We are now just a few days away from the return of boxing in both Japan and Thailand as Asia begins to gear up towards the sport taking off once again. Despite that we will be continuing to looks at fights we could have had with another article in the "Fight we wish we had..." series. This time we're looking relatively recent history with a bout that would have been great to watch around a decade ago, and had the ingredients to be a real FOTY contender between two little guys who always came to fight.
Denver Cuello Vs Pornsawan Porpramook
The Minimumweight division hasn't had many fights that have managed to create talking points among the wider boxing fan base. Despite that the division has always had the potential to give us something special. One man who was involved in two of the best Minimumweight fights of the 21st century was Pornsawan Porpramook, who's wars with Akira Yaegashi and Ryo Miyazaki were amazing. Likewise we don't get too many little men known for their thunderous power, and heavy hands, however Denver Cuello was certainly a big punching monster in the smallest division. Put them together and we would have had something spectacular.
The window for this particular fight is a rather large one, with both men being in and around the world title mix for several years. Pornsawan had his first world title fight in 2007, losing to Donnie Neites, winning a belt in 2011 and having his final fight coming in 2013. On the other hand Cuello was knocking on the door from around 2009 with his sole would title fight coming in 2013. The reality however is that these two could just have easily have met in an eliminator during that time. So any time, really, from 2007 to 2013 would have been great for this.
Despite the big window of opportunity the bout would likely have been at it's most notable in 2011, when Pornsawan won the WBA title. Sadly however that optimum window closed quickly with Pornsawan losing the belt in his first defense to Akira Yaegashi. With that in mind maybe 2012 would have been ideal.
Denver "The Excitement" Cuello was one of the most must watch fighters to compete at 105lbs. He was a strong, powerful southpaw, who loved to let his shots fly. He didn't have the most polished of styles but did have rocks for hands, an aggressive mentality, a solid shin and a willingness to take one to land one. His fights could get sloppy at times, but they were rarely dull with the Filipino knowing that he had to put on a show to get attention. He was all about power, aggression, toughness and intensity in the exchanges.
Sadly Cuello, who was a top contender with the WBC for years, struggled to get his shot at the world title, being over-looked by the WBC for Xiong Zhao Zhong, who managed to have the WBC help him out in the hope of getting a foot hold in the Chinese market. When Cuello did get his shot, in June 2013, he seemed to be carrying an injury into the bout that was then massively worsened during the contest, forcing him to fight much of the contest 1-handed.
Pornsawan Porpramook, known as "The Tank", was a high energy tough guy who applied constant pressure and looked to make every bout into a war. He's best known for his battles with Yaegashi and Miyazaki, two brilliant wars, but showed he was world class with his bouts against Sonny Boy Jaro, Donnie Neites, Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Muhammad Rachman. He was never the best Minimumweight in the world but was one of the world level guys who always made for fun fights, and his style, when matched with the right guys, was capable of making Fight of the Year contenders.
Whilst Pornsawan's two most memorable bouts are losses he was a world class fighter and did claim the WBA title with a win over Muhammad Rachman in Indonesia. His pressure, aggression and work rate was a nightmare, though his footwork was slow and opponents could make him chase them, leaving him open to counters.
How would we see it playing out?
Whilst he wasn't a very polished fighter Pornsawan was tough. He was stopped twice in his career, once at Minimumweight against Akira Yaegashi, and once against Edgar Sosa at Light Flyweight. His pressure and aggression would see him looking to charge down the Filipino pressing the fight hard and looking to get inside. Although he was rather basic and his game plan wasn't complicated it was a tactic he used and he knew how to make it work for him. He chipped away at opponents with work rate and aggression, but lacked single punch power.
Sadly for Pornsawan the one fighter that type of tactic was unlikely to work well against was Cuello. Walking to Cuello and looking to have a fight with him was never a good idea. Cuello's thunderous power was not something you wanted to walk on to and it was the type of power that would break down fighters.
We suspect that Pornsawan would outwork Cuello on a round by round basis, but the quality and power would be with the Thai who would be slowly breaking down the Thai, before backing him up. By the middle rounds Pornsawan would be boxing off the back foot and would eventually succumbing to the power of the Filipino.
Up to the stoppage this would have been sensational and one of the best fights of the era at the weight. A total, brutal, high octane war.
Would history of been changed?
Obviously things for both men would have been different, though it really depends on when this bout took place as to how much different things would have been. Had the bout come as an eliminator after Pornsawan lost the WBA title we may have ended up with a WBA title bout between Cuello and Ryo Miyazaki in 2012, and boy would that have been a great one, and missed out on Zhong's win over Cuello. The reality however is that it seems any changes to history would have been short lived.
Pornsawan retired after a loss to Rey Loreto in 2013, and we suspect that he would never have had a career much longer thab that. As for Cuellom who actually fought last year, he had mounting injuries. By 2012/2013 his days as a top fighter were ticking away. Repeated shoulder injuries were taking away from what he was and even if he had avoided the Xiong bout he was never going to be a top tier fighter for long due to his injuries.
There's a chance Cuello could have won a world title on the back of this bout, but any reign he would have had would have been very short lived, sadly.
Whilst we would have loved to have seen this, and to have seen Cuello against Miyazaki, the reality is that we ended up with Pornsawan Vs Miyazaki and Pornsawan Vs Loreto, and we would likely have missed both of those had we had this clash.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces