Tag Archives: Kermit Cintron

Boxing’s Prospects Fail to Make It to the Promised Land

by Paul Magno

Something’s been happening to boxing’s young prospects.

Actually, something’s not happening to them: They’re not winning.

The latest example was in this past Saturday’s Latin Fury 10 PPV, which saw highly-regarded Lightweight prospect, acosta-antillonUrbano Antillon, taste the canvas, and defeat, for the first time against the unknown Venezuelan stylist, Miguel Acosta.

On a personal note for Antillon, he failed in his attempt to win the vacant Interim WBA Lightweight title and failed to live up to the hype that had him regarded by Larry Merchant of HBO as a “can’t miss” future superstar.

However, in the big picture, Antillon’s inability to cope with simple lateral movement spoke of a greater problem behind the scenes of the sport. It spoke of a future generation of star athletes who are simply not being taught the skills to go along with their athletic promise.

The list of failed prospects in recent weeks is almost comical:

*Well-regarded amateur stand-out, Juan Carlos Velasquez, is defeated by Mexican journeyman, Jose Beranza, on Friday Night Fights. Velasquez actually seemed to be shocked and surprised that Beranza would fight back.

*Colombian banger, and destroyer of fellow prospect, Amir Khan, Breidis Prescott is outpointed by Miguel Vazquez, basically, because he had no idea how to deal with Vazquez’s head movement.

*Golden Boy’s Victor Ortiz is battered and psychologically torn down by Marcos Maidana, the first fighter with the nerve to actually keep fighting when confronted with the force of a “future superstar.”

*Alfredo Angulo is bested by Kermit Cintron because of his utter inability to deal with lateral movement, even when that lateral movement comes from a non-speedster like Cintron.

*Deandre Latimore is out-slugged by, of all people, a flat-footed and immobile Cory Spinks. deandre_latimore

One by one, the prospects are falling from contention and they’re not being replaced by veteran stars like in the case of Bernard Hopkins’ one-sided schooling of Kelly Pavlik.

Many of these young talents are being beaten by the products of hardcore boxing gyms in Latin America. They’re being beaten by fighters who, 10 or 20 years ago, would’ve been little more than a snack for talented athletes on their way to titles.

So, what’s the problem? What’s happening to our young lions?

Part of the problem rests in the fact that “old school” boxing trainers are mostly a thing of the past in the United States. For every Freddie Roach, there are a couple dozen trainers who would be better-suited working an aerobics class.

Serious boxing gyms are disappearing and the quality trainers are literally dying off.

There simply aren’t enough of the blood-and-guts Teddy Atlas-types who will take the time to teach their kids solid fundamentals and the value of being mentally prepared as a professional.

Instead, they are fed into an amateur system which now values arm-punches and “back-foot” fighting over a professional defense and a workable inside game.

In the modern amateur game, points are valued more than power and a light jab is a bigger asset than solid body punching.

It’s no wonder young fighters seem to be lacking a certain degree of mental toughness these days.

The second reason for this apparent failure of the young prospects has to do with our culture.

We are in a culture of instant gratification where anything worth having better be had right now.

It takes a lifetime to become a fundamentally solid professional boxer. It’s something that takes blood, sweat and tears. Hour after hour is spent going over one basic move, until it’s perfected.

Unfortunately, in a prize-fighting world of flailing, crude UFC brawls and “extreme” instant gratification, many young people simply don’t have the patience or dedication to sweat for hours at a time on something as mundane as learning how to walk the ring.

The scary part is that, at some point, those boxers who have taken the time to learn their craft, will retire, leaving behind this crop of talented, but not fundamentally sound pretenders.

Then, what will boxing look like?

Discuss This Topic on the BTBC Message Board!

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Madcow’s Standing 8 Count (6/8/09)

by Madcow

Here I am, your favorite bovine boxing columnist, rockin’ you like a mother frickin’ hurricane, with several axes to grind and a massive inferiority complex (not to mention a substance abuse problem, a weight problem, severalmadcow11 dozen outstanding parking tickets and a sexual addiction that makes David Carradine look like Fred Rogers)!

Sorry for last week’s lack of a column, but I was knee-deep in Polynesian trim and I honestly didn’t feel like writing another column on a slow news week.

But then, as if delivered from heaven directly to my bloodshot eyes, David Haye gives me enough material for several month’s worth of columns!

By now, I’m sure you all know, but Haye pulled out of his Heavyweight title fight against Wladimir Klitschko, leaving behind a stadium’s worth of sold tickets, several million dollars and about 50,000 dumb T-shirts where Haye is ripping the heads off of the Klitschko Bros.

Now, it’s just Haye who’s getting a virtual decapitation from fans and media for talking so much trash and backing out at the last minute.

Don’t buy the injury talk, this Madcow can smell cold feet when their rubbed up against his nose. Haye wrote a check that his sack couldn’t cash.

Now, Wlad has an opponent in Ruslan Chagaev who may have Hepatitis, but isn’t suffering from “yellow” fever. I say Klit, as a punishment, makes Haye fight Chris Arreola, Alexander Povetkin and Samuel Peter before getting back into contention.

All in all, though, this is a good thing since it saves me the 5 minutes the fight would’ve lasted before Klitschko separated Haye’s flapping jaw from his head.

Ahhhhh. It’s good to be back!

Message boards and websites are on fire all over the net about the upcoming Floyd MayweatherJuan Manuel Marquez fight. I’ve heard both sides and here’s the official decision from Madcow:

Mayweather’s entitled to a tune-up fight and even a mini-Marquez is not bad at all for a tune-up. If Mayweather isn’t making a serious effort to fight someone named Pacquiao, Cotto, Mosley or Williams next, then he deserves the wrath of the world.

Doesn’t it seem that Manny Pacquiao’s people know deep down inside that the dog and pony show is just about up? His people want nothing to do with a real Welterweight fight, they’re already dismissing the idea of a Mayweather fight and they’re going to price themselves out of any fight against a legit 140 lb. fighter.

On a similar note, if any Welter melts down to meet Pacquiao’s crazy demands, they are goofy and deserve the dehydrated beating they’ll get. Hear that, Shane Mosley?

David Tua announced that he’ll officially be changing his ring name from “Tuaman” to “The Tuaminator.” Can Madcow make a few more name change suggestions? How about “Tua Years Since He’s Last Fought,” “It’s Tua Bad He Doesn’t Get Off His Fat Ass and Fight, ” or “I Wouldn’t Pay Tua Cents to Watch Him Fight Shane Cameron?”

Alfredo Angulo, buddy, how the hell could you lose to Kermit “I’m Too Sensitive” Cintron?

Kelly Pavlik re-signed with Top Rank after they spent the last 18-months burying the kid against weak opposition on bogus cards and allowing him to get within spitting distance of a slick spoiler like Bernard Hopkins. Maybe Pavlik is the “take the money and run” type of fighter after all. Kelly, how many pick up trucks and “Best of Bob Seeger” CDs can you buy?

John Ruiz is still whining about not getting another shot at the Heavyweight title and about not getting the respect he thinks he deserves. Well, this cure for insomnia has had almost a dozen world title fights in his putrid career and, combined, they’ve produced less excitement than the first round of any James Kirkland bout. Go away, Ruiz and take your garbage attitude and style with you. You are to Boxing what Stryper was to Death Metal.

Alright, kiddies, all out of venom for this week. See ya next Sunday and, remember, support the BTBC. I have it on good word that this Summer will make or break our community. Let’s keep stickin’ it to the man. F*ck You Fightnews and Max Boxing! Madcow’s gonna rape Boxingscene’s mother!

Peace and Love.

Madcow’s Standing 8 Count (5/24/09)

by Madcow

Welcome to a very special edition of  The Standing 8 Count. Ok, not really. Actually, this is another slow news madcow11week.

So, seeing that there’ll be nothing worth talking about until next week when Alfredo Angulo makes Kermit Cintron weep like a little school girl, I thought I’d share another personal list with my dozens upon dozens of loyal Mad Bovines.

Last week, I wrote about what I hated about boxing. This week I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, so I’ll flip in the opposite direction and talk about what I love about boxing.

* I love the way the Super Middleweight division is shaping up: Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Librado Andrade, Lucian Bute, Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell, Allan Green, Jermain Taylor, Jean Pascal and in a short while Arthur Abraham and Kelly Pavlik. I sure hope greedy promoters and cable companies don’t ruin this.

* I love the blind optimism behind fans of Chris Arreola. Here’s a guy who is practically obese and has ever beaten anyone tougher than a tough night club bouncer, yet some people rate this blob as the best American Heavyweight. I know the big boys aren’t a deep bunch these days, but Arreola ain’t the best of an entire nation.

* I love the Tecate ring card girls in Tijuana. These are the only ring card girls in the world where I know that with some elementary Spanish and a few bucks in my pocket, I can bring these chicas back to the Hotel Paraiso with me.

* I love the way Floyd Mayweather Jr. riles up both haters and nut-huggers alike. Say what you will, but it feels good to see some real emotion injected into the sport.

* I love seeing fights in Las Vegas and I love the big fight atmosphere in Sin City. Vegas is Boxing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you don’t like all night Blackjack binges in dim casinos, surrounded by whores and bad, bad people after a big prize fight I seriously question your manhood. Boxing shouldn’t be a “bring the whole family” event like the Ice Capades.

* I love fighters who actually take the time to learn the art of professions prize fighting. These are the guys who know how to walk properly, they know how to cut off the ring, they know how to properly set up their punches, and they know a little something called “defense.”

* I love my old fight films.

* I love what Showtime has been doing with their matchmaking lately.

* I love Denise Tarver and Jin Mosley and the crazy night we’ve had in my imagination.

* I love the back and forth struggles of an evenly-matched bout.

* I love the intenet for allowing me to be able to see even more boxing than I could imagine.

* I love when an undeserving bum of a fighter like Margarito gets what’s coming to him and publicly flogged by the entire boxing world.

* I love to get hateful e-mails from Manny Pacquiao fans: P4P, Boxing’s goofiest goof balls.

* I love the idea of Rick Hatton fans having to get back on the plane for the long ride home knowing that they just came to see Hatton mugged once again.

* I love that if our other blog takes off, I’m gonna start getting paid! http://btbc-boxing.blogspot.com/

Alright, enough with the happy thoughts. Next week I’ll be back with my regular rage and whiskey- filled column.

Until next Sunday, keep your friends close and your bribe money closer.

So long, ladies.

The Standing 8 Count (3/22/09)

by Madcow

Hello ladies! Against my corner’s advice, I’m back for another round of bovine wit and wisdom.

The first thing I have to set straight is where I stand with the Filipino community. It seems that last week I ruffled a few madcow111feathers by insisting that Juan Manuel Marquez and not Manny Pacquiao should be atop the pound for pound list. There are some people in the Pacquiao fan base that think any criticsim of their fighter has to do with nationality or race. Well, let me make one thing clear- some of my best friends are Filipinos. Of course, they’re brothel workers and I can’t really be too sure if their feelings are mutual, but they’re Filipinos nonetheless. There’s not an ounce of racist blood in Madcow…because, as my dear old grandpa used to say, “black, white, yellow…It’s all pink inside.”

But as far as Juan Manuel being #1- That’s the gospel. Important fights should always outweigh big fights and as far as anyone with a brain is concerned, Marquez and Pacquiao are 1-1 in their two bouts. No one outside of a Filipino brothel could justify giving that second fight to Manny. That’s the final word.

On another Blog-related side note, I’m hoping that Tony Thompson‘s easy disposal of human punching bag, Adnan Serin will put an end to the Serin Fan Club’s strange obsession with getting some publicity for their guy on this blog. Face it, your boy is a waste of a good pair of boxing shoes. Thompson had more trouble putting on his trunks than dealing with Turkey’s answer to Peter McNeely.

Ok, now to the real news:

Vitali Klitschko rolled over Juan Carlos Gomez on Saturday and won via TKO in the 9th. Gomez came to the ring with high hopes, and even had on a spiffy pimp outfit for some added color to the ESPN Classic broadcast. But from the second round on, it was painfully clear that Gomez had nothing. Gomez may have come to the ring as a pimp, but he left it as a beeeaaaatch…

On that same undercard, Chris Byrd started yet another comeback, this time at Cruiserweight. File this one under, “Future Tragedy.” Chris, when you’re 50 and you can’t remember your address, don’t blame anyone else but yourself.

March Badness” did what few PPV’s do these days- It loved up to its billing. It was in March and, yes, it was very, very bad.

Roy Jones Jr. beat up sad Omar Sheika, one of the few Light Heavyweights even more burnt-out than he is. Despite the over the top celebration by Jones, deep in his heart he has to know what a farce this was…doesn’t he?

BJ Flores won an easy UD over Jose Luis Herrera on the same show. Consider Flores included on the list of fighters along with Kermit Cintron and Sergio Mora who talk the talk and walk the walk, but always fall short in their performances. Despite having an easy time and apparently being able to tag Herrera at will, Flores took it nice and easy and allowed his opponent to survive his way through the scheduled 10.

I’m not an MMA-Hater. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t care less about the MMA or its fans, but I just have to comment on the MMA portion of the Roy Jones PPV. I don’t know what the sodomy laws are in Pensacola, but the MMA action last night had to have broken several ordinances. I haven’t seen so much male on male friction since I accidentally walked into a “lady boy” club in Bali. Not my cup of tea.

And speaking of male on male friction, couldn’t one of the MMA guys have accidentally rolled over Colonel Bob Sheridan? Sheridan has to be the worst announcer in the history of the sport and the biggest shill since The Fight Doctor Ferdie Pacheco’s love affair with Don King Productions spilled over onto the airwaves of Showtime in the 90’s.

Hearing “The Colonel’s” commentary, you would’ve thought the PPV was an undeniable success instead of what it really was- Two sparring sessions wrapped around an unhealthy dose of masculine man-mounting.

Please, Please, Please. Roy, never subject us to that again.

Next Friday on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights we’re going to have a the most interesting Heavyweight clash since Rocky Balboa came out of retirement to beat up a chubby Antonio Tarver-  Samuel Peter vs. Eddie Chambers. The winner is back in the championship picture, the loser goes back to fighting in Bingo halls. At Heavyweight, it doesn’t get much better than this…unfortunately.

Alrighty then. I’m outta here ’til next week.

Until then, remember: G’s up, Ho’s down

Monthly Awards- February ’09

Fighter of the Month:

Juan Manuel Marquez– A lot has been said about fighters who can neutralize their opponents’ strengths and pick marquez3them apart, but what about a fighter who destroys a world class foe who is absolutely executing his own game plan? That’s what Juan Manuel Marquez did against Juan Diaz on the 28th when he walked into Diaz’s hometown of Houston and beat down a motivated “Baby Bull” who showed up in top form.

Despite some rough moments in the beginning, Marquez slowly took control of the fight and showed that technical proficiency will always trump blind aggression as he beat down Diaz until he put him away in the 9th.

Marquez is perfect-perfect in his execution of the classic Mexican style and probably the finest practitioner of that style since Ricardo “Finito” Lopez. 

Next up for Marquez is hopefully a much-needed rematch with Pacquiao or a bout with Nate Campbell. Whoever he fights, we will be rewarded with text-book technique and a professional work ethic that restores a true fight fan’s faith in the sport.

 

Bum of the Month:

The State of Florida– Ok, not the entire state of Florida, just the commission and officials that botched almost the floridaentire Valentine’s Day card with weird and inept decisions and the fans in the Bank Atlantic Center who decided to boo and chant “booooring” before even giving the fights a chance to develop.

The craziness began and was best represented when referee Frank Santore Jr counted out Kermit Cintron in his bout with Sergio Martinez and, in a history-making move, somehow overturned his own 10 count, cancelled his call to end the bout and allowed the fight to go one, providing Cintron a chance to recover from a clearly legal punch (and not the headbutt that Kermit alleged). So, the fight goes on and a puzzled, pissed-off and off-kilter Martinez allows Cintron to have his best moments of the fight.

But no need to worry, right? Martinez was well-ahead and had nothing to fear. Wrong! In came judges Ged O’Connor and Peter Trematerra with the assist and scored the fight a draw! The end result was a Majority Draw in a bout that Martinez clearly won.

The crazy judging (there was some controversy in the Campbell/Funeka fight as well), inept ref work and general small-time way the show was handled was highlighted by the boos of a public who clearly wouldn’t know the difference between a left hook and a fish hook.

Clean up your act, Florida, if you want the nation to stop thinking of you as hillbillies with sun tans.

 

The BTBC Thread of the Month:

2/10/09: Margarito’s D-Day

http://www.btbc.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=638  blue-corner11

This thread had it all- speculation before the California State Athletic Commision hearing and then the brutal reactions following the guilty verdict.

The Standing 8 Count (2/15/09)

by Madcow

Hi Ladies! Your friendly neighborhood Madcow is not feeling so good right now. I picked up a stomach infection from madcow113eating at a taco stand outside a Tijuana strip club and now I feel like Cosme Rivera last night as he got pounded into cookie dough by Alfred Angulo. If there’s anyone doubting Angulo’s desire and drive, just look at what he did to a tough former world champ while bleeding from a gaping cut on his eyelid. “El Perro” is the very definition of a throwback fighter.

Speaking of being sick to my stomach, the Sergio Martinez / Kermit Cintron fight should be in all of the text books as an example of how NOT to officiate and score a professional prize fight. Referee Frank Santore Jr. is to officiating what a dog turd is to a birthday cake. The guy blew 2 key calls as he rightfully counted out Cintron at the end of the 7th and then allowed Kermit to whine his way back into the fight. Then, just to make sure Martinez was properly screwed, he deducted a point from the guy for an obviously unintentional punch to the back of the head that was partially caused by Cintron. But the fun didn’t end there. Even with the inept ref work of Santore, Martinez should’ve been firmly ahead, but SURPRISE! The judges scored it a Majority Draw. Martinez and the fans looked stunned, Cintron and his people kept complaining and I went to take a very appropriate infection-inspired dump.

I would like to dedicate my next tainted taco squirt to judges Ged O’Connor and Peter Trematerra for scoring the fight a ridiculous 113-113.

The main event of the card was the bout between Nate Campbell and Ali Funeka. Campbell had vacated his Lightweight titles the previous day by failing to make weight which meant that only Funeka had a chance of winning the titles in their bout- basically, a lose-lose situation for Campbell. Give it to Nate to somehow get a win from a lose-lose as he fought hard and toughed out some very difficult moments to get the nod. The highlight of the card was a dead-tired Campbell pushing himself forward to take the last 2 rounds of the bout, even scoring a knockdown in the 11th, to secure the decision. Jr. Welter is next for Campbell while Paul Williams/Celestino Caballero Avoidance Syndrome awaits Funeka.

Clinton Woods easily walked through Elvir Muriqi in the UK yesterday. Amazing, right? I thought Woods was retired too! The best part was that this was an IBF Light Heavyweight Eliminator. So, we have Chad Dawson/Clinton Woods to look forward to in late 2009!

Bob Arum is going around proclaiming the injustice of the Antonio Margarito ban. Arum’s case is that since trainer Javier Capetillo took all of the blame, that means that Margarito is innocent. Hey Arum, you’re a lawyer- What do most criminals say when they get busted with something illegal? “I don’t know how that got there!”

Arum’s indignant defiance and defense of justice has won him some noble allies- Jose Sulaiman of the WBC and Jorge Ramos, The Mayor of Tijuana. The last I checked, Tijuana was so corrupt that the Mexican government had to call in the army to protect the citizens from the police; The WBC is only slightly less corrupt.

Next up on our fight agenda is next week’s Kelly Pavlik/Miguel Cotto PPV, chock full of match ups that HBO wouldn’t buy. Isn’t there something energizing about being charged for something that Arum couldn’t even give away for free? It makes me feel all warm and squishy inside…

Oh wait, that warm and squishy feeling is fom the tainted tacos…So, until next time- Stay away from Tijuana strip club taco stands. Later.

Puerto Rico’s Finest!

by Onekrazyrican

There is something special about being a boxing champion in Puerto Rico that makes kids still want to do it. In times where much has been talked about American youngsters turning their attention to the NBA or NFL there is still a deep talent pool coming out of the 100 x 35 square miles island that has already produced over 30 world champions (the local commission lists over 50 by recognizing every available “world title”).

This February 21st one of the most dominant fighters of the current welterweight division makes his return after suffering his first defeat. Miguel Cotto’s bid for the vacant WBO welterweight title follows up Luis Collazo’s spirited effort last January to kick off 2009.

They lead a group of Puerto Rican fighters that will either challenge for a world title or make a title defense this year. All in all there could be up to 8 Boricua world champions simultaneously if they all are successful. Here is a list of the top 10 Puerto Rican fighters that are knocking at the doors of boxing world supremacy.miguelcotto1

1) Miguel Angel Cotto- 32-1 (26 Kos ) Former Jr welterweight and welterweight world titlist. Coming into his epic battle against Antonio Margarito, Miguel was the only unbeaten champion in today’s hottest division. Seven months removed from losing his unbeaten record and his title he starts his way back to the top by facing the UK ’s Michael Jennings. After watching Margarito get beat down by Shane Mosley, many writers have wondered if what was witnessed was some sort of aftermath to last year’s fight of the year candidate. With Cotto being on the loosing end of that one, most attention will be paid on his future fight. Much is expected from the island’s most popular fighter and he has already promised to deliver.

2) Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon 32-0 (6 kos) current Jr flyweight world titlist former straweight world titlist. One of the most skilled boxers in any division, the former 2000 Olympian had an impressive run at the calderon1minimum weight division. Despite his constant pursuit of big fights against fellow titlists, boxing politics have prevented him from getting that elusive unification bout. At 105 pounds, Calderon had faced almost every fighter who held a title during his reign, the only problem is that it was always easier to get the fight right after they had lost the crown. His desire to become a great fighter made him move up in weight to challenge the considerably bigger and dangerous Hugo Cazares, whom he has now defeated twice. Once again there have been talks of unification bouts against some of his fellow titlists at 108. Since last year there have been talks to face fellow 108 pounds champion Ulises Solis who has opted to face Brian Viloria first. This seems pretty familiar to what kept happening at 105 so time will tell if its history repeating itself. In the meantime Calderon is waiting for confirmation of a title defense in February.

 

3) Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez 24-0 (22 Kos ) current super bantamweight world titlist. Since entering the pro scene on 2005 “Juanma” quickly became one of the hottest prospects by stopping his first nine ye8opponents in less than three rounds (six of them were first round knock outs). His knock outs were becoming popular highlights from Top Rank’s undercards but critics were starting to worry about him not going enough rounds during this learning stage of his career. “It’s not my fault they just fall when I hit them” he responded once. Even former title challenger Luis Bolanos with a record of 41-4 failed to test Juanma’s stamina beyond the 3 round mark. That test came in his tenth fight as a pro when he was forced to go the distance for the first time and, while he dominated the 8 round fight, he was evidently puzzled at how things went when people didn’t just fall when hit. After the fight Lopez talked about how he needed to improve his repertoire and with each fight people have witnessed his transition into more of a boxer puncher adding a dangerous right hook to his already feared left cross. That ability to adapt and evolve into a more complete boxer has started drawing comparisons to one of Puerto Rico ’s greatest champions, Wilfredo Gomez. Lopez has commented that it’s a great honor and has expressed his admiration for the man who once dominated the same weight division he’s taking by storm. With a title defense scheduled against durable veteran and 118 pound world titlist ,Gerry Penalosa, Juanma expects to continue his impressive title run that could lead him to career defining fights against Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez later this year.

 4) Daniel Santos 32-3-(23 Kos ) current Jr middleweight world titlist former welterweight world titilst. After winning the bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games Santos began his pro career by signing with Bob Arum’s Top Rank. Daniel was said to be Arum’s next project right after his success with Oscar De la Hoya and he was starting to get treated with the same formula that would be practiced by Arum in the future with selected Olympic prospects. After moving to Las Vegas to improve his English and work with Arum’s plan, Santos was starting to get frustrated with the pace at which his career was developing. Bob Arum’s main project, Oscar De La Hoya was now campaigning at the same welterweight division and Santos felt his career was affected by him not receiving as much attention as he expected from his promoter. Santos, whose out of the ring image and lifestyle could come closer to a Ricardo Mayorga than a Felix Trinidad, had a record of 20-0 (15 kos) when he was matched against 16-0 Kofi Jantuah. The troubled Santos was stopped in 5 rounds. After getting released by Top Rank, his career has been plagued by long periods of inactivity and constant changes of promoters. Add the fact that a 6’ tall Olympic medalist who happens to be a power punching southpaw is nobody’s first choice of an opponent and you get the perfect recipe for disappointment on what could have been a great career. His impressive KO victory over Canada-based Haitian Joachim Alcine was expected to be what he needed to finally get to dance for the millions. From the way this year has started it seems like his luck hasn’t gotten any better. After turning down an offer to face Sergio Martinez on short notice ,Santos now awaits news on his first title defense while calling out everyone from welterweights to middleweights.

5) Eric “Little Hands of Steel” Morel 40-2 (21 Kos ) former flyweight world titlist. Things were not looking pretty for the 1996 USA Olympic team member after losing his world title against Lorenzo Parra in 2003. Morel moved up in weight to challenge super flyweight champion Martin Castillo just to get dominated in a wide unanimous decision. Completing the debacle was the news of him being sentenced to serve time in prison. It seemed like we had seen the last of Morel as a fighter but after a 3 year layoff Morel announced he was ready to make a comeback. What has followed is an impressive string of victories in which he has showcased an explosive punching power that seemed absent before his time off. Morel was scheduled to challenge Filipino veteran Gerry Penalosa but with the 118 pounds titlist announcing his move up to face Juanma Lopez, Morel is now expected to face Mexico ’s Fernando Montiel for the vacant title. Both fighters have given signs of adopting a fan friendly style of aggressive power punching to their world class skills which makes this next chapter in the Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry a very interesting one.

 6) Kermit Cintron 30-2 (27 kos) former welterweight world titlis. At one point during last year Kermit was part of a brief Puerto Rican domination of the welterweight division where 3 of the 4 mayor welterweight titles were being held by Puerto Rican fighters. His desire to avenge his only career loss led him to offer Antonio Margarito a shot at his title and a way back into the spotlight. With a title fight scheduled against IBF belt holder Joshua Clottey in February, Kermit opted to instead face the highly regarded Sergio Martinez for the interim WBC title at Jr middleweight. Cintron was a big welterweight with impressive punching power, if he is able to carry that strength up one more division we could be about to witness the arrival of another big player in a weight class that is already packed with serious contenders flying under the radar.roman_martinez1

7) Roman “Rocky” Martinez 21-0 (12 Kos) At 25 years old “Rocky” has become one of Puerto Rico ’s favorite fighters to root for. His war against fellow prospect Daniel “Azuquita” Jimenez was selected Puerto Rico ’s 2007 fight of the year and moved him closer to his dream of becoming a world champion. Chants of “Rocky, Rocky” have become a trademark in his promoters PR Best Boxing’s busy schedule in recent years and have often helped Martinez overcome technical disadvantages to dig deep and come out victorious. This modern era blood and guts warrior is now ready to face his biggest challenge. He will travel to the UK to face current super featherweight world titlist Nicky Cook on his home turf. No chants of Rocky will probably be heard at the M.E.N. but rest assured that there will be thousands of Puerto Rican fans watching and encouraging Rocky from a distance. Will Martinez’s determination and high work rate be enough to offset the more skilled Cook?

8.) Carlos “El Indio” Quintana 26-2 (20 Kos ) former welterweight world titlist. Another member of the Puerto Rican welterweight trio, Quintana shocked the world when he upset the feared Paul “The Punisher” Williams. Carlos had gotten some exposure on ESPN but it wasn’t until his dominant win over 2005’s best prospect, Joel Julio on HBO, that he got the world’s attention. After getting stopped in an all Puerto Rican battle for the world welterweight title “El Indio” came in as an underdog against one of the most avoided fighters in the sport and claimed his own share of the welterweight crown. Unfortunately for him an immediate rematch would make his reign a short one as he was caught and stopped in the first round by Williams. Quintana has admitted that thoughts of retirement crossed his mind after having to pull out of his last scheduled bout due to an injury but he is now ready to get back into the mix either at 147 or 154 pounds and is expected to get a meaningful fight in the first half of the year.

9) Jose “Carita” Lopez 38-7 (32 Kos ) This power punching veteran knows a lot about tough luck in title fights. Lopez has lost his previous 4 attempts at winning a world title, always fighting on his opponent’s home turf. It was 2001 when he had his last world title fight- A 12 round unanimous decision loss in which he managed to score a knock down over Fernando Montiel. It has been eight years since that day and Lopez has been on a mission for one more shot at the glory. In the process he has been collecting regional titles. He has worked his way through the ranks the hard way, upsetting veterans as well as rising prospects who wanted to use his name to boost their own credibility . Lopez has been patiently moving towards a next chance and it seems like he finally has got it. “Carita” is scheduled to face Thailand ’s Pramuansak Posuwan for the vacant WBO super flyweight world title in Puerto Rico . Despite previous talks of the fight being cancelled, it has been confirmed for March 28. For the first time he gets to have the crowd on his side for a title bid. The same crowd that has supported him during his long road back to the title shot will be there to root for him. Will the 5th try be the one?

10) Mario “El Principe” Santiago 19-1-1 (14 Kos ) Mario entered the pro scene in 2000 after being eliminated at the Olympic qualifiers by Orlando “El Fenomeno” Cruz. The future seemed to smile at him when he signed with Don King and joined team Trinidad, sharing the same stable with fighters like Tito Trinidad, Fres Oquendo, Nelson Dieppa and others. He had 3 wins in 2001 but his career took an unexpected blow when Felix Trinidad Sr. announced his retirement as a trainer leaving Mario in a contractual limbo. It wasn’t until 2004, when he was finally able to make a comeback, that his career got back on track. He had 7 fights in that year and in 2005 signed with Evangelista Cotto to join Miguel Cotto’s stable where he finally got a title shot last year against the WBO’s featherweight titlist Steven Luevano. The fight ended in a much contested draw and while Santiago has been clamoring for a rematch, there are no signs of Luevano wanting to risk his title against the “Ponce Prince” for a second time. With the featherweight division heating up in recent months a new title shot for Santiago in 2009 shouldn’t be out of the question.