Undefeated Michael “The Brazilian Rocky” Oliveira (17-0, 12 KOs), rated No. 12 by the World Boxing Council (“WBC”), is set to battle Brazilian living legend and four-time world champion, Acelino “Popo” Freitas (38-2, 32 KOs), June 2 at Conrad Punta Del Este and Resort Casino in Uruguay.
“I’m looking at him as just another opponent, despite him being a four-time world champion, as well as one of my idols,” a confident Oliveira said from his Miami training camp. “I prepare for every fight like I’m fighting Roy Jones, Mayweather, Ali or Mike Tyson. I give 100-percent in training for every fight. Come fight night, he will be just another fighter I’ll have to go through. He may be favored by the public, but any of my haters will love me after I’ve beaten him.”
“The 36-year-old Freitas, a state legislature in a country he’s revered as a national sports hero, has been retired for five years, last fighting April 28, 2007. He’s coming out of retirement, taking on the popular 22-year-old Oliveira nearly 20 pounds heavier than he’s ever fought.
The 5′ 6” “Popo’ captured the World Boxing Organization (“WBO”) lightweight title, in addition to becoming two-time WBO and World Boxing Association (“WBA”) Super Featherweight Champion. Between 1995 and 2007, Freitas defeated Joel Casamayor, Daniel Attah, Juan Carlos Ramirez, Jorge Rodrigo Barrios and Artur Grigorian. Acelino’s only two losses were to the late Diego Corrales and Juan Diaz in his last fight.
“His experience is cancelled by one of the greatest, most experience trainers who’ll be in my corner, Orlando Cuellar,” Oliveira countered. “I’m preparing to hurt him; I’d be a ballet instead of a boxing if I didn’t feel this way.”
Oliveira has fought three times in his native Brazil in an effort to establish himself as Freitas’ successor in Brazilian boxing circles. Born in Sao Paulo, he moved to Miami when he was only two weeks old and, ironically, he’s preparing to fight his country’s second-greatest boxer to only Hall of Famer Eder Jofre. Freitas, in fact, attended Oliveira’s second Brazilian fight to show his support for his boxing successor.
The 5′ 9″ Oliveira is the reigning WBC South American Middleweight Champion. During the last year he has gradually dropped weight, originally fighting as a super middleweight, until his last two fights at middleweight. Under the direction of head trainer Cueller and strength-and-conditioning coach, Steve Arintok, the goal has been for Michael to fight at his natural weight of 154, which he’ll be doing for the first time against Freitas.
Freitas-Oliveira has been in the works for the past 10 months. “I never, ever in my life, thought that I’d fight Acelino Freitas,” Oliveira admitted. “My old trainer gave us the idea. He sent me a message saying he’d train ‘Popp’ to beat me for free. He gave us the idea to challenge ‘Popo’ and we’re making it happen. He must be kicking himself now.
“We found out that ‘Popo’ was going to have one last fight, for his son, and win or lose, he’s done and out of boxing forever. I challenged him and he accepted. May the best man win.”
The 10-round Freitas-Oliveira main event headlines the “History In The Making” card, presented by MO Productions, which will air live on TV Global in Brazil and Uruguay television.