- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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On June 2, former lightweight and unified junior lightweight titleholder Acelino "Popo" Freitas ended a retirement of more than five years to face undefeated Brazilian countryman Michael Oliveira, who had relentlessly called out Freitas, almost in an insulting manner.
Freitas, 36, a major star in Brazil and now a congressman there, ignored Oliveira at first but eventually took the bait -- even though he hadn't fought since being stopped by Juan Diaz in a lightweight title unification bout in April 2007.
Freitas fought Oliveira, 22, and looked terrific. Fighting as a junior middleweight, well above where he had previously fought, Freitas turned back the clock. He looked like he did in his prime as he battered Oliveira and drilled him in the ninth round.
It was a glorious victory and (seemingly) a one-and-done for Freitas (39-2, 33 KOs), who planned to return to retirement and his job in congress.
But at a recent media event in Brazil, Freitas said he would consider one more fight: a showdown with Manny Pacquiao, who is also a congressman, in the Philippines.
Talk about a political battle.
"I promised my son that I would make a last fight, and I did the last fight [against Oliveira]," Freitas, in translated comments, told media at the event. "Now I promised him I will never fight again. The only exception is a bout for the belt, [but] I would like to fight Manny Pacquiao. I had some of the best fights of my career against left-handed guys.
"They are hard to knock out, and I never got a KO victory over a left-handed guy, but I know how to fight them, how to behave in front of them and avoid their strikes. With Pacquiao, it's simple: He never fought a guy that hits and steps back like I do. He is the only reason I'd fight again."