The unbeaten Cuadras is a Teiken promoted fighter who won his world title earlier this year with a technical decision victory over Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Not only did he win the title with a technical decision but he also made his first defense with one, scoring a technical draw with Jose Salgado back in September.
In terms of ability Cuadras is a fighter who appears able to do it all. Early in his career he showed a propensity for fighting off the front foot and finishing off his opponents early on. This saw him ending his first 13 bouts early with an incredibly 7 opening round wins and 11 wins inside 2 rounds. As he's stepped up in class however he's shown other dimensions to his game and against Srisaket in his title winning performance he showed he can box excellently on the back foot using movement, speed and timing. When he does box and move he looks really talented though we do wonder if he can do it for 12 rounds and he did seem to be tiring in the second half against Srisaket, prior to the fight ending cut.
It's fair to say Cuadras appears to have real boxing talent and the 26 year old did show that talent in the amateur ranks where he was a bit of amateur star competing in various international competitions, including the 2007 Pan Am games where he won he gold medal. With that in mind it's clear he can box when he needs to and he can certainly fight when he needs to. The combination of boxing and fighting makes Cuadras a standout fighter in the division though it is admittedly a thin division with only a handful of notable fighters in it.
In Mabait we have a challenger who has not only taken the fight at late notice but also on the back of a loss, in fact he has lost 2 of his last 5 bouts by stoppage. Sadly for Mabait those losses haven't been particularly flattering with the first coming to Marco Demecillo in April 2012, when he was stopped in the 3rd round, whilst the other came this past March to Alejandro Hernandez, when he was stopped in the 5th round. With clear question marks about his chin it wouldn't seem out of the question to see Cuadras jump on him early and try and close the show inside 4 or 5 rounds.
Having said that we do need to accept that Mabait himself has got talent, speed and most notably power. He's a fighter who should make for good fights one way or another with anyone in the division and in his bout with Demecillo he did drop his fellow Filipino in the opening round, he also stopped Johnny Garcia in a round in his first fight outside of the Philippines. In fact it's the power of the "Chavacano Disaster" that makes him an interesting opponent for most in the division and, fighting from the southpaw stance, his power shots all seem to be from his left hand with his jab being somewhat limited.
Aside from/aside from the win over Garcia it's hard to see much that stands out about Mabait's record so far with his next best win being over compatriot Rey Perez almost 4 years ago, and since then Perez has gone 2-2. That's not to say he's not got the potential to beat better fighters it's just that he hasn't beaten better fighters
We suspected that the Jaro fight would have seen Cuadras using his movement to keep Jaro off balance before stepping in for a quick raid and getting away. Against Mabait we're expecting a more aggressive gameplan from Cuadras we we suspect may fight at a higher tempo with the intention of stopping the challenger earlier. Against a tough guy like Jaro we think Cuadras would box smart. Against a foe with questionable punch resistance, like Mabait, we would suspect Cuadras will fight with the intention of impressing the fans and blowing through his challenger quickly. We suspect that the only chance Mabait has is landing a lucky shot on the Mexican or catching him cold early on.
(Image courtesy of notifight.com)