|The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire|
Aug 6, 2001|
Oliveira Looking to Turn Heads
By JD Vena
Fall River, MA - I've often wondered what the extent of our readers' boxing knowledge is. Sure, after rummaging through our vast encyclopedia, you must know a great deal about yesterday's legends and folk heroes. But how keen are you with the modern scene? Let's find out with a few trivia questions.
Which jr. welterweight is unbeaten in his last 13 bouts?
a) "Sucra" Ray Oliveira
b) Randall Bailey
c) Demarcus "Chop Chop" Corley
d) "Irish" Micky Ward
Which fighter has fought over 350 rounds and never been stopped?
a) Felix "Tito" Trinidad
b) Roy Jones, Jr.
c) "Sucra" Ray Oliveira
d) Ricardo "Finito" Lopez
Which fighter defeated 3 boxers last year who were at the time ranked by the world governing bodies (a.k.a. The Alphabet Soup)?
a) Kostya Tszyu
b) "Sucra" Ray Oliveira
c) Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins
d) "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Okay, if you've answered these questions correctly you didn't win tickets to the Trinidad-Hopkins fight or a membership to the Belly-of-the-Month Club for that matter (sorry Bucket). If you read the title of this piece and didn't notice what I was getting at, then you shouldn't be allowed to use a computer much less visit the CBZ. Yes, whether you've noticed his accomplishments or not, 33-year-old "Sucra" Ray Oliveira (42-7-1, 19 KO's) of New Bedford, MA is unbeaten in his last 13 fights, has fought over 350 rounds without ever being stopped and defeated 3 boxers last year (along with 2 stiffs) who were world ranked. If there is a fighter who deserves a title shot, it's Oliveira.
Now your writer isn't suggesting that Oliveira's right to fight for a jr. welterweight championship should block the slated Kostya Tszyu - Zab Judah showdown, arguably the second most significant match-up of 2001, but who besides Oliveira deserves a title shot more? Should he defeat the hard punching Ben "Wonder" Tackie (rated 10th by the CBZ) Friday night at Foxwoods Resort & Casino, then that question would become impossible to answer. It would be difficult to believe that the likes of Randall Bailey, Antonio Diaz or Micky Ward deserve a shot more than Oliveira.
"Bailey has never beaten anyone who was good at the time he fought them. Hector Lopez and Carlos Gonzalez were washed up when he beat them. Diaz and Ward are good fighters and they've beaten good fighters but what have they done lately," asked Oliveira.
Indeed, since Diaz defeated Ward last August, he was mercilessly pounded by Shane Mosley (which is certainly forgivable) but hasn't fought anyone of note ever since. Ward conversely has fought twice since his loss to Diaz but hasn't beaten a ranked opponent since last March.
"I'm not trying to say that (Emanuel) Burton isn't a good fighter," said Oliveira of Ward's most recent win. "But Burton wasn't ranked. I'm doing the things that you're suppose to do to get a title shot. So why am I not appearing higher in the rankings? I see guys like Camacho, Jr., who I won't even get into and Ricky Hatton in there. Who the hell have they fought? What's pathetic is the fact that (the CBZ) now ranks Vivian Harris (7th) over me. I know ranking fighters must be tough, but you guys don't even know math."
Ouch! Though I can't speak for Phrank Da Slugger's mathematical prowess, Oliveira makes a great point. Last year, Oliveira (rated 8th by the CBZ) thought that he took a significant leap through the rankings when he boxed the ears off of then unbeaten "Vicious" Vivian Harris. But the bound for respect was higher than he thought. He defeated Isaac Cruz; a world rated late replacement for Freddie Pendleton and finished the year with a sensational win over "Cool" Vince Phillips, a former world champion and the only man to defeat Tszyu. The victory over Phillips earned him the NABF jr. welterweight title, a crown he held briefly 4 years ago and will defend against Tackie. Though people will point to the fact that Phillips was 37 years old at the time, both he and Oliveira threw a combined 2,986 punches, the second most thrown in a fight since the inception of CompuBox. To no surprise, the record for the most punches thrown (which stands at 3,020) also involved Ray Oliveira. It has been his punch output that has enabled him to win so many wars such as his two wins over Charles Murray but it has been the lack of power (19 knockouts in 42 wins) behind it that has written Oliveira off of the best jr. welterweight lists. Fighters with the knockout punch are the ones given the respect and adulation even when they're knocking out washed up has-beens.
"Everybody thought that Harris was supposed to beat me and that I was washed up," said Oliveira. "When I beat him, they said, 'Ah, he was too young.' When I beat Phillips, they said, 'Ah, he was too old.' Well if I beat Tackie, what are they going to say then? Will they say that he really couldn't punch at jr. welterweight?"
More than likely, no one will ever accuse Tackie of not carrying a certified knockout punch. Tackie (22-2, 14 Kayos), a native of Ghana and a relative of the great Azumah Nelson, is one of the purest, most dangerous punchers in the game. If Tackie's knockout over former IBF jr. lightweight champion Roberto Garcia wasn't the most explosive knockout of 2000, then it was his punch-out of "Fearless" Freddie Pendleton, who elected to face Tackie instead of Oliveira. The power is there in both fists and you can probably bet that the whispers have been that Oliveira will fall the same way the others have.
"All of the criticism and the lack of respect I've received fuels me more and more," said Oliveira. "I know he can punch and that he's going to try and take it to me, but he ain't going to catch me."
If Tackie doesn't catch him, than Oliveira could very well snatch a title shot in early spring. But don't expect Oliveira to wait on the backburner the way others have. There is plenty of fuel burning in Oliveira's tank and on Friday night the boxing world will have another chance to realize why Oliveira deserves the first crack at the soon to be unified crown.
New England Chatta:
Oliveira's battle with Tackie will headline Jimmy Burchfield's 6-bout show at the Fox Theater in Foxwoods. In an intriguing co-feature, Julian Wheeler (20-6-2, 8 KO's) of Virginia Beach will try to put together another impressive victory when he battles tough Daniel Alicea (24-4-1, 19 KO's) of Santurce, Puerto Rico. In his last fight, Wheeler upset Hartford's Israel "Pito" Cardona over 8 rounds in May. The up and down 1992 US Olympian will have his hands full with the Puerto Rican. Alicea, the first man to drop Naseem Hamed is at the crossroads. In January, Alicea lost a close nod to Lamar Murphy and was stopped in the initial round against Acelino Freitas. The Freitas fight was taken on only a few days notice.
Jason "School Boy" Pires (18-1, 9 KO's) a hometown pal of Ray Oliveira will take on his toughest test since losing his only fight to four-time title challenger, Arthur Johnson will meet Phillip Payne (11-2-1, 5 KO's). Both Pires and Payne are rated by the NABF at featherweight. Also scheduled to appear are hot Providence middleweight prospect Peter Manfredo, Jr. (6-0, 4 KO's), Jaime Clampitt (5-1, 3 KO's) of Calgary and 5-time Puerto Rican National Champion, Angel Torres (3-0, 2 KO's) in a four round featherweight bout.
For ticket information, reserve your seats now by calling 401-724-2253 or tune in to ESPN2's Friday Night Fights at 9:00 EST.
Gary "The Tiger" Balletto pulled out of his biggest opportunity, an appearance on the next ShowBox event when he broke a rib while sparring with Oliveira. Balletto was to face his sternest test in Courtney Burton (13-0) when he withdrew a few days ago. The fight was to be the Saturday the 18th, the same night promoter Rich Cappiello runs a 6-bout show at the Roseland Ballroom in Taunton, MA. Wendy Sprowl (4-1, 2 KO's), a union working mother of two was thought to be finished after being embarassed by Jay Vega this past February, is stepping back into the ring. Sprowl will meet Deanna Nance (5-3) of Oklahoma, a woman whom she defeated a year ago.
Taunton cruiserweight Hector "The Pit Bull" Sanjurjo will face tough Larry Prather (19-15) of Cleveland. Also appearing on the card is another promising Puerto Rican named Torres. This one is Aaron "2-Guns" Torres (4-1, 4 KO's) who now fights out of Brockton. Southie's (South Boston) Kevin Watts (12-1) and Dave "The Hammer" Hamilton of Hanson are also slated to appear.
For ticket information, call 508-587-5554 or 508-587-3370.
In other news, WBA heavyweight champion John "The Quiet Man" Ruiz has been officially nominated for the 2001 Boston Sports Awards' Individual Athlete of the Year. If Ruiz had won the award last year for his gallant effort for nearly defeating Evander Holyfield last August, then you can rest assured that he will win it again for succeeding in that task this past March. The awards ceremony will be held Monday night, October 1 at Grand Hall in Faneuil Hall in Boston. Should he win the award, don't expect him to show up, not that that is his style. If his injured neck neck recovers soon as expected, then he may bein China for his final preparations in his rubber match with Holyfield. For more information about the event visit www.bostonsportsawards.com, or go directly to www.arenamedia.com/bsa/ to vote.
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