Odlanier Solis To Now Face Fres Oquendo On Oct. 10th?

by James Slater - As fans know, unbeaten Cuban heavyweight hope Odlanier Solis was supposed to have met unbeaten U.S contender Kevin "KingPin" Johnson in a highly intriguing showdown on October 10th, only for Johnson to pull out of the bout due to his looking like he might get a December fight with WBC heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko instead (assuming Vitali, who is reportedly already looking ahead, gets past Chris Arreola on Sept. 26th)..

So, the question has been, who will 29-year-old Solis, 14-0(10) face on the Madison Square Garden bill topped by world champions Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa (in separate fights) instead of Johnson? It looks as though Solis will now be getting it on with Puerto Rico's Fres Oquendo (at least the fight is up as happening on BoxRec). These two were meant to meet back in May, only for that fight to also fall through.

Okay, Solis-Oquendo is not as interesting or as potentially exciting as Solis-Johnson was, but the match-up is nonetheless a solid one, as well as being one that could conceivably go either way. By far the best opponent yet for the man who captured a gold at the 2004 Olympics, "Fast" Fres is both durable and highly experienced. Make no mistake, this fight is as less a Madison Square Garden coming out party for Solis as it is a gimme for him.

On something of a roll as of late, the former two-time heavyweight title challenger has shown renewed desire and determination. Angry since last December's highly controversially-scored fight with James Toney - in a bout that many felt the decision should have gone to the 36-year-old - Oquendo has won two since, both inside the distance. Fres was also angry when the Solis bout fell apart back in May, and now he figures to be well up for the fight.

One thing is sure, the Cuban defector had better not come in at as high as weight as he has done for some of his earlier pro fights. A whopping 262-pounds last time out against Dominique Alexander (TKO 1 in June), Solis cannot afford to come in that out of shape against the crafty and hardworking veteran. If he does, there is a good chance he will be out-hustled and out-pointed by Oquendo.

Indeed, this one looks like a sure distance fight to me, and the winner will be the guy who comes in in better shape, wanting it more - and as technically sound as he is, and as experienced as he is at an amateur level, this may not be Solis. Will the 29-year-old be as "up for" this fight as he was for the bout with Johnson? If he's not, and he sees Oquendo as a fairly safe, non-punching opponent (just 20 KO's, remember, from his 31 wins), he could see his perfect record disappear by way of a close decision.

Back in May, in the run-up to this fight, I picked Oquendo to do enough to deserve to have his hand raised after the ten rounds were completed. I still feel this is what will happen - but will the three judges agree? If he is able to stop Oquendo, though, Solis will have made a pretty big statement.

Article posted on 19.09.2009

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