July 27, 2001 - By Paul Upham: The long awaited unification clash between WBA super-featherweight champion Joel Casamayor and WBO title-holder Acelino Freitas (pictured), which has been postponed on countless occasions, now looks set to finally happen in September. "I got the news three or four days ago. Joel Casamayor will be fighting September 29 against Acelino Freitas," said Louie Decubas, Casamayor's manager.
Casamayor, 25-0 (15), and Freitas, 29-0 (29), were last scheduled to meet on May 5 in Philadelphia on Showtime, only to have Freitas pull out. With rumours abounding that Freitas was no longer able to make the super-featherweight limit, there was speculation that the fight would never take place. However, Decubas is now confident that everything will come together in September.
"That's what Showtime are telling us. It's going to be Freitas. I guess everybody is in agreement. Freitas agreed to it and he signed new contracts and he is ready to fight on September 29. That is what we are hearing."
Casamayor won the gold medal for Cuba at the 1992 Olympic Games at bantamweight and finally turned professional in September 1996 after defecting to the USA. He finished his amateur career with a record of 333-30 and won the WBA title in May 2000 against Jong-Kwon Baek.
If Freitas pulls out of the fight again, Casamayor will still fight on that date against another opponent. "If Freitas doesn't come to the table, it will be our date and we will be fighting September 29. We hope it is Freitas, we really want the fight. But if it isn't Freitas then it will be somebody else," said Decubas, who confirmed that the undefeated Cuban has been training in Las Vegas.
"Joel is training for September 29. He is a professional and he knows what time it is. If it is against Freitas, then great. If it is somebody else then that will be great, too. He knows he is the best 130 pound fighter in the world. He doesn't fear anybody."
Casamayor last fought on May 5 in Philadelphia where he recorded the third successful defence of his WBA title with a 12-round points decision over Edwin Santana. The 25 year-old Freitas last fought on January 27 in Brazil when he made his sixth successful defence of his WBO title with a first round knockout of Orlando Soto.
No venue has been set for the unification fight and Decubas says that Casamayor, who tuned 30 on July 12, is willing to take the clash to any location.
"We'll fight him anywhere. It doesn't matter. We just want to get him in the ring. I heard a rumour he (Freitas) didn't want to go to Miami because of the Cubans. Alright, we'll fight him in Vegas," said Decubas.
"I think Freitas made a statement in the Brazillian newspapers that Casamayor was not a man. He is the one that has backed down the last five times. We have been waiting for him, so he should show all the Latin American people what a man is when he goes inside that ring and fights Casamayor."