Jesus Cuellar says he’s ready for the best featherweights
The featherweight division is as loaded a division as there is in boxing today.
Within the last year, Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicholas Walters and Evgeny Gradovich have emerged as top featherweight titleholders. Hard-hitting veteran Jhonny Gonzalez has a world title belt and is in the mix.
All four beltholders have to look over their shoulders for dangerous contenders like Abners Mares, Marvin Sonsona, Gamalier Rodriguez and Jayson Velez
And then there is Jesus Cuellar. The Argentine fighter has an interim world title belt around his waist, but is not mentioned as often as the aforementioned fighters. When looking at his credentials, it seems as though he belongs with the best fighters in the division.
Cuellar will attempt to close out a successful 2014 campaign on Saturday night when he fights Ruben Tamayo in a 12-round bout at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington. The bout will headline a Goossen Promotions card and will be televised live on Showtime, with the broadcast beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.
The aggressive southpaw owns wins over two former world titleholders this year. He won a 12-round unanimous decision over Rico Ramos on May 2 and scored a spectacular second-round knockout over Juan Manuel Lopez on Sept. 11 in Las Vegas.
He faces a challenge from Tamayo, unbeaten in his last four bouts, including an eight-round majority decision win over Efrain Esquivias on April 25.
“I don’t know a lot about him,” Cuellar told RingTV.com during a workout earlier this week. “I know he has a good record. He has a strong punch and has scored a lot of knockouts. I’m sure he will be prepared to fight.”
Despite modest success in Argentina, Cuellar (25-1, 19 knockouts) decided to travel to the boxing hotbed of Oxnard, California to work with respected trainer Robert Garcia.
The better sparring sessions with other contenders who train at the gym have given Cuellar more confidence and have improved his skill set. Cuellar says it has been a blessing to work with Garcia.
“It has helped me a lot working with Robert and his team,” he said. “I have my family in Argentina, but when I come to Oxnard, it is to work. I like to be very focused against any opponent before my fights and I do that here in Oxnard.
“I came to Oxnard because there are (world) titles and opportunities here (in the United States). I came to prepare with the best trainer. I’m very happy that I came to the United States and I’ve been well-received by people here.”
While the likes of Walters, Gradovich, Gonzalez and Lomachenko have battled for featherweight supremacy, and will likely continue to do so in 2015, they might want to keep their eye on Cuellar. A win over Tamayo could bring about higher-profile fights or even title unification bouts for Cuellar.
“I want to continue winning. I need to get through my fight on Saturday, then enter 2015 waiting for my next opponent,” said Cuellar, who wants to fight top contenders in the 126-pound division in 2015. I need to get over this hurdle this Saturday. I will pass through. I’m prepared”
“I’m prepared against anybody. I want to fight the best. I’m here to fight the best.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter on FSalazarBoxing