Another retired star of the early aughts is making a comeback.
Former two-division world champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas (41-2, 34 KOs) will be making a comeback at the age of 47 when he takes on MMA fighter Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons (29-16, 19 KO) on Sept. 25 in his home country of Brazil.
The professional boxing match will serve as the co-featured attraction to Cris Cyborg’s pro boxing debut against Simone Silva, Cyborg announced on her website.
Freitas – arguably Brazil’s most renowned boxing champion – last fought professionally in 2017 and has fought just three times since losing to Juan Diaz in 2007.
During his heyday, Freitas was a fierce and popular fighter who handed Joel Casamayor his first professional loss in 2002. Freitas turned pro in 1995 and kicked off his career with 29 consecutive KOs.
Freitas first became a world champion in 1999 when he beat Anatoly Alexandrov for a super featherweight title. He defended the title six times and would also become a unified champion at 130-pound champion when he beat Casamayor.
Freitas became a lightweight champion in 2004 when he beat Artur Grigorian, but he failed to defend the title, as he suffered a 10th-round TKO to Diego Corrales the same year.
Freitas climbed up the ladder once again and became a lightweight world champion when he scored a split decision win against Zahir Raheem in 2006.
In retirement, Freitas also got into politics over the last decade as a legislator in Brazil.
Freitas made his debut on the International Boxing Hall of Fame Ballot last year but was not inducted.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.