MO Productions president Carlos Oliveira announced today that the long rumored fight between retired Brazilian living legend, four-time world champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas, and undefeated World Boxing Council South American middleweight champion Michael “The Brazilian Rocky” Oliveira, will take place June 2 at Conrad Punta Del Este and Resort Casino in Uruguay.
The 10-round Freitas-Oliveira main event will be contested at 154-pounds. The remainder of the card will be announced at a later date.
“Everything was finalized yesterday and ‘Popo’ signed the contract,” Carlos said from Sao Paulo. “We’re all very excited that the deal has been made for what will be a huge event for Brazilians. We have a beautiful venue in nearby Uruguay. The fight will air live on Global TV in Brazil and Uruguay television.”
Oliveira supporters in Brazil are already jokingly saying, “Michael has an opportunity to knockout a politician without going to jail.”
The 36-year-old Freitas (38-2, 32 KOs) is a state legislature in Brazil, where he is a national sports hero and revered in a country preparing to host the next World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. ‘Popo’ has been retired for nearly five years, since his last fight April 28, 2007, but he will come out retirement to take on the popular Oliveira.
Standing only 5′ 6″, Freitas captured the World Boxing Organization (“WBO”) lightweight title, in addition to two-time WBO and World Boxing Association (“WBA”) super featherweight championships. The heaviest he has ever fought at is 135 pounds, nearly 20 pounds lighter than the junior middleweight maximum he is expected to weigh for his June 2 fight against a much younger, stronger Oliveira.
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.
The 21-year-old Oliveira (17-0, 12 KOs), rated No. 14 by the World Boxing Council (“WBC”), 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 now finds himself training to fight his country’s second-greatest boxer, Freitas, to only Hall of Famer Eder Jofre.
Oliveira’s last three fights have been in three different countries: Sergei Melis (WDEC8) on February 11 in Canada, Xavier Tolliver (WDQ8) on ShoBox in El Paso, Texas, and Abel Nicolas Adriel (DEC10) in Sao Paulo.
The 5′ 9″ Oliveira has gradually dropped weight, originally fighting as a super middleweight, until his last two fights at middleweight. The goal, under the direction of head trainer Orlando Cueller and strength-and-conditioning coach Steve Arintok, has been for Michael to fight at his natural weight of 154, which he’ll be doing for the first time against Freitas.
Oliveira is unique among professional boxers. He comes from an affluent family, attends Florida International University, and had only two amateur matches before turning pro in 2008. An exciting personality in and out of the ring, Michael is a two-time defending Brazilian International Press Award’s
Athlete of the Year (2009 and 2010), and a strong candidate for 2011 honors against the likes of UFC star Anderson Silva.