By Daniel Leal
Former four-time world champion and Brazilian idol, Acelino “Popo” Freitas, is coming back for what he promises to be his last fight.
At 42 years old, Freitas (40-2, 34 KO's) was not supposed to return after his last fight on August 2015, when he knocked out Argentinean Mateo Veron in only three rounds.
But Freitas, like many other boxers through history, had a problem with retirement, specially in keeping it that way. On November 11th, the hard-hitter from Salvador, Bahia, will be fighting on Belem, Para, against Mexican Gabriel “El Rey” Martinez (29-10-1, 16 KO's), a fight that he's been, once again, affirming will be his last one.
Martinez is inactive since March 2015, when he defeated Manuel Valenzuela with a fourth round KO. Although being only 30 years olds, “El Rey” should not represent that much of a deal for Freitas, in a super welterweight bout - his third in this division.
The Mexican boxer has some quality opponents on his resume, such as Mike Alvarado, Jesus Soto Karass and a young and undefeated Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, back in 2008, but struggled to get anything out of those, losing them all.
Acelino, in the other hand, is a four-time world champion, becoming WBO super-featherweight king in 1999, then unifying the WBA title when he defeated Joel Casamayor, in 2002. Two years later he moved-up to grab the WBO lightweight title against Arthur Grigorian, only to lose it seven months later to the late Diego “Chico” Corrales. The Brazilian idol got back on track and once again conquered the World Boxing Organization belt via split-decision against Zahir Raheem, in 2006.
By that time he announced his first retirement, which lasted only some months until the agreement to face the WBA champ, Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz. Just as in the Corrales fight, Freitas quit, this time in the 8th round, and retired again right after.
In 2012, Michael Oliveira, a Miami-based Brazilian, was a rising TV star, and challenged “Popo” to come back. He did, and took out the invincibility from Oliveira after knocking him out in the 9th round. Soon after the fight, Freitas was speculated to make a rematch that never happened. He was a politician on occasion too, and tried to challenge Manny Pacquiao, in a “battle of congressman against congressman” by social media - a fight that had almost zero chance of happening, and, as you may know, never did.
Three years later, Acelino declared that he wanted to take another run for a fifth world title, starting with Veron, as mentioned. After beating his opponent, however, Freitas wasn't able to get sponsorship for his planned shows and retired again.