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Will Freitas remain undefeated?
                      Tom Casino (Showtime)
 

Interview: Acelino Freitas vs. Juan Carlos Ramirez

March 11, 2003

Chicago, IL (Showtime Interview) - Acelino Freitas and Juan Carlos Ramirez discussed their upcoming fight on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Saturday, March 15, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Freitas, the undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA)/World Boxing Organization (WBO) 130-pound champion, will defend both of his titles when he takes on former WBO International and Mexican state champion Ramirez. In the co-feature, undefeated contender Michael Simms will take on fellow unbeaten Felix Cora Jr. in a 10-round cruiserweight attraction. Art Pelullo’s Banner Promotions will promote the 12-round bouts from The Pavilion in Chicago, Ill

Question: Acelino and Juan Carlos, how is training going?

Freitas: Training has been great. I trained for two months in Brazil, and then for one-and-one-half months in Puerto Rico.

Ramirez: Training has been going well. We left our families and have been on the road around Mexico training for one month at high altitude. We trained in a high altitude location that is familiar to several other Mexican fighters, including Julio Caesar Chavez.

Question: Oscar Suarez (Freitas’ trainer), can you talk about Freitas’ last few fights, and why he has not been knocking people out?

Suarez: We have not been concentrating on power since we started training together. Our first fight together was against Alfred Kotey. We have been concentrating more on his talent. We have been training more to do what he enjoys, which is boxing. The critics like to see fighters go through the stage where they knock people out, but they forget that fighters have opponents in front of them with two hands and power. Freitas wanted to show the world that he is one of the best fighters out there.

Question: Acelino, can you comment on your lack of knockouts lately?

Freitas: To be a champion, you do not need to be a knockout artist. You need to be a boxer.

Question: Can you give us a knockout this time?

Freitas: I do not want to promise anything. If there is an opportunity for a knockout, I will take it. If it is going to go to a decision, I am ready to go 15 rounds. I am concentrating more on what boxing is all about, not knocking people out.

Question: Oscar, is there a possibility that Freitas has become more cautious?

Suarez: When you have a fighter of the caliber of an Acelino Freitas, he knows his talent is tremendous. He loves to enjoy what he does, which is boxing. Right now, you have Freitas with a tremendous record, and he is getting joy from what he does. He loves to fight. Knocking people out is not that important. You can be a knockout artist, but people do not know the talent that he has. When Freitas fought (Joel) Casamayor, he was handicapped because he had a problem with his hand. The plan was to beat Cassamayor and show he was the better fighter overall, but his right hand was injured.

Question: Acelino, do you think you have become more cautious?

Freitas: We train to go the distance. If a knockout comes, it comes. Every fight I have had from the beginning has been tough for me. I fight whomever they put in front of me. Every fight is a hard fight. Obviously, people have not seen my resume. All the fights are tough, so we are getting ready for anything and everything.

Question: Juan Carlos, how much of a disadvantage will it be for you to come up in weight?

Ramirez: I feel I have the advantage by coming up in weight. I have been fighting at this weight for the last few fights, so it is not difficult for me to go up. I feel a lot more comfortable in this division, but I know I have to be more careful because the punches are a lot harder.

Question: Acelino, which opponent do you think will bring you the big money and recognition?

Freitas: One more unification bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. will bring me those things. It is not just about the money, it is about the glory. I am a true fighter. It is about showing the world who the true champion is.

Question: Has your fame been difficult to adjust to in Brazil?

Freitas: The fame has not been difficult to adjust to. Nothing has affected me. People have supported me regardless of whether I am the champion or not. I am the people’s champion. I have the desire to be the champion of the world for the Brazilian people.

Question: Will your inactivity during the past 14 months have any affect on you?

Freitas: The inactivity will not have any affect on me. The fight is in the gym. Training in the gym with great sparring partners will help me a great deal. That is where you fight. The night of the fight is where you enjoy yourself.

Question: Juan Carlos, will your experience fighting champions give you an edge?

Ramirez: My experience against champions will absolutely help me. It has been tough fighting the kind of champions I have faced. Freitas is champion for a very good reason. I am fighting a very tough opponent, but I am prepared and expect to come out ahead in this fight.

Question: Can you talk about what it was like growing up in Mexico?

Ramirez: I come from a very poor, humble colony in Juarez. The people support me because I have helped them. If I win this fight, I will be making running water available to the people in my hometown. These are the things that motivate me. Since I was a young boy, I have been raising and nurturing cocks and preparing them to fight. When I step into the ring, I put on a show of cockfighting for the fans. When I get ready to fight, I transform myself into a cock. I take on that mentality of fighting until the very end.

Question: Can you talk about your fight against Fernando Velardez?

Ramirez: I would like to apologize to all my fans for my showing in the Fernando Velardez fight. I was not feeling well. Two days prior to the fight, I had the flu. That fight was more than one year ago (April 7, 2001). Since that time, I defeated (Jesus) Salud and (Cesar) Soto. I have put my pants on in the right place, and am ready for this fight.

Question: Acelino, do you feel Ramirez’ style is made for you?

Freitas: We train for the individual that we are going to fight. We know Ramirez is a humble person, and is hungry for his title and fighting for his country. He has fought the best in his division. We have been getting ready for Ramirez for the past three-and-one-half months. We do not take anyone lightly.

Question: Juan Carlos, who has been the most powerful puncher you have faced?

Ramirez: Soto had 60 knockouts. Salud had 55. I have fought guys with harder punches. Freitas is very tough, but I am very tough. Freitas has a very serious team. They are a gracious group of gentleman. I have tremendous respect for Freitas, but I am going into this fight to knock him out. His record speaks for itself, and so does mine. I expect to put together a great show for Chicago, for all Mexicans, and I expect to come out winning.

Question: Acelino, do you have any interest in recapturing your old power for this fight?

Freitas: There will be two people fighting. It does not matter how many knockouts I have, or who I have fought. I am dedicating this fight to my father who just passed away. My father always asked me for knockouts. People will see a knockout.

Question: How difficult was it to stay focused on boxing after your father passed away?

Freitas: It (his father’s passing) gave me more motivation to go out and fight. I was always motivated by the presence of my father. His physical presence will not be necessary because he will be with me in my heart. I will show my dad that I am the best.

 

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