Macau: Undefeated "Ik" Yang Lian Hui will on Saturday seek to become only the second Chinese fighter to win a professional world title but to do it will need to prevent Cesar Cuenca`s march into the record books.
The unheralded Argentine light welterweight has built up a record of 47 wins and no defeats in his home country over a career spanning 13 years.
That puts the number one rated International Boxing Federation contender just one win behind Floyd Mayweather and two off Rocky Marciano`s all-time 49-0 record in the pantheon of the world`s undefeated fighters.
But against him being mentioned in the same breath as those two ring greats is the fact he has only four times gone the championship distance of 12 rounds and has just two knockouts on his resume.
Saturday will be the first time the man from Chaco, north-eastern Argentina, has fought outside of his home country and he will be up against a knockout specialist in Yang when they face off for the vacant IBF junior welterweight world title at Macau`s Cotai Arena.
The explosive puncher from the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian has stopped his opponents 13 times in an 18-fight undefeated career and battered the seasoned Thai Patomsuk Pathompothong (30-3) in a six-round knockout on his last appearance at the same Macau venue in March.
Cuenca (47-0, 2 KOs) is undaunted by Yang and says he deserves to be ranked with the greats, despite detractors saying he lacks the power to knock out his opponents.
"No one ever did me any favours. I earned my number one rating by beating everyone who has been put in front of me," the 34-year-old Cuenca said.
"Lots of fighters claim they train to go the distance but I really do. Yang is going to be in very deep and very uncharted waters."
He confidently added that people should be comparing him with Mayweather, who beat another Freddie Roach-trained fighter Manny Pacquiao on points in May in the richest fight in boxing history."I am more Mayweather than Marciano," said Cuenca. "Mayweather has had only two knockout victories over the past 10 years. He fights his fight and he fights to win. That is my philosophy too."
Roach will be absent from Yang`s corner Saturday, a long-standing back problem that needs surgery preventing the Hall of Fame trainer making the long trip from Los Angeles to the southern Chinese city.
Filling in for Roach will be Australian Justin Fortune -- a former heavyweight who once lasted five rounds against the great Lennox Lewis -- and he was quick to dismiss Cuenca`s chances.
"Only two KOs in 47 fights? Let`s face it this guy couldn`t break an egg," Fortune told AFP.
Yang said he wanted to win the belt for Roach.
"I am sad he cannot be with me now," Yang said. "I want to honour him with this fight. I can`t wait to see the look on Freddie`s face when I walk into his gym with the belt."
Victory for Yang will make him just the second Chinese fighter to win a professional world title and the first in a major weight category.
China`s Xiong Zhaozhong currently holds the little-recognised WBC minimum weight (105lb, 48kg) belt.
Former five-division world champion Nonito Donaire (34-3, 22 KOs) from the Philippines and 2012 US Olympian and undefeated super lightweight prospect Jose Ramirez (14-0, 11 KOs) feature in the standout bouts on Saturday`s undercard.
"Filipino Flash" Donaire, looking to get back on the world title trail after losing belts in the last two years to the great Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba and Jamaica`s Nicholas Walters, takes on France`s Anthony Settoul (20-3, 8 KOs) in a 10-round super bantamweight bout.
Ramirez will fight an eight-round super lightweight contest against Japan`s Ryusei Yoshida (26-7, 13 KOs).