By Ben Jacobs
Perhaps in the best form of his career, Jesús Cuellar (27-1, 21 KOs) is one of the leading lights in Argentine boxing following the retirement of Sergio Martínez, the uncertainty surrounding Marcos Maidana’s future and the recent upset loss suffered by Lucas Matthysse against Viktor Postol. Currently the WBA featherweight champion, Cuellar is now set to make the next defence of his title on December 5 against Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Oquendo. Now living as well as training in the United States, Cuellar told BoxingScene.com that the move from Argentina was fundamental to his success.
“I’m living in Los Angeles, training in Marina del Rey with Donald Leary and Juan Ledesma,” he explained.
“For this fight I won’t be training with Robert García, he has a lot of boxers and he’s training in Riverside. It’s a long trip from Los Angeles!”
Some observers in Argentina believe that Cuellar’s compatriot, Lucas Matthysse, has suffered from training solely in Argentina for his fights. Jesús is of the view that with the better sparring in the US it can only be beneficial to base himself there, as his recent form would seem to suggest.
“Lucas comes to the US for his last bit of training and he says it is sufficient. From my point of view, I don’t see it like that. I train all the year in the US. I feel really good surrounded by the people that are here, but I can’t say how Lucas feels. I’m able to train well here, concentrate well and the only thing I have to think about is the training side of things.”
Cuellar may also have one eye on another title fight in his division between WBC champion Gary Russell Jr and the only man to have defeated him, Colombia’s Óscar Escandón, a fight which takes place on November 14.
“Russell is very good, a very good boxer,” he affirmed.
“Escandón is strong but Russell is going to win. If Escandón did win, well, I’ve discussed it a bit with my advisor Sebastian Contursi. A rematch would be another story. I fought him at super bantamweight before. As a matter of fact, we’re going to have two more fights and then move up in weight class. I love training and everything but it is hard making the weight. I’ve been fighting at this weight for a long time now.”