Manuel Charr vs. Fres Oquendo targeted for May 4th in Chicago
By Jim Dower: Fres Oquendo’s management surprisingly won the purse bid on Friday with a winning bid of $600,000 for his mandatory title shot against WBA World heavyweight champion Manuel Charr. The fight is expected to take place on May 4th in the 45-year-old Oquendo’s hometown of Chicago, but there’s also a chance that the fight could take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico. That’s where Oquendo was born.
A lot has been made about Charr’s promoter losing the purse bid to Oquendo’s management, but it’s not a big deal. Charr’s promoter Bernd Trendelkamp explains that they had always intended to have the fight with Oquendo take place in the U.S, so it doesn’t matter. The fight will be taking place in the States regardless.
Oquendo will be getting his title shot after waiting 4 years for it following his 12 round majority decision loss to Ruslan Chagaev on July 6, 2014. A rematch with Chagaev failed to happen due to Oquendo suffering an injury. After Oquendo’s injury healed, Chagaev retired from boxing. It’s been a waiting game for Oquendo, who finally will get his chance. Fighting Charr gives Oquendo his best chance of winning a world title, as he’s not considered one of the better heavyweight champions.
The top champions in the division are Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker. Charr is seen as a belt holder only, and not one of the talents. Oquendo has a chance of beating him if he can get to his chin and land a big shot. Charr was knocked out in the 5th round by cruiserweight Mairis Briedis in August 2015. Alexander Povetkin stopped Charr in round 7 in May 2014.
“I know and respect Fres. If I have to beat him in front of his home crowd, then so be it. I hope that many fans will come to support me. It will be a great experience and hopefully an exciting fight,” Charr said.
Charr hasn’t held the World Boxing Association heavyweight title for long. He won the belt on November 25, beating Alexander Ustinov by a 12 round unanimous decision. Ustinov is 41 now, and not quite the same guy that he was 5 years ago. He’s aged and become vulnerable to a fighter that he probably would have beaten in his prime. Charr is only 33, so he’s still relatively young for a heavyweight.
”We always knew that there was a risk we would lose the bid but we had planned to bring Manuel to the States anyways. Now we don’t have to pay for it and promote ourselves so we are very happy with the outcome,” said Charr’s promoter Bernd Trendelkamp.
If Oquendo were younger and more active with his boxing career, he would have a great chance of beating Charr. But the combination of Oquendo’s age and his 4-year layoff, it’s difficult to imagine him winning this fight.
During his prime, Oquendo had wins over Phil Jackson, Bert Cooper, Clifford Etienne, Obed Sullivan, George Arias, David Izon, Javier Mora, Maurice Harris, Elieser Castillo, Bruce Seldon, Derric Rossy and Dominique Alexander.
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