I try to keep up with what is going on in boxing, but it is truly a world-wide sport. So it is impossible to stay on top of everything and I am therefore continually finding myself surprised.
A good example happened this week when I was checking out the Boxrec.com roster of global fights scheduled for this weekend. I do this on a regular basis primarily to see which international stars are active in places like Asia or Europe. But sometimes I’ll end up shocked when I see who is still active. It happened this time when I saw that Acelino Freitas, of all people, is scheduled for action this Saturday night in his native Brazil.
Aside from Eder Jofre, Freitas is probably the greatest boxer his country ever produced. He was an elite fighter at super featherweight in the early part of this century and a potential future Hall of Famer.
“Popo” made his professional debut in 1995 and won his first 29 bouts by stoppage. In August 1999 he captured the WBO strap by knocking the tough Russian Anatoly Alexandrov out in the first round. Alexandrov did not regain consciousness for five minutes.
But he truly stepped into the top rank of contenders in January 2002, when he edged Cuba’s Joel Casamayor in a close decision.
He was never defeated at 130 pounds, but took his first loss against the late, great Diego Corrales in 2004, when he went down by TKO in Round 10 of a fight that was split on the cards. His only other professional loss was in 2007 to the rampaging Baby Bull, Juan Diaz.
I actually saw Freitas a few years ago at a card he was attending, in support of his nephew. At the time, I assumed he was already retired. Now 42, he has been inactive for over two years and has fought just twice in the past decade. I’m not sure what to make of his return to action this weekend–his opponent, Gabriel Martinez, is an experienced Mexican journeyman. He is certainly not a guaranteed easy night’s work.