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Emanuel Steward: Cintron Capable of Beating Pacquiao


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Emanuel Steward: Cintron Capable of Beating Pacquiao


By Chris Robinson


On Thursday, news broke that former welterweight champion Kermit Cintron has officially inked a deal with Bob Arum's Top Rank promotions. The signing is very significant, as Top Rank has a seemingly endless list of foes that Cintron could be facing, as he has migrated between 147 and 154 pounds in recent years.


Oddly enough, I was planning on giving Cintron's ex-trainer Emanuel Steward a call and upon hearing word of Top Rank's latest move I instantly knew what our conversation was going to revolve around. Steward trained Cintron for a short but memorable period starting with his April 2006 10th round TKO over David Estrada and the Kronk trainer gushed when looking back at his time with the Puerto Rican star.


"Having managed and trained him, he's one of the best, maybe the best, all-around athletes that I have ever been involved with," said Steward of Cintron. "Phenomenal at everything he did. Bowling, basketball, boxing, track, whatever. Just an all-around athlete. One of the best punchers I have worked with."


Steward wasn't in Cintron's corner for his April 2008 loss to Antonio Margarito in Atlantic City and the fighter seemed to realize that a change was in order, later adding trainer Ronnie Shields to his team. Steward was sure to point out that there were no hard feelings that came from the split, however.


"He went to work with Ronnie and we just left it at that. We still talk to each other all the time, regularly," added Steward of his relationship with Cintron.


My colleague Michael Marley reached out to Bob Arum and was told that Cintron is indeed being looked at as a possible foe for WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao down the road. Pacquiao has a May 7th assignment with Shane Mosley to take care of inside of the MGM Grand first, but it's not too far of a stretch to envision Cintron in the ring with him later this year.


I asked Steward about that matchup and his response surprised me.


"There's a good chance he could beat Pacquiao," Steward said slyly. "He has the size, natural skill, and unbelievable punching power."


There also appears to be another option for Cintron, as he could be in line to face the winner of the forthcoming rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, now slated for September in Las Vegas. A fight with Margarito would give Cintron the chance to avoid the only two TKO losses on his ledger while a Cotto encounter would pit two of Puerto Rico's most offensively skilled assassins against one another.



Steward has been working with Cotto since his July victory over Yuri Foreman inside of Yankee Stadium and seems puzzled as to how his charge would size up against Cintron.


"I don't know how we would go about beating Kermit," Steward said candidly. "I would say this; Kermit Cintron is going to be a tough fight for anybody. I don't care if it's another fight with Margarito or with Miguel, and also with Pacquiao."


But in boxing you never want to count your eggs before they are hatched and Steward realizes that several question marks still hover around a second Cotto-Margarito fight. In July of 2008 Cotto would suffer the first loss of his career when a surging Margarito turned the tide of their fight and dominated him over the second half of the tilt, eventually scoring an 11th round TKO.


Margarito's career has since been a rollercoaster ride as he was later suspended for a year after being caught with tampered hand wraps prior to his loss to Shane Mosley and subsequently chastised by the boxing world. Margarito would return to center stage last November and despite being thoroughly trounced over twelve one-sided rounds by Pacquiao, Steward still sees him as a formidable threat for Cotto.


"It's going to be a tough fight," Steward said of the rematch. "The guy had trouble with Pacquiao because he gets in and out better than anybody so he neutralizes his size disadvantages because he moves unbelievably and gives angles. Miguel is a good puncher but because of Margarito's size and ability to apply pressure and take a punch, it's a tough fight."


From just a five-minute conversation with Steward you can already sense all the possibilities for Cintron. Top Rank president Todd Duboef confirmed that he would be announcing the fighter's next fight shortly and don't be surprised to see him pop up on the July 9th undercard of Brandon Rios' first defense of his WBA lightweight title.


Steward's next venture will mark his first fight with former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, who faces off with Adrian Diaconu on the May 21st Bernard Hopkins-Jean Pascal rematch in Quebec, Canada. While Steward is away from Dawson at the moment tending to his HBO duties covering this weekend's Andre Berto-Victor Ortiz title fight in Connecticut, he doesn't seem to have any worries about Dawson's focus.


"I'm at the Foxwoods Casino right now. But he's been training every day. That's all I can say."




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