From the time he turned pro in 2008 until he started fighting in the United States in 2013, Jesus Cuellar fought, with one exception, entirely in Argentina.
So it was a big deal when he won the Argentina (FAB) title in 2012. From there, he was off to the races with his Greatest Hits. He’ll look to add one more to the collection when he takes on veteran southpaw Vic Darchinyan on Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, live on NBCSN (4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT).
3 vs. Ramon Armando Torres, April 16, 2011, at Centro Recreativo Municipal Néstor Carlos Kirchner in Buenos Aires, Argentina
When his time finally came, Cuellar was ready.
Fighting in his home city of Buenos Aires, Cuellar had an even bigger home-court advantage over Ramon Torres with the FAB’s 126-pound title on the line.
“It was my own gym,” he said. “It was a great feeling winning the title there in my hometown.”
It must have felt even better to send Torres to the canvas early, dropping him in the second round, and again in the fourth with a right cross to the head that finished the job.
2 vs. Claudio Marrero, August 23, 2013, at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York
Western New York is worlds away from Argentina, and it must have felt like it for Cuellar’s first fight in the United States. Still, he did what he needed to do, including notching a sixth-round knockdown against Marrero en route to winning a unanimous decision.
“We trained hard for that fight,” Cuellar said. “We knew he was going to be a very tough fighter.”
That training came courtesy of Robert Garcia, whom Cuellar joined up with prior to the fight. The move was a fortuitous one. Cuellar is unbeaten in America, including a nasty early knockout of No. 1 on his list.
1 vs. Juan Manuel Lopez, September 11, 2014, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas
It wasn’t exactly blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, but more get-up-for-a-beer-from-the-fridge-and-you’ll-miss-it. Whatever you want to call it, Cuellar positively punished Lopez in their meeting last year in Las Vegas, landing flush a left, a right, another left and, for good measure, a grazing right as Lopez was falling to the canvas.
“The knockout came out quick because in training camp we worked very hard on patience and not falling into a trap,” Cuellar says. “When the opportunity presented itself, I took the shot. I was very strong for that fight. Now, I’m even stronger and quicker for this fight.”
Which is good news for Cuellar, but it could be very, very bad news for Vic Darchinyan.