MIAMI (Dec. 5, 2011) - His boxing education
continues in Miami as undefeated prospect Michael "The Brazilian Rocky"
Oliveira, rated No. 15 by the World Boxing Council ("WBC"), prepares for his
first fight in Canada on December 17 against veteran Jimmy "The Fightin' School
Teacher" Holmes (19-3-2, 10 KOs) in a 10-round Special Middleweight Attraction
at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City.
The 21-year-old Oliveira (16-0, 12 KOs), a native of Brazil, is the reigning WBC
South American middleweight champion. The handsome college student (Florida
International U.) will be working with head trainer Orlando Cuellar for only
their third fight.
Coming off of his victorious ShoBox debut Nov. 11 in El Paso (TX), in which he
defeated veteran Xavier "The X-Man" Tolliver (23-8, 15 KOs) by way of an
eight-round disqualification that was on the brink of knockout, Oliveira will be
fighting Dec. 17 for the second time within five weeks.
"We wanted to put him back in the ring as soon as possible to keep him sharp and
learning as he steps up the ladder of competition," said Cuellar, who is best
known as former world champion Glen Johnson's chief second. "He came out of his
last fight in good shape, no cuts even though he was head-butted a few times, in
what was pretty much a one-sided beating in Michael's favor. He came right back
to the gym a few days after that fight. We all talked - me, Michael and Carlos
(father and promoter Carlos Oliveira) - about fighting again and decided to take
advantage of this opportunity in Quebec City. We're on a roll and, when you're
hot, you're hot.
"In training camp we've continued to pay attention to tightening his defense,
keeping his left up, and threading the needle - timing his punches - to keep
improving as an all-around boxer-puncher. Michael's a very good listener. His
physical conditioning is just as good as it was for his last fight. Another
reason we're able to come right back is he's only 21 and doesn't have any vices.
I've brought in a slew of good sparring partners for him in order to appropriate
adjustments in the ring. Michael's still very much a work in progress. Even
though we have a big fight in May against Acelino Freitas in Brazil, we don't
look past anybody, and always prepare accordingly for each fight."
The 5' 8" Oliveira will be facing a much taller opponent in the 6' 1" Holmes, a
former Indiana State middleweight champion, who will have also have a decisive
"We wanted to fight a guy who can give is work," Cuellar explained the decision
to fight a much taller and experienced Holmes. "Michael's definitely going to
fight taller guys with superior reaches, so why not fight Holmes? We're always
preparing for any style because anything can happen like a much different
opponent could be a last minute replacement for the opponent we've prepared
weeks for. Part of preparing is watching tapes and talking a lot, but
adjustments in and out of the ring are always needed."
Cuellar jokingly said Michael has been attending the Sunshine Boxing College
with classes led by Professor Orlando. "This camp has been a continuation of his
learning process," Cuellar noted. "Michael is being prepared to fight guys who
are tall or short, quick or powerful, movers and shakers, boxers and punchers.
He has to be ready to fight all styles in this diverse sport of boxing.
"For him, boxing is like being a student. Let's compare his learning experience
in boxing, for example, to math. The first quarter may be multiplication, then
division in the next, the third quarter he advances to algebra, and then it's on
to trigonometry. He does his homework, takes some practice tests, and then he's
ready for finals. In math, like boxing, as long as he received the right
information and processes it correctly, he's going to be able to calculate the
problem and get a good grade at the end of the year."
Oliveira got an A in his last test with his next exam Dec. 17 in Quebec City.
Finals are still off in the future, possibly in May against Freitas, along with
graduate school course before Oliveira, a physical therapy major, is ready for
his doctorate work against world-class opponents. In reality, experiencing only
two amateur fights, Oliveria's boxing education has just started.