Acelino 'Popó' Freitas returns tonight; Is Manny Pacquiao on the horizon?Written by Leroy Cleveland
At age 39, colorful, former two-division world champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas (39-2, 33 KOS) will make a return to the ring tonight after a three year absence which followed a five year hiatus.
Freitas, one of the sport's most exciting fighters since 2000, will face jr middleweight journeyman Mateo “Chino” Veron (21-16-2, 4 KOs) at Arena Santos in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
When Acelino last stepped into the ring in Summer 2012, he stopped young lion and previously unbeaten prospect Michael "The Brazilian Rocky" Oliveira in a bout that sent shockwaves throughout the boxing world.
Eighteen pounds heavier than in his previous outing in April 2007, the 36 year old 153 lb Frietas floored his 22 year old foe at the end of Round 3 and rocked him in the seventh stanza before depositing his fellow Brazilian twice more in the ninth to end matters for good.
A former WBO/WBA(Super) super-featherweight and two-time WBO lightweight champion, Freitas, like fight legend Manny Pacquiao, entered politics, serving as a legislator for the state of Bahia, from 2011 to 2014.
So what would prompt a 39 year old star boxer turned politician to fight again?
Does he miss the glory? Or is he making one last run and, perhaps, targeting fight legend Manny Pacquiao?
"I never got to fight some of the top fighters of my era, like Floyd Mayweather and Marco Antonio Barrera,” Freitas told ESPN in 2013.
“I wanted those fights. Now, the only fight I want is Pacquiao."
"It’s not even about the money. It is just about showing I can do it. It would be a personal satisfaction to fight against Manny Pacquiao."
Pacquiao vs Freitas in Brazil anyone?
Congressman vs congressman. National hero vs national hero.
Before grimacing, it should be noted the very capable Acelino Freitas has defeated the following fighters:
- Zahir Raheem (then 27-1)
- Artur Grigorian (then 36-0)
- Joel Casamayor (then 26-0)
- Jorge Rodrigo Barrios (then 39-1-1)
- Daniel Attah (then 20-0-1)
- Daniel Alicea (then 24-3-1)
- Michael Oliveira (then 17-0)
And would 'Popó,' after a few more tune-ups, be a viable opponent for the likes of Canelo Alvarez or Miguel Cotto?
A national hero in Brazil, Acelino Freitas is still high in demand in his native land and has served as a campaign spokesman for several companies.