Not that it needed to be said, but “Sucra” Ray Oliveira wanted to say it anyway.
Sucra Ray’s time is over, done with, he told the audience at the Euphoria Lounge in New Bedford last Wednesday after being introduced as the “legendary Sucra Ray Oliveira.” He said he would now prefer that people drop the “Sucra” and just refer to him as Ray Oliveira (Sr.).
“Sucra is history; he had his time. It’s this guy’s time now,” said the elder Oliveira with a nod toward his son, Ray “The Prince” Oliveira Jr., sitting beside him at the head table.
They were at a press conference for the younger Ray Oliveira’s upcoming fight Feb. 23 at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, and Ray Sr. just wanted to keep the focus on his son.
So did Jimmy Burchfield, though the latter apologized in advance to Ray Sr., whom he used to promote, for any future use of “Sucra” as he might find it difficult not to use it.
It was all in fun, of course, and Ray Jr. just smiled through the good-natured banter. He looked comfortable as the honoree of the gathering, along with several other young fighters who will appear on the undercard.
It was the younger Oliveira’s first press conference for his first main event fight. He will take on Edwin Soto of New Haven, Connecticut (11-2-2, 4 KOs) in his first eight-rounder, but he's not the only New Bedford boxer on the card.
There are two others — Wilson Mascarenhas, who is making his pro debut, and Efren Nunez, who is 0-1. Mascarenhas will face Miguel Ortiz of Springfield (2-1), while Nunez, who lost a close decision in his first fight, will have his hands full again against unbeaten Ricky Delossantos of Providence, who is 3-0. Both bouts are four-rounders.
But Oliveira remains the main man and his fight with Soto is pivotal in that the winner will move up another step on the ladder, while the loser goes back to square one.
Which is probably why this press conference had the feel of something big, with a little more urgency than in past fights. Oliveira has been fighting for three years now, so he’s not exactly a novice. He’s 9-1, with two knockouts and is at that point where he can move up to the contender level or drop back to the preliminary fight level.
He’s not yet ready to take on a top contender, but starting with this fight, this year will probably tell us which direction he’s headed. That’s why his father would prefer not to hear “Sucra” any more. Sucra’s time is over. Ray Sr. wants everyone to get behind Ray Oliveira Jr.
“It’s his time now,” repeated Suc — oops, the elder Oliveira.
The co-feature on the card could be an exciting one, bringing together two hard-hitting heavyweights, Juiseppe Cusumano of Carini, Sicily, vs. Fred Latham of Pittsburgh. Cusumano is 13-1, with 11 KOs, while Latham is 9-1-2, with 5 KOs.
Also on the card will be Providence super middleweight Vladine Biosse (15-7-3, 7 KOs), who will face Antowyan Aikens of Atlantic City, New Jersey (11-4-1, 1 KO) in a special bout. A former standout defensive back for the University of Rhode Island football team, Biosse will be making his unprecedented 16th appearance at the Twin River arena.
Other unbeaten fighters on the card are Jamaine Ortiz of Worcester (7-0, 4 KOs), who meets veteran Victor Rosas of Providence via Laredo, Texas (9-7, 3 KOs); Nicky Dequattro of Johnston, R.I. (2-0) vs. Carlos Galindo of Woburn, who is making his pro debut; Anthony Marsella Jr. of Providence (7-0, 4 KOs) vs. TBA, and Michael Valentin of Providence (3-0, 1 KO) vs. TBA.
There will be 10 bouts overall. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the first bout scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $47, $102, $127, and $152, and can be purchased online at www.cesboxing.com, www.twinriver.com, or wwwticketmaster.com, or by phone at 401-724-2253/2254.
Bob Hanna covers boxing for The Standard-Times. Email him at email@example.com