By Lyle Fitzsimmons
It all depends on what you like.
If you’re a fan of arrogant chest-thumpers who aren’t bashful about calling out foes and claiming lofty places on the world stage, you’re probably better off forgetting Daud Yordan.
Because, while the 25-year-old Indonesian surely has the chops to warrant a spot among the world’s best featherweights, it’d be a cold day in hell before he’d say it all himself.
“I like to think I fight like my boxing idol Miguel Cotto, who is a warrior always attacking in the ring and a gentleman outside the ring.
“They are all great fighters and any fighters can win on any given day. I am not an arrogant person. I cannot say I’m the best. All I can do is train as hard as I can and put on the best performance I can and then the fans can judge who is the best.
“There are many great champions, I respect them all.”
Not exactly the stuff of Mayweather and Broner, right?
Yordan joined the championship fraternity himself on May 5 in Singapore, where he rose from a first-round knockdown to score two of his own in the second en route to a quick stoppage of previously unbeaten Lorenzo Villanueva for the vacant IBO title belt at 126 pounds.
It was the 29th win in 31 fights as a pro for the native Indonesian, whose only losses have come via wide decisions to former 122-pound champion Celestino Caballero in 2010, and countryman Chris John – a long-time WBA belt-holder – a year later in 2011.
Yordan dropped eight of 12 rounds on two scorecards against John and nine rounds on the other. He was knocked down once and lost 11 rounds on two cards against Caballero and was shut out on the third.
Villanueva, a 26-year-old Filipino, had won 22 straight fights and scored 21 knockouts before facing Yordan, who turned pro as an 18-year-old and won 25 straight – 19 by stoppage – before his first loss.
“Winning the world title was a dream come true. All my life I wanted to win a world title,” Yordan said.
“The (championship) win was sweeter because I got knocked down in the first round and that was a wakeup call because I knew I trained harder for this fight than any other in my career.
“And to knock out Lorenzo Villanueva in the second round and win the world title like that, it was like I was in a movie.”
Though they share turf in both the 782,000-square-mile island nation and in the featherweight division, the relationship between Yordan and John is neither as contentious nor chilly as one might imagine.
In fact, they also share a promoter – Dragon Fire Championship Boxing – and Yordan’s title win was actually on the undercard of the 32-year-old John’s 15th WBA title defense against Shoji Kimura.
“It was an honor to go 12 close rounds with Chris John. We know each other very well and we are both promoted by Dragon Fire,” Yordan said. “Chris John is a great person and an inspiration to the Indonesian people. He is a national hero.”
The trip for the championship chance was Yordan’s third time in Singapore and eighth time away from home, including a win against Antonio Meza (MD 8, 2008), an aborted match with Robert Guerrero (ND 2, 2009) and the loss to Caballero (UD 12, 2010) in the United States.
He’s also fought in the Philippines and Australia along the way, more evidence of a hard-scrabble approach that’s earned him the nickname “The Stone.” But even in the disappointing days after the losses to the highest-end opponents, he said he never considered changing his career path.
“All you can do is the best in the ring. As a boxer you cannot worry about that sort of thing,” he said. “Boxing is all I know. My whole career, all I think about is train, train, train and one day I can become world champion. Now all I am thinking about is keeping my world title for as long as I can.
“I am very grateful for all the opportunities the IBO has given me. The IBO world featherweight championship belt is very important to me. It’s my life. I will do my best to represent the IBO with the honor and dignity they deserve.”
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This week’s title-fight schedule:
WBA/WBC super middleweight titles – Oakland, Calif.
Andre Ward (WBA/WBC champion) vs. Chad Dawson (unranked at 168)
Ward (25-0, 13 KO): Fifth WBA defense/first WBC defense; No stoppages since 2009 (5-0)
Dawson (31-1, 17 KO): Tenth title fight (8-1); Sixteenth fight below 175 pounds (15-0)
Fitzbitz says: “It’s been six years since Dawson fought at super middle and he’s jumping in with the best in the class, but it’s also precisely the career-definer he’s been searching for.” Dawson by decision
WBC lightweight title – Oakland, Calif.
Antonio DeMarco vs. John Molina (No. 15 contender)
DeMarco (27-2-1, 20 KO): Second title defense; Unbeaten since first title-fight loss (4-0)
Molina (24-1, 19 KO): First title fight; Unbeaten since 2009 (6-0)
Fitzbitz says: “Molina resurrected his career with a come-from-behind upset of Hank Lundy, but the grinding DeMarco should be rough and tough enough over the long haul.” DeMarco by decision
WBC heavyweight title – Moscow, Russia
Vitali Klitschko (champion) vs. Manuel Charr (No. 7 contender)
Klitschko (44-2, 40 KO): Ninth title defense; Went the distance in three of last six wins
Charr (21-0, 11 KO): First title fight; All but one of 21 fights in Germany (20-0)
Fitzbitz says: “Older Klitschko is still No. 2 behind his younger brother, but he’s still more than capable of handling the latest in the series of suspect WBC challengers.” Klitschko in 10
Last week's picks: 2-3
Overall picks record: 329-112 (74.6 percent)
Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.