WBA title-holder Harris, and most of his losses have been to former world champions and/or top 10 contenders such as Forrest, Reggie Green, Ben Tackie, Jake Rodriguez and Zack Padilla. “How many world champs has Cintron beaten,” Oliveira rhetorically asked. “None! How many has he fought? None! I’ll be the toughest test of his life.”

A superlative defensive fighter with tremendous “whiskers” (never stopped and floored only three times), Oliveira’s non-stop punching style has resulted in three of the highest rated “most punches” fights, according to CompuBox, against Padilla, Phillips and Tackie.

Now he wants to see if Kermit is the next prince of boxing or just another pretender with a frog’s name.

Article posted on 09.10.2004

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