Myth or urban legend says that everyone has a doppelganger in the world. Marcus Oliveira wants to rub out his identical, man to man like a prizefighter.
“I’m tired of everybody confusing me and him,” says Native American prizefighter Oliveira. “Someone’s O has got to go.”
Welcome to light heavyweight contender Oliveira’s world, where he has a number of targets on his hit list. Doppelgangers beware, especially the other Marcus Oliveira who happens to be a Brazilian prizefighter with an almost identical record of 23 wins, with one loss and one draw.
That’s truly bizarre.
A few weeks ago Oliveira (24-0-1, 19 KOs) made a foray into Venezuela on a Don King Production fight card and promptly and emphatically knocked out Ricky Torrez in 2:41 of the first round. Torrez fights out of Bolivia and discovered the South American home continent advantage was no advantage at all.
Oliveira, 33, doesn’t have all the time in the world and targets the current IBF light heavyweight champ Tavoris Cloud. It’s a good target. Cloud also is promoted by Don King Productions.
“Everybody is scared of Tavoris Cloud, but I’m not,” says Oliveira, who fights out of Potawatomi Reservation in Mayetta, Kansas and formerly lived in Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin.
As a youth he watched his uncles lace up the boxing gloves and quickly gained interest in the sport. At just seven years old Oliveira was hooked on amateur boxing and enjoyed traveling to the different tournaments. But, like most boxers, he hit a rut and stopped boxing for a while.
“There was short period when as an amateur, I did quit for a few years, but when I found a trainer I started back up,” said Oliveira, who had more than 200 amateur fights. “As a professional, there has not been a time when I wanted to quit.”
Underground Boxing Company
Erik Riley trains Oliveira and Doug Ward assists in propelling the light heavyweight slugger into the proper firing lanes. So far, after six years, Team Oliveira has run a successful undefeated string that has the Midwest prizefighter among the top 10 light heavyweights in the country.
Ward, who also helped launch female star Melinda Cooper into the upper stratosphere of women’s prizefighting, was introduced to Oliveira by Riley. The common thread was Las Vegas boxer Cooper.
“Erik Riley had followed female boxing, liked Melinda and was impressed with her progression in the sport,” recounts Ward, whose Underground Boxing Company works with Oliveira and Cooper. “So he approached me about managing Marcus, asked if I'd take a look at him to see if I was interested. That was the start.”
Despite fighting out of the Midwest the light heavyweight has blazed through a number of names, like Antwun Echols, Otis Griffin and Rayco Saunders. If you have a soft spot, those guys will find it in a hurry. But his toughest fight was none of the above, but a guy named Mike Word.
“There was a point in my career where I was hurting for money so I donated plasma and I had a fight the next day against Mike Word,” said Oliveira. “I was extremely tired and exhausted from donating the plasma and had no energy to fight.”
The Kansas-based fighter has managed to keep optimum energy for his ultimate goal of winning a world title. Of course, there are a few drawbacks in fighting out of Kansas instead of boxing flooded areas such as the West Coast and East Coast.
“Having no wide variety of quality sparring is a definite disadvantage and there's no real upside to that, but you learn to make-do with what you have, be resourceful, push yourself extra hard in training and learn to rise to the occasion,” says Ward, whose son also boxes. “It's something we will have to address when we get “the call” for that fight.”
The closest Oliveira has come to tasting defeat came in 2008 against Nick Cook. It ended in a draw after 10 rounds.
“My first close fight was with Nick Cook and the only reason it was close and declared a draw was because in round 5 I broke my hand, so I had to fight the rest of my 10 round fight just jabbing and hooking,” said Oliveira, who admires boxer Juan Manuel Marquez. “I knew that I still won the fight but was a little disappointed in the decision of a draw.”
Still, the Kansas fighter likes to bring the heat whenever he fights.
“I am a huge fan of boxing, and I hate watching boring fights, so when I get into the ring I try to make the fight exciting for the fans,” he says.
Venezuelan fight fans saw exactly how exciting Oliveira can be when he dropped Torrez three times in winning by decisive knockout. That win earned him the WBA Fedebol belt and yanks the spotlight into his direction.
“My ultimate goal is to be able to showcase my talent to my fans, boxing community and basically the general public,” said Oliveira. “I want Tavoris Cloud and Marcus Oliveira from Brazil.”
Of all the boxing rings and boxers in the world, why did a guy with the same name have to fight in the same weight division?
It truly is bizarre.
“Get me a fight with Tavoris Cloud or Marcus Oliveira from Brazil,” says “The Real” Oliveira emphatically.
Truth can sometimes be strange, isn’t that so Don King?