RingTV.com conducted a short, Q&A during Monday’s national conference call with Kermit Cintron, who will challenge WBC 154-pound titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in an HBO-televised bout in Mexico on Saturday. The 32-year-old veteran still considers himself to be one of the world’s premiere fighters in the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions.
A former two-time welterweight beltholder, Cintron (33-4-1, 28 KOs) has battled to a disputed draw with RING middleweight titleholder Sergio Martinez and lost a controversial decision to former two-time beltholder Paul Williams.
Cintron, who is of Puerto Rican decent, was the first man to defeat Alfredo Angulo, scoring a unanimous decision over the hammer-fisted, granite-chinned contender in May of 2009. He is coming off of a 10-round unanimous decision over Antwone Smith in August, which helped him to rebound from a 10-round unanimous decision loss to Carlos Molina in July.
The victory over Smith helped to vault Cintron into Saturday night’s fight with Alvarez (38-0-1, 28 KOs), THE RING’s No. 2-rated junior middleweight, in Cancun, Mexico, an opportunity that could represent Cintron’s last shot at major glory.
But among the most damaging bouts of his career came during his two, bloody knockout losses to ex-beltholder Antonio Margarito, who stopped a then-unbeaten Cintron in five rounds in April of 2005, and dethroned him as IBF beltholder in six rounds in April of 2008.
Since then, Margarito has become the subject of controversy, resulting from an illegal plaster that was found in his hand wrappings and removed prior to his ninth-round knockout loss to Shane Mosley in January of 2009.
No one is sure whether or not Margarito was dirty when he faced Cintron or Miguel Cotto, who was an unbeaten WBA welterweight titleholder before being battered, beaten bloody and dethroned following an 11th-round knockout loss to Margarito in July of 2008.
Cotto, who is slated to defend his WBA 154-pound belt in a rematch with Margarito on Dec. 3, suffered a broken nose, dripped blood from his face, was knocked down once, took a knee once, and bled from a deep gash over his left eye.
“That was a very sad night for me. Miguel wasn’t crying tears. The tears coming out of Miguel’s eyes that night weren’t normal. They were tears of blood. You had to see it,” the champion’s father, Miguel Cotto Sr., who died in January of 2010, was quoted during an HBO 24/7 documentary.
“Bleeding out of his nose, bleeding out of his ears. You had to see how deep his wounds were. It’s impossible to explain. I couldn’t explain how someone with gloves could do that.”
“My swelling over my face, and I had received punches in fights before,” said Cotto in the past. “But it was never like that when this fight was over.”
During the Q&A, Cintron admitted that he, himself, has suspicions about Margarito’s fists, and also discusses his upcoming bout with Alvarez, who is coming off September’s contentious sixth-round knockout of Alfonso Gomez.
RingTV.com: Do you think that Margarito cheated against you or anybody else?
Kermit Cintron: I honestly, you know, don’t know. I have no proof to show that he used plaster against me in my fights. But only he knows. I know that I’m a clean fighter.
I go in there as a clean fighter. I go in there to do my job and that’s to put up a good performance and to try to come out with a victory. It sure did make him look bad after he got caught.
Was there a lot of questions in my mind about it? Yes. But, you know, I have no proof to prove that he did use the plaster. I believe that if you’re caught once, what makes you think that he hasn’t done it before?
RingTV.com: When you watch Margarito’s fight against Cotto, and you watch your fight against Margarito, can you put us in your thoughts as to what goes through your mind?
KC: My thoughts? I mean, it’s just one of those things where the only fighter that’s ever really hurt me and cut me has been Margarito.
The only fighter that I’ve seen hurt Cotto that bad, that he was cut that badly, was against Margarito. It’s a wierd situation that we, you know, both fought Margarito and we both ended up the same way.
You know, busted up. It’s just that I don’t know what else to say about it. I just go in there as a clean fighter and I just go in there prepared the right way and to be ready to fight and to have a clean fight.
RingTV.com: Having been there and fought in some great fights against great fighters in the past, what does this mean to your career to have this shot against Alvarez?
KC: I respect Canelo for giving me this opportunity to fight him for the title. I was shocked when I first got the call. It’s a big fight, and this is probably going to be one of my biggest fights.
I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m definitely ready for Canelo and for whatever he brings. I have a lot of experience and I’ve fought a lot of good fighers.
I’ve been through my ups and downs, and Canelo hasn’t had that. He hasn’t had that experience. I’ve always worked my way up to fight for world titles, and I’m coming in there to take the title away from him.
RingTV.com: Did you take anything away from Alvarez’s performance against Gomez?
KC: Canelo’s a good performer. He’s a world champion for a reason. I think that he’s a good fighter and he’s got a lot of skills.
But I feeel that I’m a better fighter than he is. I’m strong as well and I can punch as well and I can box pretty good as well.
It’s going to be an interesting fight and again, I came here well prepared for whatever he brings. Nov. 26, it’s going to be a great night for Mexico and a great night for Puerto Rico, and all of the fans out there.
Photo by Jeff Julian, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org