Archive for March 29, 2012

Hank Lundy-Dannie Williams Preview

Hank Lundy vs. Dannie Williams

(NABF Lightweight Title)

12 Rounds, Mashantucket, CT, March 30, 2012 (ESPN2)

Philadelphia’s Hammerin’ Hank Lundy returns to Friday Night Fights this weekend with the hopes of defending his NABF title for the second time, against the hard punching St. Louis native Dannie Williams.  Hank Lundy, 21-1-1 with 11 knockouts, is currently rated #7 by boxrec.com, and he has won three fights in a row, including an impressive stoppage of David Diaz in his most recent outing.  In that fight Lundy got off the deck and proceeded to dispose of the veteran Diaz in convincing fashion, proving that his boisterous attitude is not the only article of interest in his repertoire.  The guy can talk a good game, but he is equally good at following through inside the ropes.  In this fight, he faces a very “dangerous” puncher in Dannie Williams, who is 21-1 with 17 knockouts and currently rated #41 by boxrec.com.  He has won nine fights in a row since dropping a unanimous decision to Eloy Perez in September of 2009, including seven wins inside the distance.  Williams is an explosive fighter who packs a lot of excitement in his right hand, and given the temperament of Lundy and the boxer versus puncher matchup that is present here, the action in this fight is guaranteed; but don’t take my word for it, let Lundy express in his own words, why it is imperative that you tune in to this week’s installment of Friday Night Fights.“I’m the guy everybody wants to see.  Hammerin’ Hank and TV-that goes together.  A guy like me needs to be in the spotlight.”  Well, he’s got my attention.               

Henry Lundy

21-1-1 (11)

 

Dannie Williams

21-1 (17)

B

Opposition & Experience

C

B+

Punch Output

B-

B+

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

B

B

Aggression

B

C

Power

A

A

Hand Speed

A

B+

Defense

B

C+

Chin

B+

B

Conditioning

B

B

Punch Accuracy

B+

The Break Down

Hank Lundy is a very slick and talented southpaw that knows how to box, bang, slip and slide.  He can work you over from distance, and he can mix it on the inside as well.  He is the more experienced fighter coming into this contest (having beaten David Diaz, Patrick Lopez and Richard Abril), and he is well versed in the rudiments of boxing and defense.  If he stays active, and does not get careless he is difficult to beat on the scorecards.

The good news for Dannie Williams is that he is an excellent puncher with comparable hand speed and power.  His one-punch knockout of Antonio Cervantes was one of the most brutal KO’s of 2011, and should serve as a reminder to Lundy to remain focused on the task at hand.  After all, he was knocked down by Abril and Diaz, and knocked out by John Molina just four fights ago, so his “whisker confidence” should be trending downwards.     

Here is the clip of Williams’ sensational knockout for those that would like a refresher:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piZAgNmd3Es

Lundy may have the higher work rate, but Williams is a very patient and accurate counter puncher with excellent reflexes and a pretty good defense of his own.  If he can press the action, shoot straighter shots, and not allow Lundy to dictate the pace of the fight, then he has a good chance of pulling the upset.  All it takes is another perfectly timed right hand.

Conclusion

Lundy is a talented boxer, but he has a tendency to get “cute” at times, playing and taunting his opponents, and letting his emotions get the best of him.  He is capable of putting on a clinic and winning this thing comfortably by decision, but his vulnerabilities in the chin department make the prediction a little more complicated.  Lundy is a good offensive fighter, but his defense gets loose when he opens up on offense, and if John Molina was capable of capitalizing on his openings than it is very plausible to think that Dannie Williams might have similar success.       

This is a tough one to call.  I either think Lundy will win in a decision, or Williams will win by KO.  Lundy has the experience, the boxing ability, defense, and activity necessary to win, but Williams counters that with sharp counter punching and a heavy hand.  If he catches Lundy just right its lights out. 

Unfortunately, for Williams’ sake, I think Lundy will be just a tad too crafty and too busy offensively, throwing combinations and moving away before Williams can set up his power shots, and in the end, this thrilling, action packed night of boxing will culminate with Lundy as the clear winner.     

(Lundy by unanimous decision)

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Fight Predictions for March 25 to March 31

Fight Predictions for March 25 to March 31

Date and Time (EST)

Event

Channel

Mar 27, 2012

Suriyan Sor Rungvisai vs. Yota Sato (WBC Jr. Bantamweight Title)

Tokyo

Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, the current WBC titlist, and the #1 junior bantamweight in the world according to boxrec.com, is in tough this week against 5thrated Japanese challenger Yota Sato.  Sor Rungvisai, 20-4-1 with 7 knockouts, has not lost since dropping a close decision to Ponsaklek Wonjongkam in October of 2010, and his current win streak of six, includes the likes of Tomas Rojas and Nobuo Nashiro.  Sor Rungvisai is aggressive, quick, he moves well, and his defense is surprising good for a fighter that bears his soul on the offensive end.  His opponent in this fight, Yota Sato, is 23-2-1 with 12 knockouts, and he has not lost since September of 2005 (a period of 19 fights).  This has the makings of a good fight, and Sato, having never been stopped, is sure to hold up his end of a competitive scrap.  I think we could see back and forth action over the full 12 rounds, but ultimately, Sato is just too inexperienced, and Sor Rungvisai is just too good for any title to be exchanged on this night.

(Sor Rungvisai by unanimous decision)

Mar 30, 2012

Henry Lundy vs. Dannie Williams (Lightweights)

Mashantucket, CT, (ESPN2)

(Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis of the fight)

Mar 30 , 2012

Elvin Ayala vs. Eric Mitchell (Middleweights)

Mashantucket, CT

(ESPN2)

Elvin Ayala comes into this fight rated #44 by boxrec.com, and the winner of 4 straight dating back to February of last year.  He has been in with some quality opposition (challenging Arthur Abraham for the IBF middleweight title in 2008 and fighting Sergio Mora to a draw back in October of 2007), but his days of challenging for world titles may be behind him.  Nevertheless, Ayala still comes into this contest as the better, younger, busier, and fresher of the two fighters.  Mitchell is a last minute replacement for Hector Camacho Jr. who cited injury as his reason for pulling out, and while I commend Mitchell’s willingness to take this fight on short notice, I think the nights’ action just got shorter by a few rounds.

(Ayala by 3rd round TKO)

Mar 30, 2012

Nkosinathi Joyi vs. Katsunari Takayama (IBF Strawweight Title)

East London, South Africa

Nkosinathi Joyi is a 29-year old South African, and current IBF strawweight champion, with a record of 21-0 with 15 knockouts.  He is currently rated as Ring Magazine’s #1 overall 105 pounder, and with recent decisive victories over Florante Condes and Raul Garcia, there is sufficient evidence to validate this claim.  In this fight, Joyi faces a 28-year old Japanese fighter named Katsunari Takayama, with a record of 24-4 (10).  Takayama’s only loss going back to 2008 was in a bid for the WBA title against Roman Gonzalez in 2009.  He lost a lopsided decision in that affair (118-110 across the board), and I have a sneaking suspicion that this one might end in a similar fashion, or possibly inside the distance.  Joyi is not terribly quick-handed, he doesn’t have exceptional defensive skills, and he doesn’t overwhelm with a fusillade of punches, but he is tough, and he knows when to let his hands go, and Yakayama has a tendency to come in wild and overly aggressive. These two fought a 3 round “no contest” in January of last year, and neither fighter has been in the ring since.  It will be interesting to see how the layoff affects them, but Joyi has looked very sharp in his previous outings, and I think Takayama will get caught and stopped at some point during the first half of the fight.

(Joyi by 6th round KO)

Mar 31, 2012

Francisco Leal vs. Evgeny Gradovich (Featherweights)

San Antonio, TX

(Azteca America)

Francisco “Frankie” Leal is a 25-year old featherweight from Mexico who has accumulated a 16-5-3 (10) record in seven years of professional prize fighting.  Leal is a tall southpaw with good punching power, who is best known for his split decision victory over the highly regarded and undefeated prospect Robert Marroquin in April of last year.  Leal fought well at close quarters in that fight, using good head movement, and turning Marroquin to avoid getting hit with big punches.  Marroqiun looked a little lethargic that night, and Leal capitalized on his opponents’ idleness, earning a hard fought decision.  In this fight, Leal faces an undefeated Russian named Evgeny Gradovich, who has 6 KO’s in 12 professional victories.  Gradovich was a very accomplished amateur, posting a record of 126-24, and he is currently being trained by Robert Garcia out of Oxnard, California.  I have seen clips of him fight, and he has the European style that you would come to expect, but he employs a little more movement rather than simply choosing to catch punches like many of the other stand up fighters.  In the end, I think Leal is a very good test for the prospect, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled off the upset here.  However, I must cede my knowledge on the matter to that of Robert Garcia, and assume he knows what he is doing with his young prospect.

(Gradovich by unanimous decision)

Mar 31, 2012

Hugo Ruiz vs. John Mark Apolinario (WBA “interim” Bantamweight  Title)

Los Cabos, Mexico

Hugo Ruiz has been carrying around a WBA “interim” title since beating Alvaro Perez in January of last year, and he looks to continue his “interim” reign this weekend against 17-2-1 John Mark Apolinario, who is a 22-year old Filipino currently rated 50th according to boxrec.com.  Hugo Ruiz is a very good offensive fighter with an array weaponry, but as we learned in his first fight with Francisco Arce, he is also vulnerable on defense, particularly against the left hook.  I think a big puncher could pose problems for the “stand-in” champion, however, given the fact that Apolinario only has 4 knockouts in his 20 fights, it seems doubtful that he possesses sufficient enough power to deal Ruiz a knockout blow.  In addition, while Apolinario has won 5 of his last 6, the combined record of those last six opponents was a mere 51-35-9, making experience another factor that could work against him in this fight.  In all, I just don’t think Apolinario has the punching power to dissuade Ruiz from walking in, nor does he have the experience to deal with the flow and direction of the fight.

(Ruiz by 4th round KO)

Mar 31, 2012

Jorge Linares vs. Sergio Thompson (Lightweights)

Cancun, Mexico

In one of the best fights of 2011, Jorge Linares suffered a heartbreaking loss to Antonio DeMarco in his bid for the vacant WBC lightweight title.   Linares fought an excellent fight and was well ahead on the cards going into the 11th round (99-91, 98-92, and 98-92), however, the accumulation of punches began to take their toll, and DeMarco pulled off a dramatic come from behind TKO victory in the 11th to claim the title.  The good news for Jorge Linares is that he proved himself capable of thoroughly dominating one of the world’s best lightweights over ten rounds.  The bad news is that a knockout loss of that nature, and the one he suffered against Juan Carlos Salgado back in October of 2009, have to take a toll on his psyche.  Linares, now 31-2 with 20 knockouts, is currently rated #17 by boxrec.com, however, I believe he is still deserving of a spot within the top ten.  I think he will get past the Mexican Thompson (yes, that’s right, “Mexican Thompson”) with little difficulty, and set the stage for his July 7thrematch with DeMarco.  I may be looking past Thompson, but I doubt that Linares is.

(Linares by 4th round KO)

Mar 31, 2012

Arthur Abraham vs. Piotr Wilczewski (Super Middleweights)

Kiel, Germany

Does Arthur Abraham have what it takes to restore his elite status in the super middleweight division?  After losing to Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch, and Andre Ward from 2010 to 2011, Arthur Abraham started off 2012 with an impressive 5thround KO over 19-1 Pablo Oscar Faries.  Abraham, now 32-years old, is 33-3 with 27 knockouts, and is currently rated #10 according to Ring Magazine.  This Saturday, he faces a German fighter named Piotr Wilczewski, who is 30-2 with 10 knockouts.  Wilczewski has few if any signature wins; however, last October he lost a narrow majority decision to British prospect, and amateur sensation James DeGale.  In that fight, Wilczewski kept the pressure on DeGale and made him work every second for the victory.  In this fight, Wilczewski will have an opposable force equal to his, and the comparable hand speed and defense abilities (or lack thereof) should make for a very exciting fight. 

(Abraham by late round KO)

Mar 31, 2012

Brian Rose vs. Max Maxwell (BBBofC Jr. Middleweight Title)

Blackpool, England

Brian Rose is a 27-year old from Lancashire, who is looking to defend the BBBofC junior middleweight title he won from Prince Arron back in December of last year.   He comes into this fight with a record of 18-1-1 with 5 KO’s and a boxrec.com ranking of #32.  His opponent in this fight, Max Maxwell, is an unassuming 15-10-3 with 3 knockouts, however, Maxwell does hold one particular victory of note; a 6thround TKO of Rose back in May of 2010.  Since that win, Maxwell has gone 3-1-1 against opponents with a combined record of 22-59-5, and he was TKO’d in one round just two fights ago, and Rose has gone on to much bigger and better things.  Rose is not known for being a big puncher, but I would expect to see him come out with a sense of urgency and get a little vindication in this one, earning a victory inside the distance.

(Rose by middle round TKO)    

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Morales-Garcia Preview

Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia

(WBC Junior Welterweight Title)

12 Rounds, Houston, TX , March 24, 2012 (HBO)

It’s youth versus experience this weekend in Houston, as legendary Mexican icon Erik Morales takes on rising star Danny Garcia, for the WBC junior welterweight title.  Garcia is 23 years old, he is rated as Ring Magazine’s 7th overall 140 pounder, and in 22 professional contests he is undefeated, with 14 of his wins coming by way of knockout.  He was also well schooled in the amateurs (winning the 2006 U.S. National Championship) and his skills have translated to the pay for play ranks, as evidenced by his recent poised and skillful exhibitions against veterans Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt.     Standing opposite Garcia on this night is a fighter that needs no introductions.  His epic battles with Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao have solidified his standing as a future hall of famer, as well as one of the greatest Mexican fighters of all time.  At 52-7 with 36 knockouts, Erik Morales has amassed a spectacular resume, and he just may prove that there is still plenty of life in that 35-year old, war torn body of his.  It should be an exciting fight, with the never tiresome Puerto Rico vs. Mexico theme taking center stage once again.   Garcia comes into the fight as a slight -325/+250 favorite, but if there is one constant in the sport of boxing, it’s never count out the cagy old veteran.

Erik Morales

52-7 (36)

 

Danny Garcia

22-0 (14)

A+

Opposition & Experience

B-

B-

Punch Output

C+

A

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

B+

B

Aggression

B

B-

Power

B+

B+

Hand Speed

A-

B-

Defense

C+

A-

Chin

A-

B+

Conditioning

A

B-

Punch Accuracy

B

The Break Down

In March of 2010, Erik Morales returned to the ring after a 2 and a half year layoff to score a unanimous decision victory over unheralded Jose Alfaro.  Since then, he has gone three and one, losing only to Marcos Maidana in a very close majority decision last April.  During the first three fights of his comeback Morales did not look quite as sharp (landing only 22% of his punches) but he did fight with the intensity we’ve grown accustomed, and he threw about seven punches a round over the junior welterweight average.  Since then, however, Morales has done a complete turnaround, becoming more accurate and less busy.  Against Maidana he landed 157 out of 528 (30%) and in his last fight with Pablo Cesar Cano, he landed 214 out of 561 for a percentage of 38%. 

On the defensive side of things, Morales seems to be getting hit with power shots more than normal, but his opponents’ overall punches landed numbers are still in the low 20’s, which could be explained by his opponents’ healthy respect for his punching power, and the difficulty of getting inside his 72” reach.  To make matters worse for opponents, Morales has been throwing nearly 37 jabs a round in his past five fights, and Garcia will have to wade in, rather than stand on the end of those punches if he wants to find success offensively.

The good news for Garcia is that he has the better hand speed, accuracy, and arguably the better power, to make a difference in the exchanges.  In his last fight with Kendall Holt, he only averaged 43 punches a round, but he landed at a 35% clip, including 40% of his power shots.  While the career knockout percentages of Morales and Garcia are similar, Morales only has 2 KO victories in his last 13 fights, whereas Garcia has stopped 7 out of his last 10.  Granted, not all were stellar competition, but there is some validity to the notion that Garcia can punch.

Conclusion

On paper, this fight looks to be quite even, and even the “so called” advantages are not so clearly defined.  Morales is definitely the more experienced fighter, and I believe statistically, he is the busier fighter (and more difficult to land against), but in terms of aggression, chin, and punching power, little differences exist.  I think Garcia gets a slight nod in power based on his recent KO history and his power punching numbers against Holt and Ashley Theophane, and I believe he also earns “punching accuracy” honors based on the same statistics from those two fights.  Finally, I have to give the edge in hand speed and conditioning to the fighter that is 12 years younger, and who recently out-quicked and out-worked a very skillful Kendall Holt.

I can honestly see this fight going either way.   My heart (well aware of Morales’ past accomplishments), tells me that the old man is still very capable of crushing the dreams of starry eyed up and comers, but my head tells me that youth, hand speed and power are a volatile combination.  Therefore, after much deliberation I have to side with the potential rather than the proven, in predicting a close decision victory in favor of Danny Garcia.  I think he has the ability to get in and out without suffering the consequences, and I think he can protect himself at distance while making Morales pay on the inside.

(Garcia by unanimous decision)

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Fight Predictions for March 18 to March 24

Fight Predictions for March 18 to March 24

Date and Time (EST)

Event

Channel

Mar 23, 2012

Antwone Smith vs. Robert Garcia (Welterweights)

ESPN2

Antwone Smith (21-3-1 (12)) takes on Robert Garcia (30-3 (21)) in a potentially evenly contested, yet rather uninspiring main event on Friday Night Fights this weekend from Texas.  Smith is 25 years old, he is rated at just 50th overall by boxrec.com, and while all three of his defeats have come against respectable opposition (Ed Paredes, Lanardo Tyner, and Kermit Cintron), he is a long way from joining the ranks of the welterweight elite.  He stands right in front of you, gives little movement, and bangs it out like a heavyweight trapped in a 147-pound frame.  The good news is that Garcia won’t have to look too hard to find Smith, and if he can manage to stay active on the offensive end, then there is potential for an entertaining fight to develop.  This is not the most scintillating matchup that could have been made by any means, but I am hopeful that there will be enough exchanges to make watching worthwhile, and I think Garcia’s pressure, and the support of his hometown crowd, will enable him to get the win in a close, but mostly apathetic encounter.

(Garcia by close decision)

Mar 23, 2012

Diego Magdaleno vs. Fernando Beltran (NABF Jr. Lightweight Title)

Showtime

Diego Magdaleno is a highly regarded junior lightweight prospect that has managed to create some interest for himself in the 130 pound picture.  He is 21-0 with 7 knockouts, he can be found in most current top ten lists, and at just 25-years old, he is approaching some of the prime years of his promising career.  Magdaleno is a slick southpaw with good hand speed and defensive skills, and if you added a bit more bravado and a twisted lock of hair coming down over his forehead, you might mistake him for a young Hector Camacho.  So far, I have not seen him in very tough, and I wouldn’t expect Fernado Beltran, at 36-7-1, to prove much of a test for the young prospect.  Beltran is 30 years old, and he has lost 4 out of his last 6 fights.  I can only assume that he will stay true to the “Mexican disposition” of valiant in-fighting, but I think Magdaleno is too sharp, and too skilled, to allow himself to be drawn into a battle when he can win easily working from the outside.

(Magdaleno by unanimous decision)

Mar 23, 2012

Leonard Bundu vs. Antonio Moscatiello (EBU Welterweight Title)

Brescia, Italy

Leonard Bundu, the current EBU welterweight champion, is a 37-year old Italian with a record of 25-0-2 with 7 knockouts.  He is currently rated #13 by boxrec.com, and he has a swarming throwback style reminiscent of Beau Jack, or dare I say, a less skilled Henry Armstrong.  Bundu was an excellent amateur (representing Italy in the 2000 Olympic Games), and he is aggressive, he has good hand speed, and he throws combinations at a torrid pace:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4vsCDEf8Ng&feature=related

Sometimes Bundu does get a little too offensive minded, and I can see him getting caught by a big puncher somewhere down the line, but I don’t think Moscatiello is the guy to do it.  While Moscatiello is 13-0, he is considerably less experienced, having fought only six and eight rounders thus far in his career, all against very substandard opposition.  Bundu is an exciting fighter to watch, and while it is debatable how high he is capable of rising at this late stage of his career, I don’t think there’s any question about him winning on this night.

(Bundu by 3rd round KO)

Mar 23, 2012

Gavin Rees vs. Anthony Mezaache (EBU Lightweight Title)

Clichy la Garenne, France

Gavin Rees is a tough, durable lightweight from Wales with a record of 35-1-1 including 16 knockouts.  He is the current EBU titleholder, and for a brief period, he also held the WBA junior welterweight title until being stopped by Andriy Kotelnyk in March of 2008.  Since then, he has rattled off 8 straight wins, including victories over both Jason Cook and Colin Lynes to win the Prizefighter tournament in December of 2009.  Rees is an active fighter with good skill and a lot of determination, and in his last fight, he was leading Derry Matthews on the scorecards when a clash of heads resulted in a technical draw.  His opponent in this fight, Anthony Mezaache is a 33-year old Frenchman with a record of 21-6-3 (6), and a boxrec.com rating of #82.  There are not a lot of standout names on Mezaache’s ledger, therefore, it is stating the obvious to say that Rees is by far the best opponent he has faced.  Mezaache’s last opponent was 4-5-1, and three fights prior, he was beaten by a fighter with a record of 9-8-4.  Still, anything can happen (and the bout is being held in France after all), but I think Rees has a little too much too offer, and is a little more proven, to risk any crazy upset predictions.  

(Rees by late round TKO)

Mar 24, 2012

Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia (WBC Jr. Welterweight Title)

HBO

(Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis of the fight)

Mar 24, 2012

James Kirkland vs. Carlos Molina (Jr. Middleweights)

HBO

On the undercard of this weekend’s Erik Morales-Danny Garcia bout is a very interesting matchup between two very talented and capable junior middleweights, James Kirkland and Carlos Molina.  In his last bout, James Kirkland showed tremendous resiliency in registering an epic TKO victory over Alfredo Angulo, and he answered questions about his chin and heart.  Kirkland imposed his will, and also demonstrated his incredible punching power and unbelievable conditioning, in a fight that many (myself included) thought he would lose.  In this fight, Kirkland faces a very crafty veteran whose recent “rags to riches” story has made him a fan favorite.  At the beginning of 2009, Molina was a modest 13-4-1, however, in three year’s time, he has posted victories over Ed Paredes, Alexis Camacho, and Kermit Cintron, and he managed a draw against the highly regarded Cuban prospect Erislandy Lara.  Molina has the ability to make this a very competitive fight, and I could see Kirkland, trailing late on the scorecards, needing a knockout to win.  Of course, given the fact that Molina has never been stopped, that makes things all the more interesting.  In the end, I think Kirkland’s power, and Molina’s lack thereof, will be the difference, as Kirkland, fearing no consequence for going inside, will ultimately deliver the harder, more telling blows.  It should be an action packed affair, and while I originally had Kirkland winning by KO, I now think Molina is too sturdy to endure such a fate.  Therefore, with power punching being the deciding factor, I have retracted my initial prediction, and now think Kirkland will win a very close and no doubt controversial decision.

 (Kirkland by majority decision)

Mar 24, 2012

Zab Judah vs. Vernon Paris (IBF Jr. Welterweight Eliminator)

NBCSP

Zab Judah versus Vernon Paris is a very intriguing, and well matched fight, between a great fighter on the way up, and a great fighter on the way down.  Vernon Paris is a 24-year old from Detroit with a 26-0 record and a boxrec.com rating of #18.  He is quick, he is explosive, and he compliments his offensive with some quality defensive maneuverability.  In August of last year, Paris proved he was ready for bigger and better fights, after putting on a dominating performance against Tim Coleman, en route to a 7th round TKO.  I thought Paris looked fantastic in that fight, and at the time, I felt like he was just a few fights away from being a major player at 140 pounds.  Unfortunately, I still feel that he is a few fights away.  That is why as talented as I think he is, I believe he is not quite ready for a fighter at the level of Zab Judah’s.  Even at age 34, Judah is still world class, and his two most recent victories (over Kaizer Maibuza, and Lucas Matthysse) prove that his abilities are not yet at the point of irreversible diminished returns.  I think Paris will do some good things, and his future is certainly unlimited, but I just don’t think he is ready for such a drastic step up in competition at this juncture, and ultimately he will get a lesson in professionalism.

(Judah by unanimous decision)

Mar 24, 2012

Mariusz Wach vs. Tye Fields (Heavyweights)

Integrated Sports PPV

Mariusz Wach is an undefeated heavyweight from Poland, who in winning his first 26 professional fights, has managed to capture the attention of a handful of well informed souls.  Wach, currently rated #9 by the WBC, and #29 by boxrec.com, is a big strong heavyweight (standing 6’7” and weight 250 pounds) with a solid jab, and a good straight right; just ask Kevin McBride:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc1tTFTC0FI

In this fight, Wach faces his old friend, and former roommate, Tye Fields, who has won 4 out of his last 5 fights, including 3-round decision wins over Konstantin Airich and Michael Sprott during last year’s Prizefighter tournament.  Standing at 6’8” and weighing 270 plus, Fields is quite an imposing figure in his own right, and his 44 knockout victories in 53 contests is a testament to his ability to get guys out early.  Ultimately, this is an interesting matchup, and assuming, their “friendship” doesn’t get in the way, it should be a good fight as well.  I think there will be plenty of “sloppy” moments, as is the case with all heavyweight fights these days, but in the end, I think there will be some decent action, resulting in Wach getting his 27 victory, and his 15 knockout.

(Wach by 9th round TKO)

Mar 24, 2012

Hernan Marquez vs. Rodel Mayol (WBA Flyweight Title)

Ciudad Obregon, Mexico

With his one round destruction of Luis Concepcion  last October, and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam’s recent knockout loss to Sonny Boy Jaro, Hernan Marquez has  established himself as one of the very best in the flyweight division.  He is rated #2 just behind Brian Viloria according to boxrec.com, he 32-2 with 25 knockouts, and his only losses thus far, have come against Nonito Donaire and Richie Mepranum, both when he was just 21 years old.  In this fight, he faces a very tough veteran who has faced virtually everyone of note in his 37 professional bouts.  Mayol has been in with Ivan Calderon, Adrian Hernandez, Ulises Solis, and Omar Nino Romero, but you have to go back to November of 2009 to find his last good win, a 2nd round TKO of Edgar Sosa.  Mayol is a gamer, and I would expect a very good performance from him, but his recent outings may have left him unprepared for what he is walking into.  He is an aggressive guy, and he is capable of matching Marquez in terms of hand speed, but I ultimately think his aggression may work against him.  Marquez is tough to beat if you stand in front of him and trade, and Mayol will find that out the hard way, if he chooses to employ this tactic.

(Marquez by 7th round TKO)

Mar 24, 2012

Victor Cayo vs. Nate Campbell (Jr. Welterweights)

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Victor Cayo is a 27-year old junior welterweight from the Dominican Republic, with a record of 27-2, including 19 knockouts.  Cayo is an exciting, quick-handed fighter whose limitations are found primarily on the defensive end.  He can mix it up well with just about anyone, but his two losses were both of the KO variety (to Lamont Peterson and Marcos Maidana), so getting hit and hurt, is something to which Cayo should be mindful.  In this fight, he faces an aggressive veteran, who at the age of 40, still poses a bit of danger if he lands right.  Unfortunately, Campbell has lost 4 of his last 5 fights, and several of those were to guys not typically described as world beaters.  Campbell is a good name to have on a resume though, and by the time it’s all said and done, I’m sure Cayo will have added Campbell as a W to his ledger, but not before being forced to scrap and endure a little resistance first from the old man.

(Cayo by unanimous decision)

Mar 24, 2012

Takalani Ndlovu vs. Jeffrey Mathebula (IBF Jr. Featherweight Title)

Johannesburg, South Africa

Takalani Ndlovu and Jeffrey Mathebula square off in a rematch of their 2010 bout that ended with Ndlovu as the winner by way a split decision victory.  Since then Ndlovu has won 4 in a row, including an IBF championship bid against Steve Molitor, whom he had lost two twice previously.  Mathebula has lost 2 of his last 5 (to Ndlovu and Celestino Caballero), but he has won 2 in a row, including a split decision over another decent South African fighter named Oscar Chauke.  Mathebula is 32-years old, he is currently rated #22, and his overall record stands at 25-3-2 with 14 knockouts.  I think this is a good matchup between two good South African fighters, and I would expect another closely contested fight, but in the end, I think Ndlovu is the better fighter at this stage, and his aggressive style and bodywork will give him the edge.

(Ndlovu by unanimous decision)

Mar 24, 2012

Gary Buckland vs. Paul Truscott (British Jr. Lightweight Title)

Sheffield, England

Welshman Gary Buckland puts his BBBofC junior lightweight title on the line this weekend against 18-2 Paul Truscott in Sheffield, England.  Buckland is 24-2 with 8 KO’s, he is currently rated 13th by boxrec.com, and he holds a pair of wins over Gary Sykes in his last four fights.  He comes forward, mixes it up well, and keeps his hands high enough to keep the danger out. Against Truscott, who only has 3 knockouts in 20 fights, danger shouldn’t really be an issue.  I think Buckland will find his way inside without any threat of consequence, and once there he will find lots of opportunities to control the fight.

(Buckland by 9th round TKO)

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Martinez-Macklin Preview

Sergio Martinez vs. Matthew Macklin

(WBC “Diamond” Middleweight Title)

12 Rounds, New York, March 17, 2012

It’s a St. Patty’s Day battle this weekend in New York City, as Madison Square Garden plays host to the middleweight showdown between Ring Magazine’s number one, Sergio Martinez, and the “Tipperary Tornado,” Matthew Macklin.  After brutally disposing of Paul Williams back in November of 2010, Sergio Martinez, now 37 years of age, has generally been regarded as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport.  In his two most recent fights, he registered stoppages against previously unbeaten Serhiy Dzinziruk, as well as Great Britain’s Darren Barker, but his performance in the latter left some question marks regarding his invincibility.  Martinez is 48-2-2 with 27 KO’s, and he has only lost once in the past twelve years (a majority decision loss to Paul Williams in December of 2009), however, Matthew Macklin believes the timing couldn’t be better.

Macklin, the Irish/British workhorse, enters the contest with a 28-3 record, including 19 wins coming by way of knockout, and he is an energetic, aggressive guy, who can affect the outcome of a fight through sheer determination alone.  I would expect an absolute banger this weekend, and I know the final product seldom matches the hype, but in this case, I think the televised, sanctioned violence will be much more entertaining than your local Irish pub bar fight.  Let’s just hope this doesn’t turn out to be a St. Patty’s Day massacre.   

Sergio Martinez

48-2-2 (27)

 

Matthew Macklin

28-3 (19)

A

Opposition & Experience

B-

C

Punch Output

A+

A

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

B

B

Aggression

A

B-

Power

B-

A

Hand Speed

B-

B-

Defense

C

A

Chin

A

A

Conditioning

B

A

Punch Accuracy

B

The Break Down

Sergio Martinez is a slick, offensive-minded boxer-puncher that is capable of blinding his opponents with his exceptional hand speed, and befuddling them with his movement and timing.  He can give angles and shoot straight, accurate shots from just about any posture, and he is generally accurate to the tune of about 35%, landing as high as 40% against Paul Williams, and 38% against Serhiy Dzinziruk.  While he is not a terribly active fighter (trending just below the middleweight average of 57 punches a round), he is good at finding opportunities to punch when his opponents open up.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much of that in Martinez’s lat bout with Darren Barker, as the challenger “ear-muffed” his way through ten lackluster rounds of non-action.  In this fight, however, Martinez will have plenty of opportunities to land big shots, as Macklin will not have to be pried from his shell like Barker; quite the contrary.  He will come at the champion, and if history is any indication, he will set a torrid pace that could amount to as many as one-hundred punches a round.  In his most recent bout (a controversial split decision loss to Felix Sturm), Macklin threw over 1100 punches (92 per round) landing 15% of 393 jabs, and 36% of 709 power shots.  Based solely on the numbers, there should be plenty of opportunities for him to make things happen. 

In order for Matthew Macklin to pull off the upset, he must play to his strengths, which are coming forward and staying busy on the offensive end, while keeping his hands high and his chin down.  He can’t outbox Martinez, but he does match up well in the chin department (both have suffered one knockout loss in their careers), and he may gain in confidence if, and when, he demonstrates the ability to take Martinez’s best.  Plus, Macklin has better than average punch accuracy, and Martinez, while he moves well, frequently finds himself in punching distance with his hands too low.  In fact, Serhiy Dzinziruk touched him 39% of the time, and Paul Williams, Darren Barker, and Kelly Pavlik got to him 31%, 38%, and 31% respectively.

Conclusion

Sergio Martinez is more experienced, he is a better technical boxer, and he has the better hand speed and punching accuracy.  Both guys have good chins, and they have equal power numbers in terms of their overall percentages (despite the fact that Martinez has registered knockouts in 3 of his last fights, and Macklin has been forced to go the distance in 3 of his last 4.)  In the end, I think this will be a very exciting scrap, and I just hope that in my drunken revelry I don’t blackout and miss the whole damn thing.

As for my prediction, I think that a good boxer with good hand speed and defense, accompanied by a good chin will usually prevail over an aggressive, volume puncher, especially one that does not possess a tremendous amount of power.  I went against this formula in predicting Maidana over Alexander a few weeks ago, and I won’t make the same mistake again.  Therefore, while I think it will be competitive and unsettling for Martinez at times, I think Sergio still has the right combination of skill, and equal parts desire to disappoint the Irish contingent this Saturday night.  Alas, the snakes shall roam free.        

(Martinez by unanimous decision)

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Fight Predictions for March 11 to March 17

Fight Predictions for March 11 to March 17

Date and Time (EST)

Event

Channel

Mar 15, 2012

Luis Concepcion vs. Oscar Gallardo (Flyweights)

Panama City. Panama

Luis Concepcion is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport today.  Unfortunately, after ending up on the losing end of two brutal battles with Hernan Marquez (in April and October of 2011), Concepcion is now at a make or break point in his career, where he must either get busy fishin’ or get busy cuttin’ bait.  It is either a slow ascent back to the top, or a quick tumble into obscurity.  He is currently 23-3 with 18 KO’s, he is rated #15 by boxrec.com, and at just 26 years of age, there is plenty of time left to make a fresh start.  In this fight, Concepcion faces off against a rather unexceptional opponent named Oscar Gallardo, whose main task may be to restore the confidence of the once great flyweight titlist.  Gallardo is 12-3-1 with 5 knockouts, he is rated #147 according to boxrec.com, he was TKO’d by a 9-10 fighter last February, and his last two opponents had a combined record of 1-29-3.  Obviously, anything can happen, but I am not quite ready to write Concepcion off just yet, and having learned a thing or two about matchmaking in the past, this fight is the boxing equivalent of the rebound relationship (meaning it will be brief and ugly).

(Concepcion by 2nd round KO)

Mar 16, 2012

Kendall Holt vs. Tim Coleman (Welterweights)

ESPN2

The 2012 season of ESPN’s Friday Night Fight series has been marred by lackluster matchups that, while appearing good on paper, fizzled out when it came to fulfilling any reasonable expectations of excitement. This week, however, Kendall Holt takes on Tim Coleman, in what should be a thrilling affair from the Morongo Casino Resort in Cabazon, California.  Holt, now 30 years of age, has fought well in recent outings, despite losing 3 of his last 5 fights. After suffering back to back loses to Timothy Bradley and Kaizer Mabuza in 2009 and 2010, Holt bounced back nicely with two consecutive wins, including a very impressive stoppage of Julio Diaz in May of last year on Friday Night Fights.  His showing in that fight earned him a shot against the highly touted prospect Danny Garcia, and despite dropping a split decision, he proved himself still capable of fighting competitively against world class opposition.  In this fight, he faces 27-year old Tim Coleman, who was most recently TKO’d by Vernon Paris in August of last year.  Coleman is 19-2-1 with 5 knockouts, and he promises to bring an aggressive style, and a willingness to exchange.  While Holt is the better boxer, with good hand speed and defensive skills, he can certainly be beaten if he doesn’t stay active and keep Coleman from walking in and getting off first.  I look for a very close, competitive fight, but in the end, I think Holt will be able to withstand Coleman’s power and advances, and fight his way to a 2-3 round points win.

(Holt by unanimous decision)

Mar 16, 2012

Randy Caballero vs. Jose Luis Araiza (Jr. Featherweights)

Showtime

Randy Caballero is a 21-year old, undefeated junior featherweight from Coachella, California who currently finds himself in good company alongside Timothy Bradley, Nonito Donaire, and Brandon Rios, under the management of Cameron Dunkin.  Caballero was a good amateur fighter (winning the 2008 U.S. Amateur Flyweight Championship), and as a professional he is a perfect 13-0 with 7 knockouts.  In this fight, Cabellero faces an experienced (less talented) opponent named Jose Luis Araiza, who is 29-5-1 with 20 knockouts.  Araiza has lost 4 of his last five fights, and has not won since February of 2010.  He will find extreme difficulty in trying to negate Caballero’s jab, his good hand speed, and his good foot movement, which he uses to great effect, when landing combinations and eluding punches.  In the end, Caballero may not be ready for the big time just yet, but I have no doubt he will impress in his first ten rounder, and as Showtime’s featured act. 

(Caballero by 3rd round TKO)

Mar 16, 2012

Omar Figueroa vs. Ramon Ayala (Lightweights)

Showtime

Also fighting on Showtime this weekend is another highly regarded, undefeated prospect that has collected 11 knockouts in 14 wins.  Figueroa, just 22 years old, is already rated #46 according to boxrec.com, and in his last outing he thoroughly outworked and outfought fellow undefeated prospect Michael Perez, stopping him inside of 6 rounds.  I personally thought Perez would have boxed his way to a decision victory in that fight, but I totally underestimated Figueroa’s ability to dictate the pace and terms of the fight.  His attack was relentless, and he fought a smart fight, moving in and out and switching successfully back and forth between the orthodox and southpaw stances.  Ramon Ayala appears to be a decent boxer in his own right, with good hand speed, but he is severely lacking in experience as compared to Figueroa, and just 6 fights ago he was TKO’d by a fighter with 4 wins and 5 losses.  I would expect Ayala to create space and try to work from the outside, but ultimately, if Michael Perez couldn’t fend off the hard charging youngster, I highly doubt that Ayala will find success utilizing a similar tactic

(Figueroa by 7th round TKO)

Mar 16, 2012

Glenn Donaire vs. Omar Salado (Jr. Bantamweights)

Telemundo

Glenn Donaire, the older brother of Nonito Donaire (the current WBO Super Bantamweight champion), is a 32-year old junior bantamweight rated #132 by boxrec.com. Donaire was a good amateur some years ago, but his success at the professional level has been much more elusive.   In 23 professional fights, he is 18-4-1 with 10 knockouts, and he has lost 2 of his last 4 fights (a technical decision to Vic Darchinyan in 2006, and a unanimous decision to Ulises Solis in 2008).  Donaire then took three years off and came back in December of last year to record a stoppage of 31-7-1 Alex Sanchez (marking his first victory since February of 2008).  His opponent in this fight, Omar Salido, is a 32-year old Mexican with a record of 23-4-2, and a rating of #87.  He comes into this fight having lost 4 of his last 8 fights and 3 of his last 5 (all by way of stoppage). There are a lot of question marks surrounding this fight, but I would expect Donaire to use his movement, and his good jab, to frustrate Salado and earn a 3-4 point victory on the scorecards by nights’ end.

(Donaire by unanimous decision)

George Groves vs. Kenny Anderson (British Super Middleweight Title)

London, England

Postponed

Mar 17, 2012

Sergio Martinez vs. Matthew Macklin (Middleweights)

HBO

(Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis of the fight)

Mar 17, 2012

Edwin Rodriguez vs. Don George (Super Middleweights)

HBO

Edwin Rodriguez is another talented super middleweight looking to continue his progression up the rankings and eventually work his way into a world title fight.  He is currently 20-0 with 14 knockouts, he is rated #15 according to boxrec.com, and at just 23 years of age, he has already displayed the skill and poise of a much more seasoned fighter.  In this fight, Rodriguez faces Don “Da Bomb” George, a former 3-time Chicago Golden Gloves champion with a record of 22-1-1 including 19 wins by way of knockout.  George has already received some prime time exposure, having been featured on Friday Night Fights and ShoBox, and despite being thoroughly outclassed by Francisco Sierra in July of 2010, he rebounded nicely with a first round TKO over the previously unbeaten Cornelius White in his next fight.  I would expect a close, hard fought contest between these two, with Rodriguez using his superior skills to find openings as George comes in.  Rodriguez is not a flashy fighter, and he will not wow you with blazing hand speed or any defensive wizardry, but he is good at a lot of things and he always finds ways to win.  I am certain Rodriguez has the boxing skills to earn a decision in this one, but George matches up pretty well, and I think the young prospect could be in for the toughest night of his young career.

(Rodriguez by unanimous decision)

Mar 17, 2012

Antonio DeMarco vs. Miguel Roman (WBC Lightweight Title)

Los Mochis, Mexico

In one of last year’s most action packed battles, Antonio DeMarco, trailing on the scorecards, came back to record an 11th round TKO victory over the gutsy Jorge Linares to win the vacant WBC lightweight title.  DeMarco, now 26-2-1 with 19 knockouts, proved that he has the resilience, punching power, and conditioning to break down his opponent and win in the later rounds, but he also demonstrated once again that he is susceptible to being outworked an outboxed.  Linares put on a clinic against DeMarco but could not close the show, and against slicker guys who work at a high rate, DeMarco has a tendency to fall behind in a much similar fashion.  Against Miguel Roman, however, I think DeMarco has a guy that is custom made for him.  Roman may throw a decent amount of punches, however, he is not going to try and outbox anyone.  He will throw about 6 power punches for every jab, choosing power shots approximately 75% of the time.  I think DeMarco can match Roman in terms of will, and in the end, his power will be the determining factor as the rounds wear on.   

(DeMarco by unanimous decision)

Mar 17, 2012

Roman Gonzalez vs. Ramon Garcia Hirales (WBA Jr. Flyweight Title)

Culiacan, Mexico

Roman Gonzalez, Ring Magazine’s #2 junior flyweight, defends his WBA title for the third time this weekend against Ramon Garcia Hirales in Culiacan Mexico.  Gonzalez is 30-0 with 25 knockouts, and he is an explosive, combination punching machine.  In his last outing, he easily disposed of the venerable Omar Sota and before that, he recorded a 7th round TKO of Omar Salido.  At just 24-years of age, the little Nicaraguan has already established himself as the class of the 108 pound division.  In this fight, he faces Ramon Garcia Hirales, a 29-year old Mexican with a record of 16-3-1 with 9 knockouts.  Hirales is a tough guy whose never been stopped, and despite losses to Jesus Geles and Donnie Nietes in 2 of his last 3 fights, he is still rated #12 overall according to boxrec.com.  This should be an interesting and exciting fight (as are most of Gonzalez’s fights), but ultimately I think Gonzalez has too much firepower to be upset in this one.  If he mixes up his punches, keep his hands up, and slips punches in the pocket the way he is accustomed, I can’t see him getting beat.

(Gonzalez by late round TKO)

Mar 17, 2012

Kell Brook vs. Matthew Hatton (Welterweights)

Sheffield, England

There is a lot of talk coming across the pond regarding the talents of Kell “Special K” Brook, and from what I have seen, I think the hype is well justified.  Brook is 26-0 with 18 knockouts, he is currently rated #8 by boxrec.com in the welterweight division, and he has won 10 out of his last 11 fights by knockout.  I thought Rafal Jackiewicz would have been a good test for him last October, but he blew through him in six rounds.  With each successive fight, Brook seems to grow more confident and more accomplished.  I would love to see him fight in the States’ again sometime soon, and preferably against someone better than Luis Galarza, but what are you gonna do?  I think this matchup with Hatton is interesting, but not competitive.  Hatton is a tough as nails kind of guy, who will take two to give one.  Unfortunately, giving up punches at a two to one rate is a sure fire way to lose a decision, especially against someone as skilled as Brook.  Brook uses the jab nicely, he moves and defends well, and he can hit you with the occasional lead right too.  I would expect Hatton to make an exciting fight, but his abilities are just not at the same level as Brook’s to anticipate a win, therefore, a lopsided decision could be the result.

(Brook by unanimous decision)

Mar 17, 2012

Lee Purdy vs. Adnan Amar (BBBofC Welterweight Title)

Sheffield, England

Lee Purdy is a 24-year old welterweight from Essex, UK, with a 16-3-1 record and a boxrec.com rating of #34.  Two of his last five fights have ended in defeat (a unanimous decision to Denton Vassell in April of 2010 and a majority decision to Colin Lynes his last time out); however, he should receive a partial pardon for taking on fighters on that level.  Purdy likes to press the action, but sometimes he has a tendency to “chase” his opponent rather than employing a more “effective-aggressive” posture.  In this fight, I would expect Purdy to challenge his less experienced foe, and force him into making a mistake.  Adnan Amar, despite an excellent record of 25-1 has only faced 5 opponents with winning records, and his last two opponents had a combined record of 12-76-5.    I cannot speak on too much authority regarding Amar’s skills, but the disparity in experience alone, makes picking Purdy the only logical choice based on limited intel. 

(Purdy by late round stoppage)

Mar 17, 2012

Carl Frampton vs. Prosper Ankrah (Commonwealth Jr. Featherweight Title)

Sheffield, England

Also fighting on the Sheffield card this weekend is undefeated Commonwealth super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton, who is 12-0 with 8 knockouts, and is currently rated #65 by boxrec.com.  Frampton was a good amateur, and in the professional ranks, he has added power to his existing arsenal of hand speed and aggression.  From what I have seen, he looks like a legitimate prospect, and Barry McGuigan must have thought the same thing in order for him to take on Frampton’s managerial responsibilities.  In this fight, Frampton squares off against Ghana native Prosper Ankrah, who is 18-2, and rated #229.  The combined record of Ankarah’s 20 opponents is 46-72-3, and his last 4 opponents had a total of only 16 fights between them.  I would say that experience will be a huge factor in this fight, but having seen Frampton fight a little bit, I believe skill, will be what ultimately decides it.

(Frampton by easy decision)

Mar 17, 2012

Giacobbe Fragomeni vs. Silvio Branco (Cruiserweights)

Pavia, Italy

42-year old Giacobbe Fragomeni (29-3-1 (12)) takes on fellow veteran Silvio Branco (62-10-2 (37)) this weekend for the WBC “silver” cruiserweight title.  Fragomeni comes into this fight rated #37, and after losing back to back fights with Zsolt Erdei and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in 2009 and 2010, he has since won 3 in a row against very modest competition.  Branco is in virtually the same boat, having lost to decent opposition in recent years, and beaten those that he should have beaten.  This fight is evenly matched, as both are in post-prime states and lucky enough to still be relevant in a division lacking any considerable depth.  I think five years ago Branco had the hand speed, conditioning, and defense to win against Fragomeni, however, at 45 years of age, he is just way too past his prime to justify any favorable predictions here. 

(Fragomeni by unanimous decision)

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Fight Preview: Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Orlando Salido

Orlando Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez

(WBO Featherweight Title)

12 Rounds, March 10, Puerto Rico, March 10, 2012 (Showtime)

Former pound for pound great Juan Manuel Lopez gets a chance at redemption (and the WBO featherweight title) this weekend as he challenges Orlando Salido in a rematch from San Juan Puerto Rico.  Salido took the title from Lopez last April by way of a stunning 8th round TKO, earning divisional acclaim for himself, and singlehandedly foiling a potential showdown between Lopez and Cuban sensation Yuriorkis Gamboa.  Since that fight, Salido has defended his title twice, while Lopez managed to record a resounding comeback TKO victory over lightly regarded Mike Oliver.

Currently, Orlando Salido is rated #1 by boxrec.com, and he appears to be a highly motivated champion with plenty left to offer down the backstretch of his career.  For Juan Manuel Lopez, who was universally considered one of the best fighters in the sport less than a year ago, this is an all important “crossroads” type of fight that will either reestablish him as the premier world class talent he once was, or relegate him back to obscurity in the middle of the pack.  It should be an explosive, entertaining night of boxing, with lots of drama and a compelling story line to match.              

Orlando Salido

37-11-2 (25)

 

Juan Manuel Lopez

31-1 (28)

A

Opposition & Experience

B

A

Punch Output

A

B

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

A-

B+

Aggression

B

B

Power

A

B+

Hand Speed

B+

B-

Defense

B-

B

Chin

B+

A

Conditioning

A

B

Punch Accuracy

A

The Break Down

Orlando Salido is a very good boxer, who has gotten progressively better with a little age and experience.  Since starting his career at 8-6-1, he has won 29 out of his last 35 fights and 23 out of his last 26, losing only to Yuriorkis Gamboa, Cristobal Cruz, and Juan Manuel Marquez over the last decade.  In addition, he has not lost by knockout since 2000, a period of 36 fights. 

Despite a modest record of 37-11-2, Salido is a very accomplished fighter, with comparable hand speed, defensive abilities, conditioning, and punch activity to that of his challenger, and he brings an aggressive style that is centered on a high volume attack, and a commitment to throwing power punches.  In fact, according to Compubox numbers, 90% of his total punches landed over his last ten fights were power shots, a statistic that might help explain why a fighter with a career 49% knockout percentage has recorded seven stoppages in his last ten fights (or it could just be attributed to the steroids).  Either way, if Salido can press the action and keep his punch output as high as 80 per round (as he did in his two bouts with Cristobal Cruz), than he stands a good chance of proving that his performance the first time around was not a fluke.

For Juan Manuel Lopez, standing and trading is no longer an option.  That simplified tactic may have worked in the past, when he was knocking guys out a 90% clip, but now that Salido has exposed some bad habits and/or complacency, Lopez will have to pocket that knockout punch and fight a smarter fight.  Lopez can still bang a little, and if he catches Salido he can hurt him (Salido had to climb off the canvas twice to score an 8th round TKO of 15-3 Weng Haya in his last fight), but he would be wise to limit the exchanges on the inside and concentrate on presenting angles, as well as better head and foot movement.

 Conclusion

This is a tough one to call.  Juan Manuel Lopez had been absolutely dominant in thirty professional fights leading up to his showdown with Salido in April of last year, and his loss in that fight was either a matter of him taking an opponent too lightly, or it was simply a matter of him being bested by a peaking veteran fighter.  Personally, I think Lopez underestimated Salido’s power and resolve in their first fight, and his overconfidence and proven track record of walking through opponents worked against him.  He came to rely too heavily on that big punch of his, and was unaware, until too late, of the offensive success that Salido was having.  This time, he must utilize his boxing ability and move in and out, shooting accurate punches from long range, and making himself less of a stationary target.  Yuriorkis Gamboa was able to land well against Salido, while only getting hit 18% in return.  Granted, Lopez does not have that kind of hand speed, but if can fight a smart, conservative fight, I think he will win by a three or four point margin on the scorecards, or maybe even get the stoppage that his vengeful mind desires.

(Lopez by tough, but comfortable decision)

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Fight Predictions For March 3 to March 10

Fight Predictions for March 4 to March 10

Date and Time (EST)

Event

Channel

Mar 7, 2012

Daniel Geale vs. Osumanu Adama (IBF Middleweight Title)

Hobart, Australia

Australian Daniel Geale, the current IBF middleweight champion, makes the second defense of his title this week against the tough Ghana native Osumanu Adama.  Geale is 26-1 with 15 knockouts, he is rated #5 by boxrec.com, and the only blemish on his record is a split decision loss to Anthony Mundine from May of 2009.  Since then, he has won six in a row, including a tough split decision victory over Sebastian Sylvester to win the title in May of last year.  His opponent in this fight is Osumanu Adama, a 31-year old with a record of 20-2 with fifteen knockouts, and a boxrec.com rating of #10.  Adama has won three fights in a row since losing to 19-0-1 Don George in April of 2010, and his most recent fight (a 9th round TKO of Roman Karmazin helped establish him as a major player in the 154 pound division).  Adama is quick, he stays busy, and he has yet to be knocked out.  While Geale, on the other hand, has a more conservative style, with decent hand speed, good command of the jab, and a solid defense.  This is an interesting matchup that does not necessarily lend itself well to Geale’s strengths, and if Geale lays back and lets Adama get off first it could be a difficult night.  Ultimately, I think Geale will prevail, but not before Adama forces him to mix it up, and forces him into a position, where he must fight hard to retain his title.

(Geale by unanimous decision)

Mar 7, 2012

Billy Dib vs. Eduardo Escobedo (IBF Featherweight Title)

Hobart, Australia

Billy “the Kid” Dib is the current IBF featherweight champion, with a record of 33-1 with 20 knockouts, and a #8 rating according to boxrec.com.  He has won 12 fights in a row since losing to 35-1-1 Steve Luevano in October of 2008, and he posted a very good win over the undefeated Alberto Servidei in his last outing.  Dib is a good boxer with good hand speed, and he mixes up his attack well, moving in and out effectively.  His opponent, Eduardo Escobedo, is a 26-year old from Mexico whose only loss in the last four years was a decision nod to Daniel Ponce De Leon 12 fights ago.  Escobedo is a good defensive fighter with good hand speed, but he is often too idle, and not offensive-minded enough to match up with Dib.  It could be a little slow going through the early stages, but I think Dib will eventually cut the ring off and land well with combinations, earning a moderately sizable points victory by nights’ end.

(Dib by unanimous decision)

Mar 9, 2012

Kiko Martinez vs. Arsen Martorosyan (European Jr. Featherweight Title)

Lyon, France

Kiko martinez is a 25-year old super bantamweight titlist from Spain with a record of 25-3 including 18 knockouts.  He is rated #13 by boxrec.com, and he has won four fights in row since losing back to back contests to Rendall Monroe and Takalani Ndlovu in 2009.   Martinez has good hand speed, he is aggressive, and he uses the jab well to set up his power shots (which seem to be in ample supply).  Martirosyan is a 34-year old Frenchman with a record of 18-4 with 8 KO’s, and his last loss came in a decision nod against Martinez in September of 2010, a fight in which he lost 116-112 on one card and 118-110 on the two others.  Martirosyan has never been knocked out, and while the old “rematch adage” in boxing may predict an easier time for Martinez in the second go around, the Frenchman will be highly motivated to turn the tables and win the EBU title in front of his hometown crowd.  I predict Martinez will pull out the win based primarily on his aggressive style, but it won’t be an easy victory, and Martirosyan will no doubt provide numerous moments of compelling action on his own behalf.

(Martinez by close unanimous decision)

Mar 10, 2012

Andy Lee vs. Alexis Camacho (Middleweights)

Novi, Michigan

Highly regarded middleweight contender Andy Lee returns to the ring after a five month layoff to take on the hard hitting Mexican Alexis Camacho this Saturday in Novi, Michigan.  Lee has put together an impressive string of victories of late, besting fighters such as Alex Bunema, Craig McEwan, and Brian Vera, and running his record to 27-1 (19) in the process.  He is currently rated #6 according to boxrec.com, and given his amateur background (he fought for Ireland in the 2004 Olympics) and his current training relationship with Emmanuel Steward, Lee is poised to start collecting fringe hardware.  While there is no title at stake in this fight, Lee is still motivated by the desire to impress, and considering the fact that Camacho has lost 3 of his last 4 fights, anything short of a knockout or a dominating performance would certainly be considered a disappointment.  Camacho is 17-3 with 16 knockouts coming against very modest competition, and his ranking is so high it’s atmospheric.  I look for Lee to come out and dictate from the opening round, winning in convincing fashion, and prompting discussions of more high profile fights in the near future.

(Lee by 7th round KO)

Mar 10, 2012

Orlando Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (WBO Featherweight Title)

Showtime

(Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis of the fights)

Mar 10, 2012

Miguel “Mikey” Garcia vs. Bernabe Concepcion (Featherweights)

Showtime

Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia is one of the most exciting young fighters making waves in the sport today, and his perfect 27-0 record and #6 boxrec.com rating substantiate that claim.  At just 24 years of age, Garcia already seems to have all the necessary tools to achieve superstar status, including hand speed, punching power, a solid defense, and a very high boxing IQ.  Unfortunately, he has yet to face anyone capable of putting those overachieving attributes to the test.  His opponent for this fight, Bernabe Concepcion, is a tough, excitable guy, but his willingness to exchange, and his reckless style, makes him less of a test and more of an easy target.  Garcia is very poised and patient, and if Concepcion comes in winging as he did against Juan Manuel Lopez, he will once again be taken out inside the distance.  In all, I think Concepcion is a decent step-up fight for Garcia, and he may prove to be capable of presenting a challenge early, but in the end, Garcia’s speed, power, and overall ability will decide the outcome; and unfortunately, for Concepcion, he won’t like the verdict that gets handed down.

(Garcia by unanimous decision)

Mar 10, 2012

Ricky Burns vs. Paulus Moses (WBO “interim” Lightweight Title)

Glasgow, Scotland

Ricky Burns, the pride of Scotland, makes the first defense of his “interim” WBO lightweight title this weekend, as he takes on the always tough Namibia native Paulus Moses.  Moses is 28-1 with 19 knockouts, and the only blemish on his ledger was a KO loss to Miguel Acosta in May of 2010.  Since then, he has won three fights in row, and while his opponents have been a bit unassuming, he nevertheless has shown glimpses of above average talent.  However, in his fight with Acosta, Moses was hampered by bouts of inactivity, lying passively on the ropes and allowing Acosta to score at will.  Moses can definitely fight, but he is going to have to bring the intensity for the entire duration because Burns provides constant pressure, and if he doesn’t match his output he doesn’t stand a chance.  Burns, 33-2 with nine knockouts, is currently rated #7 by boxrec.com, and he has not lost in the past five years (a period of 18 fights).  He is a good body puncher with a tremendous work rate, and he proved in his last fight with Michael Katsidis that he could take the power of a big puncher and continue undaunted.  I think Moses will have to be ultra-slick to pull this one out, but ultimately his slickness will be no match for the “Rickster.”

(Burns by unanimous decision)

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Wladimir Klitschko-Jean-Marc Mormeck Preview

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck

(WBA/WBO/IBF Heavyweight Titles)

12 Rounds, Dusseldorf, Germany, March 3, 2012

Any time a Klitschko fights, it is a big deal; regardless of who they happen to be fighting.  In this case, I use the word “regardless” in the most apathetic sense, because there is very little justification, in my opinion, for this fight to be scheduled in the first place.  Nevertheless, when you get two big guys winging punches at each other, anything can happen, and Mormeck just may pull off a “Brewster’s million- to- one shot” of his own.  So, if you find yourself with nothing to do this Saturday, why not see if Wladimir Klitschko can continue his dominance, or rather his subjugation of the heavyweight division, and earn his 15th straight win and his 16th overall major title defense.  He is currently rated #1 by both Ring Magazine and boxrec.com, he has not lost since April of 2004, and he recently just humiliated another converted cruiserweight who underestimated the difficulty inherent in making a successful jump to the top of the heavyweight heap.  As mentioned previously, however, this is boxing after all, and Mormeck is a big strong guy, who has won 33 of his last 35 fights dating back to 1997, losing only to O’Neil Bell in 2006 and David Haye in 2007.   While the odds are drastically stacked against him (-5000/+2500), Mormeck still warrants a puncher’s chance, albeit a very, very slim chance; or a fat chance as the case may be.                      

Wladimir Klitschko

56-3 (49)

 

Jean-Marc Mormeck

36-4 (22)

A

Opposition & Experience

B

B+

Punch Output

B

A-

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

B+

B+

Aggression

B+

A+

Power

B

B

Hand Speed

B

B

Defense

C+

B

Chin

B-

A

Conditioning

A

C

Punch Accuracy

C+

The Break Down

Physically, statistically, and categorically, this fight is a mismatch.  Wladimir Klitschko is 6 and half inches taller, he has a seven inch reach advantage, he has one of the greatest KO percentages in the history of the heavyweight division, and he is fighting a guy with all of 30 rounds experience fighting at this level.  In fact, Mormeck has only fought three fights at heavyweight over the last four years (winning unanimous decisions over Vinny Maddalone and Fres Oquendo in 2009 and 2010 and winning  a split decision over Timur Ibragimov in December of the latter).

Unfortunately, for Mormeck, that is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the improbability of him dethroning the champion. Statistically, Wladimir Klitschko has absolutely owned his last five opponents, out-landing them 766 to 260 in total punches and connecting at a rate of 30% to 22%.  In addition, he also made tremendous use of his jab during that span; throwing and landing at a rate nearly double the heavyweight average and a total that accounts for nearly 67% of his total offense. 

In other words, Klitschko is a big, strong, mobile heavyweight with a punishing and active jab and a devastating right hand.  He is vastly more experienced than Mormeck (having fought 285 total rounds as a heavyweight to Mormeck’s 30), he is an exceptional boxer (having never been decisioned), and it is almost impossible to muster up any offense against him (his last five opponents averaged just 23 punches a round, and only five punches landed, numbers that fall about 50% and 70% below the heavyweight average respectively).  

The good news for Jean-Marc Mormeck is that he has only been knocked out twice in his 40 fight career.  The bad news is that both of his knockout losses have come in his last seven fights and both knockout losses came against cruiserweights that don’t pack near the wallop of Dr. Steelhammer.  The guy is aggressive, he has a good right hand, and he is a very good body puncher; unfortunately, in order to be effective on the inside, he first has to wade through a relentless stream of jabs to get there.   

 Conclusion

In the end, this is a matchup between a work horse and a thoroughbred.  Wladimir Klitschko is more experienced, he hits harder, he has demonstrated the ability to absorb heavyweight blows, and most importantly, his jab is so imposing that it all but nullifies the offensive output of his opponents.  If Mormeck is to have a chance in this fight, he cannot allow himself to fall prey to “Klitschko-induced paralysis,” meaning he must let his hands go and try to make something happen offensively. Or he will spend a few brief minutes on the end of Klitschko’s fist and a few brief moments looking up from the canvas wondering what the hell happened.  Either way, there is a good chance that we will arrive at the same result regardless, but it would be nice to see some give and take for as long as it lasts.  

(Klitschko by 5th round KO)

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