Saturday, May 22, 2010

Remillard Focused on Remaining Sharp

Connecticut-born Matt "Sharp Shooter" Remillard puts his NABF featherweight title on the line against Carlos Rivera at the Mohegan Sun Casino. The bout is scheduled as an undercard of Saturday's Peter Manfredo-Angel Hernandez main event.

Remillard, 23, carries to the ring a perfect record of 21-0 with 12 knockouts, including two stoppages of previously unbeaten Rafael Lora. In addition to an unblemished record, Remillard has fellow Hartford resident and former light heavyweight contender John "Iceman" Scully in his corner.

"(Remillard) certainly has the ability to step up right now and face some of the top-10 guys in the world," Scully said. "If it was up to Matt, I think he'd be in a fight next time out with a top-10 contender. He really wants to prove himself."

Remillard must first get past Rivera (16-4-2, 5 KOs), an opponent nine years his senior and whose resume includes a win over veteran Johnnie Edwards. Three of Rivera's losses have been by stoppage.

Scully praised Remillard's determination, calling it "incredible." He said his fighter is prepared for the next step toward elite status, starting with his preparation for Rivera.

"(Rivera is) a southpaw, which is eventually a problem for anyone," Scully said, "but Matt is a great, great listener in the gym and really works hard on not just his conditioning but his technique also.

"For this fight, he's really pushed hard to do what he has to do against the southpaw style."

Remillard will enter as the favorite in terms of odds and fan support, and Scully believes his fighter's management will seek a bout against a top-15 opponent within the next few fights. It will come down to boxing politics, Scully said. Promoters, location and judge selection will factor into moving up the rungs of the featherweight division.

Scully believes Remillard is ready for the next step, perhaps against a notable opponent such as perennial championship contender Rocky Juarez, whose name has been mentioned around Remillard's camp.

"(Remillard) has many tools, many weapons that I like to see, especially with his jab and his body punching," Scully said. "But his drive and desire really add fuel to that fire."

Iceman Trainees Cometh: Scully will be a busy man Saturday. Along with training Remillard, he will also tend the corners of two potential prospects.

Junior lightweight Joey "Chip" Perez, a six-time Western New England Golden Gloves champion, looks for his fourth professional win. Perez (3-0, 1 KO) has sparred with Remillard and Hartford fan favorite Mike Oliver in preparation.

"Being able to get sparring with two guys of that caliber has been a huge asset to Joey Perez," Scully said. "He's been 10 rounds on a couple of occasions with Mike-Mike in the gym, and that's been a huge mental boost for him."

Scully said Perez has a crowd-pleasing style since the shorter Perez loves to "brawl and bang."

Also on the undercard is the pro debut of Reinaldo Graceski. The Puerto Rican light heavyweight has also laced up against some of the sports biggest names and biggest punchers in training, including Felix Trinidad and Edison Miranda.

"Ray is a very, very sharp puncher, especially with his right hand and his body shots," Scully said. "I'm working hard with him on maximizing his power, but he's already a sharp hitter."

Read my Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez preview at The Boxing Bulletin.