|Steward ‘It’s a Fresh Start”
The Welter Report by Gabriel Montoya (May 14, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Earlier today, I caught up with Hall of Fame trainer Manny Steward. We hadn’t spoken since the Cintron/Margarito rematch and there was much to talk about.
“Kermit took it very well,” said Steward of Cintron’s second loss to the same man. “Afterwards, in the locker room, he was laughing and joking. He’s never been that way. I took it very hard. [But] Kermit joked that maybe in ten fights when Margarito has slowed down, he’ll fight him again. Kermit said, ‘The guy is just a pain in the ass for
me style-wise.’ I say we leave [Margarito] alone. The guy is just a tough match-up for Kermit. He takes a great shot. Kermit made it a tough fight in the beginning. He landed some great uppercuts and right hands. Snapped his head back. [Margarito] is just too durable, too tough for Kermit. But this is boxing and styles make fights. There is always someone for everyone. I think Margarito will always be trouble for Kermit just like Frazier was for Ali.”
As far as the gameplan for the rematch, Steward was candid. “Look, Kermit is not the type of guy that is going to stick and move the whole fight. That just isn’t who he is. He boxes just enough to set up the big shots. But Margarito is very awkward with the pressure and the angles and that chin. We tried to make a fight of it and it didn’t work out.”
When the fight was first being discussed, Steward had told me that it was a necessary battle in order for Cintron to move forward as a fighter. “Win or lose,” he said at the time, “ it’s an important fight. Everywhere we go, no matter who we beat, Margarito always comes up. He will always have to deal with that until they rematch. Win or lose, Kermit can move forward and they can go their separate ways.”
Now with the cold, hard reality of the fight’s aftermath behind him, Steward says he doesn’t regret making the fight instead of taking another, perhaps easier, path towards welterweight unification and ultimate domination of the division.
“No,” Steward said without hesitation. “It was a fight that had to be made. Now, Kermit can move forward.” That forward progression will remain in the welterweight division.
Part of the process for Steward and Cintron is the break that was made with his now former promoter, Main Events. The split was reported by several outlets last week and was suggested by some that Main Events had unceremoniously dumped Cintron. When asked about the split, the publicist for the promoter, Donald Tremblay informed me that “Kermit wanted out and we obliged him.”
“It’s a fresh start,” said Steward.
Several promoters are now courting Cintron, among them Lou DiBella. “I would love to work with Kermit Cintron,” said the promoter. “Nothing is set in stone. We haven’t set an official offer out there but we are talking. I like Kermit as a fighter and as a man. He is fun to watch and is never in boring fights. I think he is an exciting fighter who is great for the sport. I would love to work with him.”
One potential problem however is that DiBella just happens to promote WBO welterweight titleholder Carlos Quintana as well as rising welter contender Andre Berto. While some would call it a conflict of interest, DiBella says it won’t hinder but actually enhance the welterweight picture.
“Look, there are a lot of talented fighters in the welterweight division. A lot of potentially great match-ups. In Kermit’s case, he happened to run into a guy that just might have his number. There are a lot of guys that don’t match up. Certain fighters have each other’s number. Like Vernon Forrest had Shane Mosley’s. Like Mosley had Oscar’s. It’s boxing. Right now, I think Kermit needs a career builder to get his confidence back and to see where he’s at. He doesn’t to go back to the drawing board, in my opinion. I think one fight or maybe two and there will be an opportunity for Kermit.”
What appeals to Steward most of all about DiBella is his straightforward approach. “He is a very honest guy in the way he talked things out. I’ve always liked Lou and respected him for that honesty.”
ANDY LEE UPDATE
As for Steward’s middleweight contender Andy Lee, a proposed rematch with Brian Vera is on the table though an interim fight might be in order.
“We offered [Team Vera] $250,000 for a rematch in the fall. We haven’t heard back yet. What will probably happen is that we will take a fight in July and then have the rematch with Vera. Andy wants that fight very badly.”
In a rough year, Team Kronk needed a break somewhere. They got it Friday night at the National Golden Gloves tourney when 201 lb. heavyweight Craig Lewis took the title. The 6’5 young heavy is looking to turn pro sometime later this year. “We’ll get him up to 225, work on some things but I think his future is very bright,” said the optimistic Steward.
SPEAKING OF NUMBERS
Does Carlos Quintana have Paul Williams’ number? “I think he might. I think he had the perfect gameplan the first time around. I was very surprised that he was the stronger man in the fight. I’ve never seen a little guy push around a bigger guy. I was surprised that Williams didn’t decide to go up to 154 after the first fight. When you are over 6’, making the welterweight limit gets tougher and tougher especially if you aren’t 20 anymore. I think when someone figures out your style like Carlos did to Paul, the onus is on [Williams] to make the major adjustments. If he doesn’t he could lose even worse next time.” Quintana will get a chance to prove DiBella right June 7 from the Mohegan Sun Casino when the two square off for their rematch on the undercard of the Sergio Mora/Vernon Forrest fight.
Stay tuned next week when Kermit steps back into the Pound for a one-on-one with yours truly.
So it seems that the volatile Nicuaraguan slugger has landed on yet another fighter’s wish list. Jermain Taylor, fresh from his decision loss to Kelly Pavlik, is eyeing Mayorga as a potential dance partner. “Don [King, Mayorga’s promoter] and I have talked a couple times about it. Obviously, Tito Trinidad is the fight we wanted but I don’t think it is the fight Tito wanted. I’m not sure what his plans are. We’ll see.” Mayorga recently landed at the top of Shane Mosley’s list of potential replacement opponents for the injured Zab Judah.
Gabriel at: Coyotefeather@gmail.com .
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