Former welterweight champion Kermit Cintron (32-4, 28KOs) faces Antwone Smith (20-2, 12KOs) this week on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights in what could be one of the most important bouts of his career.
Important because Cintron needs an impressive showing to keep himself firstly in the good graces of new promoters Top Rank and secondly relevant full stop at either welterweight or light middleweight.
Cintron’s trainer agrees, and said of the fight in the official press release:
“This is going to be a career-changer, said trainer Ronnie Shields. “It’s either going to change his career for the better, or his career is over. Everything is on the line for Kermit in this fight – everything.”
In his last outing against Carlos Molina, intended to be little more than a tune up and also notably his first for new promoters Top Rank, a sluggish and ring rusty Cintron was outworked en route to losing a ten round decision.
Molina going into the fight had a record of 18-4, and was regarded as an easy opponent by most, although is undoubtedly a lot better than he was given credit for at the time.
Previous to this was a 14 month layoff, which followed Cintron’s technical decision loss to Paul Williams, ended after the pair became entangled and Cintron fell through the ropes, an incident more bizarre than damaging to his career.
Another slip up like the one he had against Molina though, and he could find chances of big fights in the future all but impossible to come by.
Should Cintron win, possible fights against the likes of Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and even Manny Pacquiao are eventual possibilities.
Bob Arum has a host of fighters in and around welterweight in constant need of opponents, the more well known the better. Cintron, despite his recent ups and downs, is still a well known fighter and a decent name for any fighter to have on his record.
A loss tonight though likely means the end of the line for Cintron in terms of world title fights, and would confirm what many suspected after his last outing, that he is either unwilling or unable to fight to the same standard that saw him beat the likes of Alfredo Angulo and gain an admittedly contentious draw against Sergio Martinez.
Jay Woods, Pitt: “Cintron still has power but he looked terrible in his last fight, I can see Smith doing the same as Molina did”
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