Cuenca aims to emulate Mayweather, thwart Yang
The similarity between Cesar Rene Cuenca and Floyd Mayweather is not immediately apparent. The bling and gaudy high life of Mayweather’s Las Vegas and the humble San Miguel neighbourhood of Buenos Aires where Cuenca resides might as well be on different planets. Yet despite an obvious gulf in talent and celebrity this most unlikely duo have both mastered the art of winning.
The unsung Cuenca will match Mayweather’s fêted 48-0 should he dash the hopes of Chinese hero Ik Yang in their vacant IBF 140lbs title fight in Macao on Saturday - though it’s unlikely that any chants of ‘TBE’ will ring out across the Cotai Arena.
When Cuenca worked out at the Venetian Casino gym on Tuesday evening there was no baying entourage to backslap and tickle his ego, just bespectacled trainer Mario Tedesco and a trespassing singer from the Beauty and the Beast stage show trying to hit a high note. Cuenca took one bemused look at the intruder in the hairnet and white toweling robe and resumed hitting the pads.
Back in his homeland, Cuenca’s long 47-0 (2KOs) winning streak has caused less of a furore and the southpaw has toiled in the shadows while negotiating 376 professional rounds (one more than Mayweather).
“Like Floyd Mayweather, I am also close to the record [Rocky Marciano’s elusive 49-0] though the difference is in Argentina boxing is not supported that well,” Cuenca told Boxing Monthly through a translator after his workout. “In America, there is a lot of press and media and more support of boxing, more big sponsors. In Argentina, it’s not in the spotlight. Maybe in the future I think more about breaking the record, but first I have this opportunity.”
The fight with the uncompromising Yang, 19-0 (14 KOs), will be Cuenca’s first outside his home country though he cut a relaxed, if solitary, figure as he went through his final preparations in the Venetian’s basement gym.
“The only problem was the long trip, but I am happy because I have been waiting for this opportunity for three years. I am ready,” said the 34-year-old Cuenca, who saw a fight with Juan Manuel Marquez fall through in March 2012 and previously helped Marcos Maidana prepare for his bout with Victor Ortiz in June 2009.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to go home with the title. I believe if I bring the IBF belt home to Argentina it will open a lot of doors for my career. I am not a puncher so to get this opportunity was not very easy. I am not a knockout guy, but I still made it to this level.”
An awkward southpaw with good movement, the Argentine’s plan will be to play the matador to the bull-like rushes of Yang. “I am not worried about knockouts,” said Cuenca, alluding to his paucity of stoppages. “I have been in with very tough fighters and I am still undefeated. I have only seen two rounds of Yang on video. I don’t like to see my opponents before a fight. I leave that to Mario. I figure it out in the ring.
“My attitude and style is hit and not be hit. My plan is to impress the judges. I have faith in my fight and faith in god and will see what happens.”
Victory at the Venetian will be broadcast live on BoxNation in the UK from 1.30pm.
Yang-Cuenca will be streamed live in the US on Toprank.tv from 6am ET with most of the undercard.
The Nonito Donaire and Jose Ramírez fights will be televised to the U.S, via same-day delay, on Solo Boxeo Tecate on UniMás, beginning at 11pm ET/PT.