By Jake Donovan
Claudio Marrero is preparing for a war when he faces Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar on August 23 at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York. The bout – for an interim featherweight title - is part of the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights season finale, as well as the promotional debut of former heavyweight king Mike Tyson, under his Iron Mike Productions banner.
Headlining the show is Argenis Mendez – Marrero’s countryman and stablemate – in the first defense of his 130 lb. belt as he faces Arash Usmanee.
Marrero has dialed it up in recent sparring sessions. The unbeaten Dominican star is training with Amos Cowart (7-0, 5KO) and Richie Burgos (making his pro debut), both of whom are managed by Orlando-based manager and trainer Roy Cruz.
“These are the kind of sparring partners that I need,” Marrero (14-0, 11KO) said of the duo. “They are young, strong fighters, and Cowart is a southpaw like Cuellar. We are going to New York, prepared for a war.
“We know that Cuellar is coming in hungry, and we are ready to deliver the fans a great fight. On August 23, I am ready to bring it to Cuellar, with a win as my main objective.”
Marrero hasn’t fought since scoring a 4th round stoppage win over Mauricio Martinez last November. Talks were in place to have faced Nicholas Walters earlier this year, but failed to materialize.
As a result, the rising contender and his handlers made sure to lay out plans for a grueling yet effective training camp, shaking loose all ring rust and entering the ring combat ready.
"Beginning today, we are entering the last stage for the fight against Jesús Cuellar,” trainer Herman Caicedo revealed Thursday afternoon. “Micky Ward, Claudio Lamothe the entire team and I have completed the more difficult part of training camp segment. We are going to New York prepared to win, or die trying. It is our job to get (Marrero) in the best physical condition to achieve that goal of becoming a world champion.”
The expected result is a co-feature that leaves all fans satisfied, even before the first bell sounds to an already anticipated title fight in the main event. The combination would make a proud moment for the event’s handlers, especially given the occasion.
"This will be a war in which two brave fighters compete for a world title,” insists Henry Rivalta, COO of Iron Mike Productions. “Jesús Cuéllar is a powerful puncher and his record shows it. Marrero is a skilled fighter that also has the explosive power to finish the fight by knockout.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox