Moreno and Cordoba: Getting By With A Little Help From Their Friends

By Derek Bonnett: Two of Panama’s top boxers stayed busy with TKO victories on October 9 at Arena Roberto Duran in their homeland. Currently reigning WBA Bantamweight champion, Anselmo Moreno, 24, scored a sixth round stoppage of Jorge Otero at featherweight and former WBA Super Bantamweight champion, Ricardo Cordoba, 25, got back to his winning ways with a 10th round stoppage of Eddy Julio.

The two stable mates commonly share the spotlight on Panamanian-based boxing promotions, but their friendship and camaraderie mandates that they also help each other to prepare for upcoming bouts given the fact that only about four pounds separates these men come fight night.

"We work together. We have the same trainer and we are a team of around fifteen fighters," Cordoba explained. "When Anselmo has a fight, we all help him; when I have a fight, they help me. This week we are going to Anton. It is about three hours from Panama City and we are going to help Anselmo for his next fight."

Moreno, who captured his WBA title in May of 2008, will be making the fifth defense of his title on November 7 in France against Frederic Patrac. Patrac, 26-7-1 (13), is a peculiar choice for a title defense since he has not faced a fighter with a winning record since 2006 when he TKO’d the formidable Michael Domingo. The choice may have something to do with the fact that Moreno made an excellent impression on the French boxing fans this past July when he travelled to Vienne and took a split decision over Mahyar Monshipour.

"Chemito", 27-1-1 (9), has had a couple of close calls on the cards since winning his title and travelling to his opponents’ backyards to make a buck. On both occasions, Moreno seemed to be in control throughout and more of a unanimous decision winner.

"This is something that worries me because it seems that some judges are not serious in their decisions," Moreno stated. "The problem that we have in Panama is that we don’t have enough sponsors to make title fights and that’s why we fight out of Panama. I can earn double the pay-out, but the risk is big."

Cordoba also knows the plight of fighting in a challenger’s backyard. "Maestrito" travelled to Dublin, Ireland to meet the crowd pleasing Bernard Dunne in March of this year and left the ring empty-handed. There was no controversial scoring impacting the outcome of this fight thankfully. In a see-saw battle that could earn Fight of the Year honors, both men hit the canvas multiple times before Dunne claimed the title in the 11th round.

Cordoba’s recent stoppage of Julio improved his record to 35-2-2 (22) and put him on course to begin his next title run. With Dunne losing his title in crushing fashion to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, Cordoba wants to keep himself out there since he has shared a ring with both men.

"You know that my last fight was very difficult, so we were looking for something easier for my return," Cordoba admitted. "Eddy Julio is a good fighter, but I know that he didn’t represent any danger for me. It is possible that I have another fight in December, but not in Panama. I would like to fight against Poonsawat or Dunne. With Poonsawat because they robbed me [in Thailand] and with Dunne because that day I felt like I was not myself. My legs were shaky from the first round on."

Either fight could be distinct possibility before too long, but it will most likely put Cordoba back on the road to Thailand or Ireland. For now, he’ll have to take things out on Moreno to help the champion get his weight back down from a career high 124.5 pounds.

"I prefer to fight at 118," Moreno made clear, "but this was a preparation fight to be near the weight. I´m going to fight in November and for that reason I did not strive too much to make weight yet."

The tune-up bout with Otero not only allowed Moreno to come down in weight more gradually and sharpen his skills, but it allowed him to score his first knockout since a 2007 first round stoppage of Ricardo Vargas. A step down in opposition was surely warranted to the busy champion.

" It feels great [to score a knockout]. It would be wonderful to finish all fights before the final bell," Moreno asserted.

Dr. Roberto Grimaldo, a member of both teams’ management, confirmed that both fighters will be getting back into the gym to resume training today (October 14) and plan to depart from Panama to arrive in Adge, France on October 28.

One bout that Grimaldo likes for Moreno down the road is a unification fight with Mexico’s Fernando Montiel. Grimaldo was upset with the officiating of Montiel’s last bout with Alejandro Valdez and feels the champion got an unfair verdict in his favor.

"Montiel was more than lucky; it was a robbery. If they fight again, Montiel loses the fight," Grimaldo put on record.

Regardless of what happens next for Moreno after the Patrac bout or for Cordoba in December, each of them knows they won’t have to go it alone and can count on some of the highest quality sparring to get them there.

October 15, 2009
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