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What Happened to Acelino “Popo” Freitas?

Posted by beeshabo on September 13, 2007


What Happened to Popo? Well the answer would probably be that he finally stepped up to better quality opposition, Maybe, although he fought his share of stiffs and some sturdy opponents, Acenlino was known as a power puncher, a puncher who knocked out his first 29 opponents, that must mean something right? Well it wasn’t until he fought the likes of, Joel Casamayor, Jorge Barrios, Diego Corrales and Juan Diaz that Acelino starting showing signs of wear and tear, he was no longer the stellar boxer puncher, he had more boring moments then exciting ones.

On January 12, 2002, Acelino faced a slick boxer in Joel Casamayor, Casaymayor was known for his dirty rough house tactics, but he was a strudy strong guy with good boxing ability, it was going to be a tough challenge for the Brazilian Slugger. Throughout the entire fight, it was Acelino who turned into the boxer, he was frustrating Casamayor, and as it came to no surprise, Casamayor used every trick in the book to sneak in illegal punches and veteran like rough housing. Popo showed poise, he stuck to his game-plan and avoided getting into a heated battle in which case all his hard work could have gone down the drain in possible loss by Disqualification. By the end of round 12, it was clear that Acelino had won, but his performance didn’t show us how good we thought he was, I guess I just expected more, but he did his best against a tough awkward fighter.

Now, a year and a half later, Popo stepped into one of the biggest challenge of his pro career, he stepped up to fight the wild swinging, in your face mad man, Jorge “La Hiena” Barrios. Barrios was a rough and tough guy who came to fight, he wanted to trade with you, he was willing to take a beating in order to hurt you. Barrios was technically undefeated when he was set to fight Popo, his (Barrios) only loss came by a DQ in December of 97 in a fight that took place in Argentina. From the opening bell, Barrios was on the hunt, searching for openings to unleash his vicious body attack, Popo used his athletic abilities to slip and duck Barrios’ wild swinging attack. The fight was building into a memorable event as the two combatants traded and boxed each other with precise timing, in round 3 Barrios suffered a cut around his left eye, compliments of Freitas’ jab. In round 8, with blood streaming down his face, Barrios put Freitas down on the canvas, but Freitas rose off his knees and he did not appear hurt as he continued to box Barrios. In the dramatic yet amazing round 11, Freitas was sent to the canvas by a straight left right by Barrios, but this time, Freitas went down for real, he got up dazed and the only chance he had to make it out of the round was to box, and he did just that, he used the ropes as a quide to take Barrios out of range. Near the end of round 11, about a mili-second before the bell rang, Freitas landed a ROCK HARD right hand shot flush on Barrios’ chin, Barrios stood dazed for a moment, frozen in time, and then down he went, WOW WOW WOW!!!!.Barrios got up at the count of 4, he didn’t know where he was as he looked around towards the crowd like a kid separated from his family at a theme park, but Barrios turned to the ref at the count of 8 and signaled that he was okay, SAVED BY THE BELL. It was panic time in the Barrios corner, as the blood continued to flow like lava, and he was bleeding from his ear (due to a ruptured ear drum). In the beginning of round 12, Freitas was able to score an early knockdown, and as Barrios stood up on wobbly legs and Freitas went straight at him and with a couple more shots, Barrios was clearly in bad shape and badly discombobulated and the fight was stopped. Freitas had won a TKO victory in round 12, amazing!!!!


After his dramatic win over the Argentinean fighter, the questions flowed, Was Frietas over-rated? or is Barrios that good?…Whatever the case may be, Frietas showed heart and determination in winning his brutal battle with Barrios, something many didn’t know about Freitas was answered, he had a warrior heart.

On September 7th, 2004…Freitas once again stepped up to fight another warrior in the late Deigo “Chico” Corrales, after thinking that his biggest test as a pro was his fight against Barrios, well this fight was much more of a test, Corrales was an excellent fighter, a lights out puncher with the biggest heart you could ever imagine in a fighter, a man who will walk through anything to win, Freitas had HELL in his way. No matter what anyone thought of Freitas, he was doing everything right, boxing beautifully, and using his lateral movement to mute Corrales offense, Freitas was on his way to a victory until, Corrales landed flush, and down went Freitas (in round 8), He got up but looking tired and worried. Freitas would go down two more times, in the 9th and 10th rounds, but his career ended the moment he pulled a “NO MAS” (no more) and quit after he suffered the 3rd knockdown in this fight at the hands of Corrales. Oh man, he quit, where did his heart go? what happened?…well the answer is, He got hit, and hit hard.

So now after his devistating first professional loss, Freitas was now on the downhill, even though this was his first loss, you just knew he wasn’t going anywhere after this, it was too much for him to take, he would now be known as a quitter. Freitas went on to fight two more times (in Brazil), and made a comeback in April of 2006 in a fight for the vacant WBO Lightweight title against Zahir Raheem. In an all out Snoozer, Freitas won a Split Descison against the man who beat a worn out Erik Morales.

364 days later, Acelino wanted to make a statement of his already questionable career, he wanted to unify the belts against the unbeaten baby bull Juan Diaz, the fight was made and the two were set to fight for the WBO & WBA lightweight titles at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino. In some good pre-fight hype, many thought Freitas would easily out gun the 21yr old in a quick and easy KO victory, I for one also thought that Freitas would be too much for the young champ, and boy was I wrong. Freitas looked horrible, sloppy, and in bad condition as he ran out of gas early in rounds 4 & 5, somehow Freitas gained some energy and lasted until round 8, but after a strong barrage of punches from Diaz that hurt Freitas, Popo once again quit, this time on his stool in between rounds 8 & 9.

What happened to the warrior who fought his heart out against Barrios? Where was the champ? No one knows, he’s gone, and we all know that he’s gone for good.

(Check out a little promo clip for his bout back in April of this year….here)

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