Kermit Cintron is a top welterweight/junior middleweight and the former IBF Welterweight Champion. The 30 year old is known for his prodigious punching power, but has recently shown an ability to use his skills and box from the outside. The nine- year veteran turns to 2010 with some positive momentum looking to finally break through.
Unlike many top fighters, Cintron got a late start in boxing. He was already 19 by the time he engaged in his first amateur bout. He still managed to put together a 24-3 record before turning his attention on punching for pay.
In 2000, Cintron made his debut and remained undefeated for the first four-and-a-half years of his career. During that period, only two opponents managed to go the distance with Cintron. He knocked 6 of his first 8 opponents out in the first round. He began to get recognized as a hard-hitting prospect. Slowly, he began to increase the quality of his opposition; tallying knockout wins over decent welterweights Ian MacKillop, Luis Rosado, and Elio Ortiz.
In 2004, Cintron faced Teddy Reid for the interim WBO title, crushing him in eight rounds on HBO. This gave Cintron the “privilege” of facing regular WBO champ Antonio Margarito. Cintron was no match for the irrepressible veteran, as his best power shots bounced harmlessly off Margarito’s head. The far sharper Margarito began to zero in with his power shots, and Cintron had no answers. He was dropped four times en route to a fifth round defeat. It was a crushing loss; the type of beating that has mentally and physically damaged many prospects.
Cintron recovered nicely following the Margarito defeat. A year later, he knocked David Estrada out in an IBF title eliminator. He next challenged unheralded Mark Suarez for the vacant IBF Welterweight Championship. A 6th round KO gave Cintron his first title. More important than the legitimacy of his title was the fact that Cintron was back on track, and ready to take on some big fights.
Wasting Away Again in “Margaritoville”
Cintron scored two defenses, knockouts over Walter Matthysse and Jesse Feliciano, the former a frightening display of power, before setting his sights on his only conqueror, Antonio Margarito. With Margarito only one fight removed from a loss to Paul Williams, and Cintron having an apparent revival, there was strong interest in the rematch. Still, Margarito was a strong favorite.
Cintron had come a long way, and it showed somewhat in this fight. He threw with more authority and confidence, and still came up dreadfully short. Margarito ate every shot and laid into Cintron with zeal. Body shots sapped his resources, and before long, it began to resemble their first fight with Margarito having his way.
Margarito pummeled Cintron’s body to the point where he couldn’t take it anymore. It was a vicious assault and in the sixth round Cintron went down and out, more from an accumulation than from a single shot. Once again, Cintron had tried to fight the best, and once again he was resoundingly knocked out.
Perhaps some solace was had for Cintron in the fact that Margarito was just a horrible stylistic matchup for him and not necessarily an indication that he couldn’t compete with other great fighters. The Margarito hand wrap scandal also gave pause to those thinking of writing him off.
Bouncing Back, Part II
Cintron looked reasonably good in a decision over former champion Lovemore N’Dou 7 months after the Margarito disaster. He next faced rising Sergio Martinez for the interim WBC Junior Middleweight Title. Cintron performed well at a new weight and won rounds against Martinez, earning a draw.
In all fairness, it appeared that Martinez had been robbed. Firstly, he floored Cintron for a ten count and somehow did not get credit for a KO win. Then Cintron appeared to talk the referee into a point deduction in the 12th for a very marginal infraction. To top it off, the judges blew it by miraculously scoring it a draw. The result was not so horrible for Cintron at a new weight if you sign off on the notion that Martinez is indeed an excellent fighter.
He was then chosen as an opponent for red-hot prospect Alfredo Angulo in another HBO slot. Cintron was an underdog against the highly regarded and undefeated Angulo. Perhaps it is not a stretch to say that Angulo’s management saw Cintron as an opportunity to add a big name to their charge’s resume at a low risk.
However, Cintron used his legs, jab, and outside game to have Angulo off-rhythm most of the night. Punching first, he offset Angulo’s effectiveness and won a 10 round unanimous decision. This was a huge win for Cintron–the biggest of his career. He had finally beaten a top fighter, sending most in boxing scrambling to re-evaluate the mercurial Puerto Rican. This high-profile win served to give fans another way to look at Cintron rather than simply the guy who couldn’t win a big fight.
Cintron knocked out Juliano Ramos in a stay-busy fight in October in his most recent appearance.
Cintron, 32-2-1 (28), has impressed with his resilience and now looks for big fights in 2010. It remains unclear if he wants to fight at 147 or 154. He could fight rematches with either Martinez or Angulo, which would garner some interest. He could fight invading titlist Sergiy Dzinzuruk. At least he has options, which is more than you could have said a few years ago.