Archive for April 29, 2012

Fight Predictions for April 29 to May 5

Fight Predictions for April 29 to May 5

Date and Time (EST)

Event

Channel

April 29, 2012

Paulie Malignaggi vs. Vyacheslav Senchenko (WBA Welterweight Title)

Donetsk, Ukraine

The veteran trash talking king, Paulie Malignaggi, travels to the Ukraine this weekend to face the relatively inexperienced, but talented, WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko.  Malignaggi, now 31-years old, is 30-4 with 6 knockouts, he is rated #28 by boxrec.com, and his losses (few and far between) have come against Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Juan Diaz, and Amir Khan.  He is a tough, skilled fighter with good hand speed that can use the ring well and punch in combination enough to steal close rounds.  Unfortunately, all of the guys who he has lost to have taken the fight to him (which Senchenko is capable of doing), and in the hostile environment of the Ukraine, Malignaggi will not get the benefit of the doubt in the close rounds.  Malignaggi will have to box very decisively and leave no doubt about the outcome, because he doesn’t have the power to end it early.  I have seen Senchenko take punishment (from head-butts or otherwise), and I think he can confidently walk Malignaggi down and deliver the more telling blows.  Senchenko is quick-handed in his own right, he was a very good amateur (2000 Olympian), and he is currently rated #10 according to boxrec.com.  I saw clips of him in training for this fight and he was popping the mitts quite nicely.  In all, I think Paulie can make it interesting, but the speed, power, and confines should all contribute to Senchenko surviving and retaining his title.

(Senchenko by unanimous decision)

May 1, 2012

Dmitry Pirog vs. Nobuhiro Ishida (WBO Middleweight Title)

Moscow

The 31-year old WBO middleweight champion, Dmitry Pirog, looks to make his 3rd successful defense this week in his homeland of Russia against formidable Japanese challenger, Nobuhiro Ishida.  Pirog is 19-0 with 15 knockouts, he is rated #11 according to boxrec.com, and he has looked good as the competition has gradually gotten better.  He is a good offensive fighter with good hand speed, he slips, blocks and rolls well, and he has a sneaky right hand.  His opponent in this fight, Nobuhiro Ishida, shocked the world last year with his 1 round KO of James Kirkland, but his most recent outing against a post-prime Paul Williams was nothing too spectacular.  Ishida was essentially dominated over 12 rounds, losing by a clean sweep 120-108 on the cards.  Ishida is a tough guy whose never been stopped, but if he doesn’t win by KO (and only 9 KO’s in 33 fights says he won’t) than there’s no way he out-boxes Pirog for the win.

(Pirog by unanimous decision)

May 4, 2012

Daniel Ponce De Leon vs. Eduardo Lazcano (Jr. Lightweights)

Las Vegas

The free swinging Daniel Ponce De Leon is back and looking to continue his winning ways after losing two of his last three dating back to March of last year.  Of course, losing to Adrien Broner and Yuriorkis Gamboa (arguably two of the most talented fighters in the entire sport) is hardly anything to be ashamed of.  De Leon is 42-4 with 35 knockouts, he hits extremely hard, and excluding a TKO loss to Juan Manuel Lopez in 2005, he is known for taking a pretty good punch.  His opponent in this fight is fellow Mexican Eduardo Lazcano, who has a record of 24-2 with 11 knockouts and a boxrec.com rating of #78.  Lazcano has yet to record any signature wins, he is lacking big fight experience, and his last two opponents had a combined record of 6-10.  I just don’t see any way for Lazcano to handle the pressure and professionalism of De Leon, and honestly, if it weren’t for the need to have a couple of “gimme” predictions to enhance my weekly percentages, I wouldn’t have even bothered listing this one.

(De Leon by 7th round TKO)

May 4, 2012

Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam vs. Max Bursak (WBO “interim” Middleweight Title)

Levallois-Perret, France

Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam is one of boxing’s great mysteries.  Clips show him to be an incredibly gifted boxer, part Naseem Hamed, part Meldrick Taylor, part clown, and part killer.  As an amateur, he compiled a 77-4-3 record and fought in the 2004 Olympics, and as a professional he is 26-0 with 17 knockouts.  He is an explosive offensive fighter that likes to mix it up for the sake of making things interesting.  Unfortunately, because of inactivity (he only fought once in 2011) and mediocre opposition, it is difficult to gauge just how good he really is; until now.  Max Bursak is a 27-year old from the Ukraine with a record of 24-0-1 (10) and a boxrec.com ranking of #26.  He is a tough kid with good hand speed, who throws combinations well, and looks like he hits a helluva lot harder than what his career 40% KO rate would indicate.  If N’Jikam can win and look good against Bursak than that will go a long way towards eliminating his mythical status, and justifying his placement at or near the top ten.  I think offensively this fight is evenly matched, but N’Jikam may have a slight advantage based on his punching power, his movement, and his unorthodox style.  In all, it should be a very exciting, action packed fight, with lots of leather being traded; but in the end, if N’Jikam’s skills are anything close to the reputation that precedes them, than I think he will come away with a close, but well deserved decision.

(N’Jikam by unanimous decision)

May 5, 2012

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Miguel Cotto (WBA Jr. Middleweight Title)

Las Vegas

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

May 5, 2012

Saul Alvarez vs. Shane Mosley (WBC Jr. Middleweight Title)

Las Vegas

After Shane Mosley’s pitiful performance against Manny Pacquiao last May, I completely wrote him off as a legitimate challenger.  I swore I wouldn’t buy into anymore of his pre-fight braggadocio, and I still refuse to acknowledge him as a top tier talent today.  A sorry showing against Pacquiao, a draw against Sergio Mora, and 39 months since his last victory, are all signs that he is nowhere near the fighter that battled Miguel Cotto back in 2007.  Against Pacquiao he looked overly cautious, and interested only in surviving and taking that fat check back to his model girlfriend (http://www.blackvibes.com/images/bvc/41/8055-bella-gonzalez.jpg).  Translation: he’s a lover now and not a fighter.  On the flip side, Saul Alvarez is a young, aggressive, motivated champion that seems to have the right blend of skill and desire to propel him upwards and onward.  I can see Shane giving a good account of himself over the first few rounds, and as a future hall of famer he definitely has the skills to compete, but at the age of 40, and a millionaire many times over, I just don’t see the old man as being all too eager to wage war against the talented up and comer.

(Alvarez by decision going away)

May 5, 2012

Jessie Vargas vs. Steve Forbes (Welterweights)

Las Vegas

Top prospect Jessie Vargas gets a chance to shine once again on the “pay per view undercard stage,” this time facing the veteran (and last minute replacement) Steve Forbes.  Forbes is 35-years old, he is 35-10 with 11 knockouts and he is rated #130 according to boxrec.com.  Vargas was originally supposed to be fighting Alfonso Gomez (who was forced to pull out due to back spasms), but instead he will now be facing a guy who has lost 3 of his last 4, 5 out of his last 7, and 7 out his last 10.  Not that I think Alfonso Gomez would have been a terribly difficult test for Vargas, but Forbes’ addition to the card has significantly downgraded the “undercard value assessment.”  Vargas is simply too fast, too young, and too explosive for the veteran, and while Forbes has only been stopped once in his career (his last time out), it is about to be twice in a row.  I guess the MGM Grand will be filling up a little later than usual.

(Vargas by 9th round TKO)

May 5, 2012

Chris John vs. Shoji Kimura (WBA “super” Featherweight Title)

Singapore

Chris John is a 32-year old Indonesian featherweight champion with a record of 46-0-2 including 22 knockouts and a boxrec.com rating of #5.  John has held versions of the WBA title since 2003 (a period of 16 fights) and during that span he has beaten some very good fighters like Derrick Gainer, Rocky Juarez, and Juan Manuel Marquez.  John is a good technical fighter who keeps his hands up, uses the jab well, and throws combinations when necessary.  He is not afraid to mix it up as well, and he has a sturdy chin in the times I have seen it tested.  His opponent, Shoji Kimura, is a 34-year old from Japan with a record of 24-4-2 with 9 knockouts and a boxrec.com rating of #16.  Kimura is a tough fighter whose only been stopped once, and despite losing 2 of his last 3 (to Masaaki Serie and Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym), he did win a split decision over Ryol Li Lee in his last outing.  Kimura may be able to match John in terms of hand speed, however, offensively and defensively I just don’t see him measuring up with the experienced champion.

(John by unanimous decision)

May 5, 2012

Marco Huck vs. Ola Afolabi (WBO Cruiserweight Title)

Erfurt, Germany

This past February, Marco Huck moved up in weight to challenge Alexander Povetkin for the WBA heavyweight title, and all things considered, fought extremely well in a losing majority decision effort.  Huck has since dropped weight and returned to his rightful place at the head of the cruiserweight division where he is looking to extend his WBO reign of terror.  He is 34-2 with 25 knockouts, he is currently rated #4 by boxrec.com, and his only loss (prior to Povetkin) was to Steve Cunningham back in December of 2007 (a period of 15 fights).  Huck is quick with the jab, he covers well, he is powerful, and he has a cast iron chin.  Standing opposite Huck is Ola Afolabi, who is 19-2-3 with 9 knockouts, and rated #7 by boxrec.com.  Afolabi is an excellent boxer with quick hands, whose moves well, and is capable of dropping a sneaky right hand at any moment (just ask Terry Dunstan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDG362nTBd0).  In his last 20 fights, Afolabi has only lost once, a close decision to Huck back in December of 2009, and since then he has won 5 fights in a row and appears to be fighting the best in his career.  A huge part of me thinks that Afolabi has the right blend of improved skills and motivation to pull off the upset here, and if Huck stays defensive for too long than Afolabi will have his moments.  Ultimately, however, I think Huck’s power, his conservative strategy, and his experience fighting better opposition of late, will be the deciding factors in his coming away with another close decision win.

(Huck by 3-4 points decision victory)

May 5, 2012

Robert Stieglitz vs. Nader Hamdan (WBO Super Middleweight Title)

Erfurt, Germany

Robert Stieglitz, the current WBO Super Middleweight champion, is 41-2 with 23 knockouts, he is rated #4 overall at 168 pounds by boxrec.com, and he has not lost since March of 2008 (a span of 10 fights).  During that time he has beaten some quality fighters such as Karoly Balzsay and Eduard Gutknecht, and in the sixth defense of his title he faces a 38-year old Australian with a record of 43-9-1 with 18 knockouts.  Hamden has lost 3 out of his last 5, and in his last 21 fights his record stands at a modest 11-9-1.  He did lose to some decent fighters along the way, including Arthur Abraham and Anthony Mundine, so at the very least he is experienced; but he has been on the losing end much too frequently to think that he can legitimately contend with the likes of Stieglitz.  Stieglitz is effective on the inside, he uses the jab well and fights off his back foot well, and he puts his punches together nicely.  I just don’t see him losing against a guy that was brought in at the eleventh hour.

(Stieglitz by unanimous decision)

May 5, 2012

Alexander Dimitrenko vs. Kubrat Pulev (European Heavyweight Title)

Erfurt, Germany

After recent victories over Albert Sosnowski and Michael Sprott, and a close majority decision loss to Eddie Chambers in 2009, Alexander Dimitrenko has put himself in a position to claim the “giant Ukrainian throne” once the Klitschkii have abdicated.  He is big (6’7” and 83” reach) and he is deceptively mobile, utilizing his long jab and good footwork to keep his opponents at bay.  If there is one guy capable of finding success on the inside, however, it is the hard-hitting bullish Pulev.  Pulev is 15-0 with 7 knockouts, he is currently rated #10 according to boxrec.com, and he was a very accomplished amateur, fighting for his native Bulgaria from 1999 to 2009.  I think Pulev has a good chance of getting the win here if he stays active and doesn’t allow Dimitrenko to keep him at the end of his punches.  Pulev appears to punch hard, and he landed some big shots against Michael Sprott in his last outing, but his fights have gone the distance 5 out of the last 7 times, and his KO% is under 50.  In all, I think Pulev will need a knockout to win against Dimitrenko (which is very possible), but given his relative lack of experience (only 15 fights, 2 of which were scheduled past 8 rounds), and Dimitrenko’s proven stalwart chin, I don’t think that will happen.  Instead, I believe Dimitrenko will control the distance and fight his way towards a potentially boring 12 round decision.

(Dimitrenko by unanimous decision)

May 5, 2012

Kompayak Porpramook vs. Jonathan Taconing (WBC Jr. Flyweight Title)

Bangkok, Thailand

Kompayak Porpramook jumped to the top of the junior flyweight division last December with a stunning 10 round KO over Adrian Hernandez.  Currently, the “Suriyan Satorn” is 44-3 with 30 knockouts, he is rated #4 by boxrec.com, and he has not lost since August of 2008 (a period of 22 fights).  In this fight he faces 25-year old, 19th ranked Jonathan Taconing, a fighter from the Philippines with a record of 13-1-1 with 10 knockouts.  Taconing is a bit inexperienced, and lacking quality names on his ledger, but he has recorded stoppages in 5 of his last 6 fights, and 10 out of 15 total.  In this fight, he will have to deal with Porpramook’s pressure and his style, which is centered on wearing you down and forcing you into mistakes.  Again, I think experience will be a major factor (Taconing has only faced 5 guys with winning records), and it could be a rough night for Taconing, as he faces a motivated champion that will be on top of him from the opening bell.

(Porpramook by 8th round KO)

May 5, 2012

Paul McCloskey vs. DeMarcus Corley (Jr. Welterweights)

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Paul McCloskey is coming off of a hard fought victory over the always tough Breidis Prescott last September, and in his first fight in more than 7 months he faces 37-year old journeyman DeMarcus Corley.  Corley, who was once the WBO junior welterweight champion and a legitimate contender (around 2003), has now lost 6 out of his last 7 (and 8 out of his last 10), and his overall record since July of 2003 is a miserable 10-18.  Corley is a tough guy (who has been stopped 4 times), and he has fought the absolute best talent at 140 pounds over the last decade.  Still, I am not really sure why this bout was even scheduled in the first place.  McCloskey has little to gain from a victory over Corley at this stage, other than to get back in the ring and knock of some rust.  McCloskey is 23-1 with 12 knockouts, he is rated #15, and it would seem that he would have better things to do with his time.    

(McCloskey by unanimous decision)

May 5, 2012

Demetrius Andrade vs. Rudy Cisneros (Super Middleweights)

Uncasville, CT

2008 U.S. Olympian Demetrius Andrade continues taking baby steps up the rankings this week, as he takes on little known Chicago kid Rudy Cisneros on another ESPN2 broadcast from Uncasville, Connecticut.  Andrade has looked impressive thus far in his young career, although the one knock is that he has yet to extend himself out of his comfort zone.  Currently he is 16-0 with 11 knockouts, and rated #19, yet he is facing a guy that barely cracks the top 200.  Cisneros was a good amateur about a decade ago, and he made a brief appearance (and exit) from the Contender reality series back in 2006, but he has yet to make any headway as a “legitimate” contender.  This fight takes place on a “Saturday” edition of Friday Night Fights, which happens to be opposite the Mayweather-Cotto fight on pay per view.  If Cisneros does pull off the upset it will be the equivalent of making a hole-in-one and having no one around to witness it.  For those unwilling to shell out the $60, this is what you are stuck with.

(Andrade by 5th round TKO)

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Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson Preview

Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson

(WBC Light Heavyweight Title)

12 Rounds, Atlantic City, NJ, April 28, 2012 (HBO)

Get ready for take two!  This Saturday, 47-year old Bernard Hopkins and 29-year old Chad Dawson resume their hostilities after their foul-filled matchup ended in a no contest last October.  We’ve all seen the video (insert blame here), and pointing fingers is futile, so let’s get back to it and hope that cooler heads will result in an exciting, non-controversial outcome this time around.  Hopkins is looking to defend his WBC title for the first “official” time since defeating Jean Pascal in May of last year, and Dawson is looking to reclaim his title of champion.  Hopkins is 52-5-2 with 32 knockouts, he is currently rated #1 according to boxrec.com, and he fought his first professional fight when Dawson was just 6-years old.  Nevertheless, he is an automatic first ballot hall of famer, and one of the greatest middleweights in the history of the sport.  The fact that he is still competing at the very highest levels at the ridiculous age of 47, is a testament to his work ethic and skillfulness. 

Chad Dawson, on the other hand, is 29-years old, he is currently rated as the #3 light heavyweight in the world, and he is 30-1 (losing only to Jean Pascal in August of 2010). This fight has the makings of an ugly, dirty, grapple-fest, but it is high drama enough to be very interesting.  So plop down, vent some vicarious ring aggression, and let’s do this again, “Once and For All.”  

Bernard Hopkins

52-5-2 (32)

 

Chad Dawson

30-1 (17)

A+

Opposition & Experience

A

D

Punch Output

C

A+

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

B+

C

Aggression

B-

C

Power

C

B

Hand Speed

B+

A

Defense

B+

A

Chin

A

B+

Conditioning

B+

C-

Punch Accuracy

C

The Break Down

Bernard Hopkins doesn’t throw much, and he doesn’t land much, but the guy is legendary for his uncanny ability to control the distance and tempo of a fight, and land the more telling blows at the most opportune moments.  For example, in 8 fights leading up to his last fight with Dawson, Hopkins averaged just 41.6 punches a round (almost 13 below the light heavyweight average of 54 per) and he landed at a subpar 31.5% clip (as compared to the light heavyweight average of 34.5%).  In addition, he threw only 12.2 jabs per round and landed only 1.8 (both down from the division averages of 22.4 and 5.6 respectively), and he attempted just 29.4 power shots, landing just 11.3 (also down from the 31.6 and 12.3 average.)  So, from a statistical standpoint, Bernard Hopkins tends to defy every rule governing fight predictions; yet he is one of the very best at old school defense and ring generalship.  If Dawson lets him have his way, as Jean Pascal did, than he will be in for a very long, frustrating, and disappointing evening.

For Dawson, it helps that he is bigger, stronger and younger, but it also helps that the numbers are very much in his favor.  Through nine fights at light heavyweight Dawson has been busier per round (57.4 to 41.6) than Hopkins, and more accurate (34.5% to 31.5%).  He does rely primarily on the jab, however, as this punch accounts for just over 51% of his total offense.  The good news for Dawson is that when he does throw power shots, he is more likely than Hopkins to land (46.6% to 38.6%) which is good news for those moments on the inside.  The bad news is that Hopkins is very good at rolling his shoulders and providing subtle head movement, so there is a good chance that Dawson will still end up missing the vast majority of punches he attempts.        

Conclusion

I think the outcome of this fight depends largely on Dawson’s mental state.  He must come out and outwork Hopkins, getting off first and controlling the idle moments, but he must also be cautious about letting his emotions get the best of him.  He was out of control after the end of the first fight, and he has had six months to sit and stew over it.  If he comes out wild, and tries to make it dirty, he may be playing into Hopkins’ hand.  Dawson has all the physical advantages (he is a southpaw, he has a slightly longer reach, he is 18 years younger), and he is the busier, more accurate puncher with better hand speed.  In contrast, Hopkins is extremely experienced and schooled in the intangibles of making guys miss, and finding advantages in the trenches.  In all, I think Dawson is a very capable fighter (and experienced in his own right) but if this turns into a jab and hold affair he will likely get out strategized.  Instead, He must utilize his advantages fully and test the wind of his 47-year old opponent, making him work for the full 12 rounds.  No one has been able to do that since Joe Calzaghe more than 4 years ago, but I think Dawson has enough factors on his side (age being the biggest) to justify his being the sizable favorite come fight night.

(Dawson by unanimous decision)

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Fight Predictions for April 22 to April 28

Fight Predictions for April 22 to April 28

Date and Time (EST)

Event

Channel

April 27, 2012

Ismayl Sillakh vs. Denis Grachev (Light Heavyweights)

ESPN2

In March of last year, Ismayl Sillakh dominated Cuban prospect Yordanis Despaign so severely that he jumped to the very top of my “prospects to watch” list with just that one performance.  Since then, he has won two fights in a row, and on Friday he takes his 17-0 record into Austin, Texas to face undefeated Ukrainian Denis Grachev.  Grachev is 11-0-1 with 7 knockouts, but it hardly matters because Sillakh is one of the most complete fighters I have seen in a long time.  In my opinion, there are only a handful of light heavyweights out there that are even capable of giving him a good fight, and in time, I don’t think there will be any.  I hate to play up a fighter this much, buy Sillakh is an exceptional talent with an incredibly bright future, one which certainly will see him crowned a champion.  As an amateur he had a record of 302-16 and from 2000 to 2008 he collected Fort Knox quantities of precious metals.  Now, as a pro, he is one of the most technically flawless fighters you will find, and I am extremely excited about his return to Friday Night Fights.  Just watch and you’ll see. 

(Sillakh by one-sided 5th round TKO)

April 27, 2012

Javier Fortuna vs. Yuandale Evans (Lightweights)

ESPN2

Javier Fortuna is an exciting, 22-year old Dominican with a record of 18-0 (13), and a boxrec.com rating of #20.  He is a very slick southpaw with good power and an exceptional amateur pedigree.  His style is a mixture of Anselmo Moreno and Guillermo Rigondeaux, combining the defense of the former and the offense of the latter, and in his last fight he defeated a very tough veteran, Miguel Roman.  His opponent in this fight, Yuandale Evans, is a 23-year old from Cleveland with an unblemished 16-0 record of his own.  Evans is an excellent offensive fighter in his own right, and while he is not as mobile or as slick defensively, he is very fast, and he punches with good power (12 KO’s).  This is a very interesting matchup of undefeated fighters, and it reminds me somewhat of the matchup a few weeks ago between Hank Lundy and Dannie Williams,  Fortuna reminds me a little of Lundy, as he is very skilled and prone to “going cute” once in a while, while Evans has power similar to that of Williams.  Evans has a tendency to load up and miss big, but if he lands it could get interesting.  I am leaning towards Fortuna by way of a competitive decision, but we could be in for a night of surprises.

(Fortuna by split decision)

April 27, 2012

Thomas Oosthuizen vs. Marcus Johnson (Super Middleweights)

Showtime

Super middleweight Thomas Oosthuizen is one of the best kept secrets in the sport of boxing today.  Fighting primarily out of South Africa, Ooshuizen has put together an exceptional 18-0-1 record (including 13 knockouts), and having beaten three straight fighters ranked inside the top 40, he is now poised to take on another solid challenger in 21-1 (15) Marcus Johnson.  Johnson is currently rated #40 himself, and he is a tough fighter, whose only loss thus far was to Dyah Davis back in April of last year.   Johnson will have to bang a bit to have success getting inside the long rangy jab of Oosthuizen, and if he does, he can make a fight of it.  Unfortunately, the gangly Oosthuizen is more elusive and faster than he looks, and he manages to get a lot of leverage on his punches when he throws.  I think Johnson may find a way to make it close through sheer determination, but I think Oosthuizen will pull away by virtue of his superior abilities.

(Oosthuizen by unanimous decision)

April 27, 2012

Tony Bellew vs. Danny McIntosh (British Light Heavyweight Title)

Liverpool, England

Despite losing to fellow Brit Nathan Cleverly back in October of last year, Tony Bellew is still probably the second best British light heavyweight, and a solid 15-20 around the world.  He is 16-1 with 10 knockouts, he is rated #18 according to Boxrec.com, and he is a good offensive fighter with a durable chin.  Unfortunately, his chin is frequently tested when he opens up on offense, and against Cleverly, it was the clean hard shots that he absorbed down the stretch that ultimately cost him the fight.  Against McIntosh, who is also a fighter that places offense above defense, Bellew will once again find himself in a rousing toe to toe brawl in which durability may be the deciding factor.  McIntosh is a good offensive fighter, and he stays plenty busy, but he is coming off of a stoppage loss against Eduard Gutknecht in his last fight and a TKO loss to Nathan Cleverly 4 fights before that.  I think this will be an excellent fight, with lots of “center of the ring” action, but in the end, I think Bellew’s advantage in terms of power and resiliency will benefit him when this thing inevitably turns into an all out brawl (about 5 seconds in).

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7PcUPhDhJU

(Bellew by 9th round TKO)

April 28, 2012

Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson (WBC Light Heavyweight Title)

HBO

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

April 28, 2012

Seth Mitchell vs.  Chazz Witherspoon (Heavyweights)

HBO

There are a couple of American heavyweights out there that creating a stir these days, but none of them possess the raw punching power and intimidation of the “Mike Tyson reincarnate” Seth Mitchell.  Mitchell is big, strong, and powerful, and his most recent win over the legitimate Timur Ibragimov, reaffirmed the notion that he is not simply a manufactured prospect.  He is 24-0-1 with 18 knockouts, he is rated #12 by boxrec.com, and skill-wise he looks more accomplished than what his actual experience would indicate.  As for Chazz Witherspoon, he is a tall, mobile fighter with relatively quick hands, but can be made uncomfortable by pressure.  In his 32 professional fights he has won all but two, losing only to Tony Thompson and Chris Arreola and he has won 4 fights in a row dating back to December of 2009.  If Witherspoon can box smartly from the outside, he can extend the fight into the middle rounds and make a respectable showing.  If, however, Mitchell gets within range and is allowed to rein thunderous hooks upon him, then things will end in much the same way they did against Chris Arreola (TKO 3).  Mitchell hits very hard, and his stoppage over the previously “unstopped” Timur Ibragimov, proves that even the sturdiest chins can be in danger against him; and Witherspoon’s is not the sturdiest.

(Mitchell TKO 4)

April 28, 2012

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

Pomona, CA

Roman Gonzalez is a 24-year old, undefeated, WBA Junior Flyweight champion from Nicaragua with a record of 31-0 with 26 knockouts, and an overall boxrec.com rating of #1.  He is a stalker rather than a dancer, he keeps his hands high, and he throws power punches with precision and efficiency (recording 6 KO’s in his last 7 fights).  In this fight, Gonzalez faces a tough veteran, Ramon Garcia, who is 14-2 in his last 16 fights, losing only to Jesus Geles in February of last year, and Donnie Nietes in his most recent outing.  Garcia is rated #11 by boxrec.com, and he is perhaps best known for winning a split decision over John Riel Casimerio (boxrec.com’s current #2 junior flyweight) in July of 2010.  While Hirales is not terribly gifted at any one particular thing, he is a crafty southpaw whose never been stopped, and he will give a good account of himself.  I don’t think he will be able to overcome the aggressive body punching and power of Gonzalez, but he has experience at this level, and if Gonzalez is too guarded about letting his hands go, Garcia may find himself in a competitive fight.  More than likely, however, Gonzalez will do what he does best, and that is seize the moments as they are presented, and systematically wear his guy down.

(Gonzalez by 10th round TKO)

April 28, 2012

Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Elio Rojas (WBC Featherweight Title)

Cancun, Mexico

Johnny Gonzalez, the current WBC featherweight champion, has won 17 out of his last 18 fights, and 11 fights in a row dating back to May of 2009 (all by knockout).  Gonzalez, now 30-years old, is 51-7 with 45 knockouts, he is rated #3 at 126 pounds, and besides moving in and out well, he hits incredibly hard.  In this, the fourth defense of his title, Gonzalez faces a very talented fighter from the Dominican Republic named Elio Rojas, who is capable of making things interesting with his excellent hand speed and combination punching ability.  Gonzalez is a little more conservative, a little more precise, and has more power, but Rojas is quicker and throws more punches, making this an absolute toss-up.  Gonzalez has only fought 31 rounds in his previous 11 fights, proving that his KO power is to be implied, however, if he doesn’t knockout Rojas early he may be in for a very difficult night.  In the end, I think this could go either way, and while I like Rojas’ offense output, and I love what he was able to do to Takahiro Ao, I think his inactivity of late (only 4 fights in nearly 5 years), and his slightly overeager offense will play into the hands of the red hot Gonzalez.

(Gonzalez by close decision)

April 28, 2012

Juan Carlos Salgado vs. Martin Honorio (IBF Jr. Lightweight Title)

Cancun, Mexico

Juan Carlos Salgado, the current IBF junior lightweight champion, is a 27-year old from Mexico with a record of 24-1-1 with 16 knockouts, and a boxrec.com rating of #7.  He has won 3 fights in a row since losing to Takashi Uchiyama in January of 2010, including a hard fought decision over Argenis Mendez in September of last year.  Salgado has a good long jab and a good right hand, but tends to throw his punches slightly wide, which makes him susceptible to counter shots.  Martin Honorio is a very experienced guy, who fought and beat #28 Gamaliel Diaz in just his 5thprofessional fight.  He has also been in with Cristobal Cruz, Jorge Lacierva, Robert Guerrero, Luis Cruz, and Argenis Mendez, and he easily out-pointed John Molina (current boxrec.com #8) in a ShoBox installment in 2009.  This is a very difficult fight to predict.  If you watch clips of Salgado against Uchiyama, he looked sharp, but not terribly busy, and easy to hit.  If you watch clips of Honorio against Molina, he looked sharp, busy, and better defensively.  If Honorio is anything as good as he was then than I think he has what it takes to pull off the upset.  I could be wrong, but I think he will do just that.

(Honorio by close decision)

April 28, 2012

Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. vs. Juan Alberto Rosas (IBF Jr. Bantamweight Title)

Tepic, Mexico

Juan Carlos Sanchez, the current IBF Junior Bantamweight champion, is a 21-year old from Mexico with a record of 13-1-1 (7) and a boxrec.com rating of #15.  He is a slick southpaw with good boxing skills, and despite his relative lack of experience, he did deal losses to two top 30 ranked fighters in recent succession.  His opponent in this fight, Juan Alberto Rosas, is a 27-year old veteran who brings a record of 36-6 with 27 knockouts, and a boxrec.com rating of #9.  Rosas has fought everyone in and around 115 pounds, and he has won 4 fights in a row, including a close decision over #22 ranked Zolani Tete in his last outing.  This is an interesting matchup, as Rosas will be bringing plenty of pressure, and Sanchez will look to create space and utilize his jab and boxing ability.  It is a question of who can successfully implement their game plan.  After watching Rosas against Cristian Mijares, I think Sanchez has a good chance of duplicating Mijares’ winning performance if he avoids exchanging and plays the role of matador to Rosas’ bullish charges.

(Sanchez by unanimous decision)

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Abner Mares-Eric Morel Preview

Abner Mares vs. Eric Morel

(WBC Jr. Featherweight Title)

12 Rounds, El Paso, TX, April 21, 2012 (Showtime)

Abner Mares, the former “multi-recognized” bantamweight titlist moves up in weight this week to challenge Eric Morel for the WBC Junior Featherweight championship in El Paso, Texas.  Mares, 23-0-1 with 13 knockouts, is an exciting young fighter that is battle tested and ready for the challenge presented by his 36-year old veteran challenger.  Morel, a former U.S. Olympic team member in 1996, is currently rated #25 by boxrec.com, he has won 11 fights in a row, and he has never been stopped in 48 professional contests.  He brings a high degree of boxing skill, and the right blend of experience and speed to make a legitimate bid for his second divisional title.  We have the warrior versus the stylist, with Mares chasing and loading up, and Morel working angles and looking to score a tactical victory.  It is an interesting blend of styles, fought by two very accomplished fighters, and it should make for an exciting night of viewing for the fans.       

Abner Mares

23-0-1 (13)

 

Eric Morel

46-2 (23)

A

Opposition & Experience

A

A

Punch Output

B-

B+

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

A

A

Aggression

C+

B-

Power

C

B+

Hand Speed

A

C+

Defense

B+

A

Chin

A

A

Conditioning

B+

B

Punch Accuracy

B-

The Break Down

Abner Mares is a tough, aggressive guy that closes the distance well and lands accurate power shots on the inside.  He is extremely experienced for a guy with just 24 fights and only 26-years old (having fought Joseph Agbeko twice, Vic Darchinyan, and Yohnny Perez in his last 4 fights), and he is very capable of changing the dynamic of a fight with his high volume attack.  In his last fight with Joesph Agbeko, Mares averaged close to 64 punches a round, but it is not uncommon for his output to exceed the 80 mark, as it did against Yohnny Perez 4 fights ago (1032 total punches thrown over 12 rounds).  Mares is certainly not as polished as Morel, but look for him to press the action, land accurate power shots, and rely on his superior conditioning to extend the pace of the fight into the later rounds.

For Eric Morel, as experienced as he is, this is arguably the biggest fight, against the biggest named opponent, in his entire career.  He is a very slick boxer that uses the ring well, and he throws nice combinations and moves out of danger with a tremendous sense of ease.  I think Morel is the sounder boxer of the two, and his defense and hand speed are the keys to making this about science rather than strength.  If he can work outside (but not so far outside that he falls short with his punches), than I think this fight will be very interesting coming down the stretch.  If Mares is able to fight the fight on his terms, however, than his advantages will be compounded accordingly.         

 Conclusion

This is a very interesting boxer/puncher matchup.  Mares is the busier and naturally more aggressive fighter, but Eric Morel is the faster, more technical polished of the two.  I can see Morel’s footwork and defensive ability frustrating the youngster early on, however, if Mares can get inside and land power shots with the same accuracy that he displayed against Agbeko (41%) than I think his aggression and more “pleasing” style will help him edge it out on the scorecards.  Morel is 10 years older, his power is not enough to dissuade Mares, he is moving up to a weight class that is three divisions above his “arguable peak weight,” and he has not faced the caliber of opposition in the last few years that Mares has.  Styles definitely do make fights, and this matchup could be a difficult one for Mares, but I think his youth, activity, accuracy, and power will be the difference as he pulls out a close one.

(Mares by unanimous decision)

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Fight Predictions for April 15 to April 21

Fight Predictions for April 15 to April 21

Date and Time (EST)

Event

Channel

Adonis Stevenson vs. Noe Gonzalez (Super Middleweights) April 20, 2012 (ESPN2)

Adonis Stevenson 17-1 (14)

Noe Gonzalez 28-1 (20)

  • Boxrec.com #6
  • Big, strong, super middleweight
  • Very accurate with the jab and straight left
  • His 1st round KO of Jesus Gonzalez speaks for itself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmtH4ANKXWY
  • Won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2006
  • Has good power and hand speed

 

  • Boxrec.com #26
  • Only loss was a 12 round decision to Felix Sturm for the WBA middleweight title in June of 2007
  • Has won 14 fights in a row
  • Has fought primarily in Argentina and Uruguay
  • Hard worker, good body puncher
  • Throws combinations with conviction
  • Very durable (never been stopped)

 

This week’s installment of Friday Night Fights takes us to Quebec, Canada as super middleweight contenders Adonis Stevenson and Noe Gonzalez prepare to do battle.  Stevenson is a big, strong, offensive fighter with a good jab and excellent knockout power.  He doesn’t throw a tremendous amount of punches, but he controls the distance well and he is very accurate with both hands.  His opponent in this fight, Gonzalez, is a volume puncher with good hand speed and power who looks to work his way inside and throw combinations.  Gonzalez lacks the experience and amateur background of Stevenson, but he is a very tough and dangerous opponent who has not lost since 2007 (a unanimous decision to Felix Sturm).  I look for this fight to be a competitive and exciting bout with Stevenson trying to keep Gonzalez at bay with his excellent jab and straight left, and Gonzalez looking to create some space inside for his hooks to the body and uppercuts upstairs.  Stevenson was knocked out 5 fights ago against 16-15-2 Darnell Boone; So Gonzalez can definitely end it early if Stevenson gets careless with his distance and defense.  In the end, however, think Gonzalez will have his moments, but the movement of Stevenson, along with his experience and precision, lead me to think he will have more success dictating the tempo and fighting his fight.

(Stevenson by unanimous decision)

Antonin Decarie vs. Lanardo Tyner (Welterweights) April 20, 2012 (ESPN2)

Antonin Decarie 26-1 (7)

Lanardo Tyner 25-7-2 (15)

  • Boxrec.com #15
  • Has a good chin
  • Only 7 KO’s in 27 fights
  • Has good hand speed
  • Throws combinations effectively
  • Does good work to the body
  • Boxrec.com #93
  • 36 years-old
  • Has lost 4 of his last 6 fights
  • Has only won once since July of 2010
  • Has fought excellent opposition and has never been stopped
  • Undersized

 

If ever there was a fight to bet the over on, this would be it.  Lanardo Tyner is as tough as they come, having never been knocked out, despite being in with guys like Jessie Vargas, Saul Alvarez, and Lamont Peterson.  He does seem to be on the losing end of a disproportionate number of decision losses, however, so outworking him over the distance should be the strategy of choice for Decarie, who comes into the fight with just a 26% career KO percentage.  Decarie is a good offense fighter who is active to the body, and he has the skills to make this an easy fight, but Tyner is a veteran with a lot of experience who won’t likely go away to easy.  Tyner gave a very good showing of himself against young sensation Jessie Vargas back in February of this year, and I think he will do the same in this fight; but I think it will take a knockout to win in Quebec, and I just don’t think that is likely to happen.

(Decarie by unanimous decision)

Jermain Taylor vs. Caleb Truax (Middleweights) April 20, 2012 (Showtime)

Jermain Taylor 29-4-1 (18)

Caleb Truax 18-0-1 (10)

  • Boxrec.com #42
  • Health issues and age have him far removed from his prime
  • Still has a world class jab and better than average hand speed
  • Big and strong
  • Has lost 4 of his last 6 (3 by KO)
  •  Boxrec.com #39
  • Has built his record on regional competition only
  • Lacks big fight experience
  • Good hand speed and accuracy
  • Can fight inside and outside 
  • Blocks punches well
Caleb Truax has the speed and boxing ability to match Jermain Taylor, but he does not have the necessary power to back Taylor off and earn the veteran’s respect.  At age 33, Jermain Taylor is not near the level he used to be, but he is still a very good offensive fighter who throws the jab well, and finishes with combinations.  Defensively, he is vulnerable, but I don’t see Truax carrying the power to hurt him.  Taylor has been knocked out 3 times in his last 6 fights, but each of those knockouts came against guys that possessed a much bigger punch than Truax (Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, and Kelly Pavlik).  I do think Truax will have success early, and he may be able to frustrate Taylor and find success scoring and moving away, but eventually Taylor will find the distance and timing required to land the heavier, more telling blows.  I would expect a tough, competitive fight, but I think Taylor’s strength, power, and experience will be the deciding factors.

(Taylor by 10th round TKO)

Erislandy Lara vs. Ronald Hearns (Middleweights) April 20, 2012 (Showtime)

Erislandy Lara

Ronald Hearns

  • Boxrec.com #10
  • Excellent amateur career in Cuba
  • Absolutely dominated Paul Williams in a losing effort last July
  • Good defensive fighter
  • Fundamentally sound on offense
  • Has a tendency to be outworked (Carlos Molina)
  •  Boxrec.com #?
  • Has good genes
  • Physically imposing, standing 6’3” with a 73” reach
  • Has good power (20 KO’s in 26 wins)
  • Good jab
  • Doesn’t fight well going backwards
  • Best win was against Delray Raines?
  • Has been knocked out twice in his past 9 fights
Ronald Hearns is looking to take that next big step in his career, and a win over Erislandy Lara would do wonders for the 33-year old’s career.  Unfortunately, Hearns, despite possessing a solid jab and a powerful right hand (forged primarily against soft opposition), is just not at the same level as Lara.  He can make things interesting if he commits to letting his hands go (as Lara is often guilty of standing idle and letting his opponents get off first), however, even in the best case scenario I think Lara is the more proven, competent fighter.  Lara covers well, he grapples on the inside, and he can make taller fighters fight short.  He made Paul Williams look like a shot fighter, and in retrospect, Williams’ performance in that fight was perhaps largely attributed to Lara just simply being that good.  Unfortunately for Hearns, I think Lara will have the same effect, and I would be surprised if the fight is within 5 points on the scorecards.

(Lara by unanimous decision)

Abner Mares vs. Eric Morel (WBC Jr. Featherweight Title) April 21, 2012 (Showtime)

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

Anselmo Moreno vs. David De La Mora (WBA “super” Bantamweight Title) April 21, 2012 (Showtime)

Anselmo Moreno 32-1-1 (11)

David De La Mora 24-1 (17)

  • Boxrec.com #2
  • Has won 26 fights in a row
  • Has not lost in more than 9 years
  • Boxed circles around Vic Darchinyan in his last fight
  • Sharp puncher with excellent defense
  • Lacks knockout power (11 KO’s in 34 fights)
  •  Boxrec.com #24
  • Lost a close decision to Koki Kameda in August of last year
  • Has good hand speed and offensive skills
  • Looked easy to hit in the closing rounds of his bout with Kameda
  • Has not beaten (or fought) anyone on Moreno’s level
Anselmo Moreno is a super-slick boxer with good footwork and a “Pernell Whitaker-like” disposition on defense.  His win against Vic Darchinyan last December was a thing of beauty, and the ease with which he moved, jabbed, and countered his way to a decision victory, makes the thought of him losing this fight almost unthinkable.  He is a highly skilled technician in the ring, and he can turn an opponent’s over-aggression into an advantage about as well as anyone in the fight game.  I think David De La Mora is a worthy opponent, and he is competent enough to keep Moreno up and moving for the full twelve rounds, but ultimately Moreno’s precision, combined with David De La Mora’s penchant for getting hit with big shots as he fatigues, makes the choice of Moreno by decision the only logical one to make.  I think De La Mora is capable of turning it into a good scrap, and he is definitely not overmatched, but if he presses the action and tries to make the fight, he will be playing to Moreno’s counter punching strengths, and he will get picked apart.

(Moreno by unanimous decision)

Cristian Mijares vs. Eddy Julio (Jr. Featherweights) April 21, 2012, Morelia, Mexico

Cristian Mijares 40-6-2 (20)

Eddy Julio 13-3-1 (11)

  • Boxrec.com #15
  • Has won 8 fights in a row since November of 2009, when he lost to Nehomar Cermeno
  • Won a solid victory over Juan Alberto Rosas in December of 2009
  • A little bit of a cutie (throws the jab well, moves in and out, and carries his right hand low)
  • Has below average power
  • Boxrec.com #482
  • Has lost 2 of his lat 3
  • Was TKO’d by David De La Mora in his last fight
  • Lacks experience, and skill by comparison
  • Has good power

 

This fight is nothing more than a tune-up for Mijares before his July 14thdate with Nonito Donaire.  Mijares is a slick southpaw who has put together a decent winning streak of late against good opposition, and with a future fight with Donaire hanging in the balance, I can’t imagine his focus being anywhere but on the task at hand.  Mijares has the advantage in virtually every category, and his opponent is so overmatched in this fight that the favorite will look bad if the result is anything but an early KO.  I have seen tune-ups in the past that had elements of danger and ended in tragedy; but this is not one of them. 

(Mijares by 3rd round KO)

Omar Narvaez vs. Jose Cabrera (WBO Jr. Bantamweight Title) April 21, 2012, Argentina

Omar Narvaez 35-1-2 (19)

Jose Cabrera 20-2-2 (8)

  • Boxrec.com #5
  • Average punching power
  • Was embarrassed by Nonito Donaire in his last fight
  • Is now 36 years old
  • Has a tendency to be “effectively unaggressive” at times
  •  Boxrec.com #28
  • Good hand speed, and defensive skills
  • Came close to getting the win against a tough Daniel Rosas in his last fight
  • Lacks legitimate knockout power
  • Too much “Matador” and not enough “Bull”
  • Will be fighting in a hostile environment
Omar Narvaez was a very accomplished amateur fighter, and as a flyweight he successfully defended his WBO title a staggering 16 times.  Of course that was as a flyweight, and nearly three years ago (what a difference a few pounds and a little bit of time can make).  Now Narvaez, at age 36, is still a good junior bantamweight, but his performance against Nonito Donaire was so disappointing that I am at odds with giving him “elite” standing.  At 115 pounds he has beaten Everth Briceno and Cesar Ceda, but against busier fighters with good power it’s anybody’s guess how he will perform.  Fortunately, for Narvaez and the throngs of Argentineans in attendance, I don’t think Cabrera has the power, nor the offensive mindset to pull off the upset here.  I think Cabrera will box and move and frustrate Narvaez at times, but I think Narvaez will win rounds by simply coming forward.  Not a terribly thrilling fight, but a win for Narvaez nonetheless.

(Narvaez by unanimous decision)

Karoly Balzsay vs. Dimitri Sartison (WBA  Super Middleweight Title) April 21, 2012, Schwerin, Germany

Karoly Balzsay 24-2 (17)

Dimitri Sartison 29-1 (18)

  • Boxrec.com #38
  • Lost close fights to Eduard Gutknecht and Robert Stieglitz
  • A Hungarian fighting in Germany
  • Was an exceptional amateur (231-2-27) losing to Cuban Yordanis Despaign in the 2004 Olympics
  • Too defensive at times (covers up and doesn’t throw)
  • A little too stationary
  •  Boxrec.com #17
  • Only loss was to Mikkel Kessler June of 2008
  • Has won 7 fights in a row, including solid victories over Stejepan Bozic and Khoren Gevor
  • Was a good amateur (95-18-2)
  • Gets hit too much
  • Not terribly accurate
In his last fight, Karoly Balzsay was a bit underwhelming in a split decision victory over Stanyslav Kashtanov.  He seemed to wait for opportunities to throw while his opponent capitalized on his idleness.  Balzsay is a technical fighter, with good defense and precision, but against Sartison he will need to be busier if he wants to win the close rounds, particularly given that he is fighting in enemy territory.  This fight could be a twelve round chess match, with brief moments of exchange, and a very subjective final scoring.  I think Balzsay will probably land more of the better punches in the fight, but Sartison will likely be busier, and therefore more impressive to the judges.

(Sartison by unanimous decision)

Anthony Crolla vs. Derry Mathews (British Lightweight Title) April 21, 2012, Oldham, England

Anthony Crolla 23-2 (9)

Derry Mathews 29-6-1 (15)

  • Boxrec.com #27
  • Lacks knockout power
  • Only one loss in his last 16 fights (to Gary Sykes in May of 2009)
  • Never been stopped
  • Has good hand speed and a tight defense
  •  Boxrec.com #77
  • Was TKO’d in his last fight
  • Fought Gavin Rees close for 3 rounds last October before the fight was stopped on cuts
  • Has been KO’d 6 times in his career
  • Lost in the super featherweight Prizefighter tournament finals
Derry Mathews is an exciting fighter that likes to mix it up, but he leaves himself open when he goes on offense, making him susceptible to the knockout (as has been the case 6 times previously).  Crolla, on the other hand, also likes to stand toe to toe, but his defense is slightly more effective, and his chin is definitely better.  While Crolla does not have a tremendous amount of power, he does throw straighter punches and tighter hooks, which should ensure that his punches reach their target first.  If things play out in the center of the ring (as both are accustomed) than I think the advantage lies with Crolla.  In the end, it should be an exciting matchup, but Mathews, as usual, will fight like a true warrior, and get carried out on his shield like one.

(Crolla by 9th round TKO)

James DeGale vs. Cristian Sanavia (European Super Middleweight Title) April 21, 2012, Frederikshavn, Denmark

James DeGale

Cristian Sanavia

  • Boxrec.com #19
  • Lost a close majority decision to another highly touted prospect, George Groves, in May of last year
  • British Olympic Gold Medalist as a middleweight  in 2008
  •  Boxrec.com #72
  • His last 5 opponents had a combined record of 41-45-3
  • Has a record of 2-4-1 when fighting outside of Italy
  • Is experienced, but also 37 years old
There are still a lot of high hopes for the former Gold Medalist, James DeGale, despite his loss at the hands of George Groves back in May of last year.  When he boxes and uses his jab, De Gale is a very tough fighter to beat.  Unfortunately, as he begins to tire he gets a little lazy, starts clinching, and starts throwing punches wide.  If DeGale stands stationary and fights down to Sanavia, he will be in for another close fight.  Sanavia lost a very close decision to Karo Murat (boxrec.com’s current #14) back in April of 2008.  Granted, that was 4 years ago, but after giving Degale the benefit of the doubt on numerous occasions, I now think he is destined to win or lose by the slightest of margins.  DeGale has youth, speed, better boxing skills, and better defense, but it all depends on whether he fights to his potential.  This should be an easy win for him; but I just don’t know anymore.

(DeGale by 2-3 point unanimous decision)

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Brandon Rios-Richard Abril Preview

Brandon Rios vs. Richard Abril

(WBA “interim” Lightweight Title)

12 Rounds, Las Vegas, NV, April 21, 2012 (HBO PPV)

Brandon Rios, one of the most exciting and controversial figures in the sport of boxing today, takes on a tough Cuban challenger, Richard Abril, for WBA “interim” lightweight honors this Saturday in Las Vegas.  Since October of 2008, Rios has won 10 of 11 fights by knockout, he has pushed his undefeated record to 29-0-1 (22), and he has earned a spot just below Juan Manuel Marquez as the worlds 2nd best lightweight according to Ring Magazine.  The guys hits and gets hit, and his boisterous attitude and press conference antics have made him a source of major fascination to fight fans all over the world.  

This Saturday, Rios faces Richard Abril, a Cuban with a record of 17-2-1, including 8 knockouts, and a boxrec.com ranking of #10.  Abril has won five fights in a row, including an impressive decision victory over Miguel Acosta in his last fight, and the only two blemishes on his record to date were split decision nods to Breidis Prescott and Hank Lundy in 2008 and 2010 respectively. 

If hatred between two fighters has anything to do with the making of an entertaining fight (and is there anyone out there Brandon Rios doesn’t hate?) than this one certainly has all the components of a scorcher.  These two have already traded barbs at the press conference, and there demeanor towards one another has been anything but civil.  It should be a good one, so if you find yourself in a “pay per view mood,” then tune in to watch Brandon Rios and Richard Abril settle their personal dispute in a “civilized” way.

Brandon Rios

29-0-1 (22)

 

Richard Abril

17-2-1 (8)

A

Opposition & Experience

B+

A

Punch Output

B

B+

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

B

A+

Aggression

B-

A

Power

C

B

Hand Speed

B+

C

Defense

B+

A

Chin

A

B+

Conditioning

B+

B+

Punch Accuracy

B

The Break Down

Brandon Rios is an extremely aggressive fighter, with excellent stamina, punching power, and resiliency.  If you stand directly in front of him (as John Murray did in his last fight) you are assured to get the beat down of a lifetime.  In fact, getting knocked out early (as Urbano Antillon did) may be a much better option than taking round after round of punishment (as John Murray did).  Rios throws a tremendous amount of punches (over 1000 in his last fight), and while he does not overwhelm with blazing hand speed, his systematic, relentless attack is usually enough to wear his opponents down by fights’ end.  In addition, he is an accurate puncher (landing 37% against Murray) and he is capable of carrying power well into the later rounds.  If he presses the action and doesn’t give Abril room to breathe he will be tough to beat.

For Abril, movement is key.  He has a three inch height advantage, and if can make use of his long, rangy jab, he may be able to create the space needed to land his straight rights.  He is the faster of the two, and his defense is better than average, so by playing to these strengths and circling and countering, he can increase his chances of not getting drawn into a war; because if the heat gets turned up, then Abril will resort to throwing looping, wide punches as he did against Daniel Rosas, and if he does, Rios definitely has the power to end things early.

Conclusion

In this fight you have Rios’ aggression, experience, power, and accuracy against Abril’s defense and hand speed.  Depending on which strategy Abril chooses to employ, he will either be beaten thoroughly over twelve rounds, or he will be beaten narrowly over twelve rounds.  I don’t see how hand speed and defense alone will be able to keep Rios at bay, particularly after Rios has declared psychological warfare.  Rios is a loose cannon who knows how to play head games with the best of them, and I think Abril will have a hard time matching him in either skill or crazy.

In my opinion, the only way to beat Brandon Rios is to use every available inch of ring space, throw lightening fast combinations, and disappear before he has a chance to come looking for you.  It also helps to be incredibly talented.  Yuriorkis Gamboa is capable pulling off such a game plan.  Unfortunately, I don’t think Richard Abril is.

(Rios by 8th round TKO)

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Fight Predictions for April 8 to April 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shinsuke Yamanaka-Vic Darchinyan Preview

Shinsuke Yamanaka vs. Vic Darchinyan

(WBC Bantamweight Title)

12 Rounds, Tokyo, Japan, April 6, 2012

This week we travel to Tokyo, Japan for a showdown between top five bantamweights Shinsuke Yamanaka and Vic Darchinyan for WBC title honors.  Yamanaka, the current champion, enters this fight rated as the 3rd overall bantamweight according to boxrec.com, with a record of 15-0-2, including 11 knockouts.  In just his 14th professional bout, Yamanaka claimed the Japanese Bantamweight Title, and in his last outing he registered a convincing TKO victory over Christian Esquivel to earn world recognition.  Now, he has positioned himself at the top of the division and he must face a tough former champion if he hopes to remain there.

Vic Darchinyan, a former 2-division world champion with eleven years experience and an overall record of 37-4-1 with 27 KO’s, had 24 fights under his belt before Yamanaka evened turned pro.  He has seen it all and done it all.  The question is, does he still have the skill and desire to make another run at a championship, or does the current champion, who is 7 years younger, continue with his reign? We will have to wait and see.

Shinsuke Yamanaka

15-0-2 (11)

 

Vic Darchinyan

37-4-1 (27)

C+

Opposition & Experience

A+

B

Punch Output

B+

B

Boxing Ability & Intangibles

B+

B

Aggression

A

B+

Power

B+

B+

Hand Speed

B

B

Defense

B-

A-

Chin

A-

B+

Conditioning

B+

A

Punch Accuracy

C+

The Break Down

Yamanaka is a tricky southpaw with good skills and even better power.  Against Christian Esquivel he did a good job of using his legs to bounce in and out, while also making use of his good jab and 1-2 combinations.  Esquivel pursued him, and landed a good number of straight right hands, but Yamanka boxed well from the outside, and utilized his better hand speed to get his own straight lefts in.  Against Darchinyan, however, who has a more complete arsenal, and is more effective in pursuit, Yamanaka will need to keep his back off the ropes and work to keep Darchinyan off of him. 

Darchinyan’s advantage in this fight is his experience.  He has been here many times before and he knows exactly what to expect, while Yamanaka, on the other hand, has never fought outside of Japan.  Darchinyan will likely press the action and make it ugly at times, utilizing his bullish tactics to crowd and frustrate the champion.  He is well conditioned, and virtually bullet proof, and while he does punch with power, he hasn’t recorded a knockout in over two years (a period of 6 fights.)    

Against Anselmo Moreno, Darchinyan was statistically awful.  He averaged just 46 punches a round, and landed just 18% of his total punches and 22% of his power shots.  As a result, Darchinyan (frustrated and out of sorts), lost easily by scores of 116-111, 117-110, and 120-107.  Granted, Yamanaka is no Moreno defensively (few are) but if Darchinyan wants to have success in Japan he must force Yamanaka into a slugfest and land the cleaner, harder punches, and possibly score a knockdown or two if he wants to come away with a decision in enemy territory.  

Conclusion

In order to believe that Vic Darchinyan has a chance to reclaim his divisional prestige (and another title), then you must be willing to overlook his most recent performance against Anselmo Moreno and chalk up the loss to Moreno just having his number.  Personally, I think Darchinyan’s performances against Yonnhy Perez, Evans Mbamba Abner Mares and Tomas Rojas are more indicative of what he is capable of, and I think style-wise, the Moreno fight was just a bad matchup for the hard punching Armenian.  Keeping that in mind, Yamanaka is not the defensive specialist that Moreno is, therefore, Darchinyan should be much more successful with a guy that presents less movement.

This a terribly difficult fight to predict.  I think Yamanaka has the better hand speed, the better defense, and the better accuracy, and he is younger, with a 2 inch height advantage and a 4 inch reach advantage.  While, Darchinyan, on the other hand, is busier, more aggressive and far more experienced.  In the end, I think it comes down to whether Yamanaka can stand up to the pressure, and take the punishment.  If Darchinyan can’t hurt him, then I think the advantages of hand speed, defense, and punching accuracy win out.  If however, Darchinyan makes good on his promise to make this a war, than Yamanaka will be facing pressure unlike anything he has ever seen, and the “intangibles,” motivation, and experience of the veteran will be the deciding factor, as he breaks his “knockout-less” streak and gets his 3rd world title.       

(Darchinyan by 10th round TKO)

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Fight Predictions for April 1 to April 7

Fight Predictions for April 1 to April 7

Date and Time (EST)

Event

Channel

April 4, 2012

Tomonobu Shimizu vs. Tepparith Kokietgym (WBA Jr. Bantamweight Title)

Kanagawa, Japan

Tomonubu Shimizu makes the first defense of his WBA title this week against the highly regarded Thai fighter, Tepparith Kokietgym.  Shimizu won the title last August with a narrow split decision victory over Hugo Cazares, improving to 19-3-1 and upping his boxrec.com ranking to #4.  In his first test as champion, he is in with a very accurate and calculating puncher with excellent hand speed, who is 19-2 with 12 knockouts, and rated second overall at junior bantamweight according to boxrec.com.  Kokietgym is a very talented fighter, and he proved that in recent back to back wins over Drian Francisco and Daiki Komeda. This is a very evenly matched contest between two very good fighters with completely different styles.  Shimizu is a little busier, wilder, and not as accomplished on defense, while Kokietgym is a little more conservative, and a little more fundamentally sound.  It should be a very evenly contested and exciting bout, with both fighters finding equal success throughout.  In the end, however, after watching film of Shimizu against Cazares, and Kokietgym against Daiki Komeda, I think the sharp counter punching and power of Kokietgym will be the deciding factor, and I expect the challenger to go into the champion’s backyard and come away with the title.

(Kokietgym by unanimous decision)

April 4, 2012

Koki Kameda vs. Nouldy Manakane (WBA Bantamweight Title)

Kanagawa, Japan

Koki Kameda, the current WBA bantamweight titlist, is 27-1 with 17 knockouts, and his only loss to date was a majority decision nod to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in March of 2010.  Since then, he has won five straight, including 3 successful defenses of his WBA title.  He moves well, he punches well in combination, and he throws a nice lead right hook out of a southpaw stance.  Occasionally he covers up and allows his opponent to outwork him (as he did against David De la Mora), however, I expect Kameda to be the aggressor in this fight, and look for an early exit for himself.  Manakane, a 28-year old Indonesian with a record of 24-10-1, has won 7 fights in a row; however, those wins have come against a relatively inexperienced crop of opponents, which could have hardly been preparation enough for what he will see on this night.  Manakane has also never fought outside of Indonesia, and I would wager that his first trip abroad will not be met with any measure of suitable success.

(Kameda by 7th round TKO)

April 4, 2012

Daiki Kameda vs. Pompetch Twins Gym (Jr. Bantamweights)

Kanagawa, Japan

Rounding out the “Komeda themed” card from Japan is younger brother Daiki, who looks to bounce back from his recent loss to Tepparith Kokietgym in December of last year.  Daiki is 23 years old, he is 22-3 with 14 knockouts, and he is currently rated #9 according to boxrec.com at 115 pounds.  Since turning pro in February of 2006, Kameda has stayed very active (outside of a brief suspension in 2007 for “using dirty tactics” against Daisuke Naito), averaging around 4 fights a year, and losing only to Naito, Denkaosan Kaovichit, and most recently, Kokietgym.    His opponent in this fight is Pompetch Twins Gym, a fighter from Thailand, who despite a decent record of 15-3 (4), has limited experience fighting at this level.  He did lose to Rodel Mayol In November of 2010, but his 17 other fights consisted of 6 fighters making their professional debuts, and 8 fighters with less than 5 fights’ worth of experience.  I think Twins Gym will have a hard time dealing with Kameda’s height and his punishing jab, and as a result, I expect the hometown Kameda to control/dominate the action in this one, en route to claiming an easy bounce back, confidence restoring victory for himself.

(Komeda by 3rd round KO)

April 4, 2012

Denis Lebedev vs. Shawn Cox (Cruiserweights)

Myakinino, Russia

Denis Lebedev, fresh off of victories over Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney, looks to defend his WBA “interim” cruiserweight title against a hard punching challenger from Barbados, 16-1, Shawn Cox.  Lebedev, an aggressive, brawling type of fighter, is 23-1 with 17 knockouts, and his only loss occurred at the hands of Marco Huck back in December of 2010.  He is not the most talented boxer I have seen, but he moves his head well enough, and he has just enough skill to make him dangerous.  In this fight, Lebedev faces a difficult test in the form of a 6’1” southpaw known as “The Sniper.”  Cox is a big strong guy with a devastating left hand that is responsible for terminating 15 of his 17 opponents inside the distance (9 in the first round, and 15 inside of three).  After watching Cox’s one round destruction of Wayne Braithwaite in his last fight, I am convinced that Lebedev will not have an easy go of things in this fight.  Obviously, Cox is lacking experience at this level, but the little that I have seen of him has me convinced that he could give Lebedev a very tough and challenging fight.  I don’t think he will win, but I don’t see it as a one-sided mismatch either.

(Lebedev in a late round stoppage)

April 4, 2012

Alexander Bakhtin vs. Nehomar Cermeno

Myakinino, Russia

Alexander Bakhtin is a 30-year old junior featherweight from Russia with a record 28-0 including 11 wins by knockout.  As an amateur, Bakhtin posted an incredible 124-4 record, and as a professional he has established himself as a legitimate title hopeful.  So far, he has beaten some ageing veteran fighters, but has yet to face a step up in competition that would offer valuable insight on the true nature of his abilities.  Nehomar Cermeno may just be the fighter to test the prospect and let us know what kind of potential we are dealing with.  Cermeno is 20-4-1 with 12 knockouts, he has been fighting professionally for almost 8 years, and all 4 of his losses have come against exceptional opposition (Victor Terrazas, Fernando Montiel, and two split decision loses to Anselmo Moreno).  Cermeno is experienced, he’s only been stopped once, and he is certainly capable of offering up a legitimate test for the unproven prospect.  In the end, I think the younger, more balanced attack of Bakhtin, combined with his amateur pedigree and his height and reach advantage will be enough to secure him a victory over the durable veteran.

(Bakhtin by unanimous decision)

April 5, 2012

Lukas Konecny vs. Salim Larbi (Jr. Middleweight)

Brno, Czech Republic

Lukas Konecny is a 33-year old junior middleweight from the Czech Republic with 47 wins, only 3 losses, and 22 wins coming by way of knockout.  Currently rated #13 by boxrec.com, Konecny has won his last 11 fights in a row, and he picked up the EBU junior middleweight title in September of 2010 with a 6thround TKO of 23-2 Matthew Hall in the UK.  Konecny definitely employs a European style when he fights, relying little on movement, standing relatively straight up, and keeping a high guard.  He does have better than average hand speed, however, and he looks like he hits harder than his 44% career knockout percentage would suggest.  In this fight, Konecny faces a Frenchman with a 17-1-1 record, named Salim Larbi, who is very short on experience, but undefeated in his last 16 fights.  I don’t know much about Larbi (who is ranked #102 by boxrec.com), but I have seen a number of fights involving Konecny, and I think his effective pressure and skill (the kind he displayed in a majority decision loss to Serhiy Dzinziruk in 2008) will be more than enough for him to get the win in this fight.

(Konecny by 7th round TKO)

April 6, 2012

Takahiro Ao vs. Terdsak Jandaeng (WBC Jr. Lightweight Title)

Tokyo, Japan

Takahiro Ao, Ring Magazine’s #5 junior lightweight, defends his WBC title for the third time this weekend against Terdsak Kokietgym in Tokyo, Japan.  Ao is 22-2-1 with 10 knockouts and he has won five fights in a row since losing to Elio Rojas in July of 2009.  In this fight, he faces an aggressive fighter from Thailand named Terdsak Jandaeng, who sports a record of 46-3-1 including 31 knockouts.  Jandaeng likes to come forward and press the action, but he stands very stationary, and throws wide, winging punches with little accuracy.  In addition, he has never notched a big name opponent (despite having had opportunities against Juan Manuel Marquez, Steve Leuvano, and Joan Guzman), and I doubt that his fight with Ao will produce any different results.  Ao is very poised, he is a good counter puncher with good head movement, he controls the distance well with his jab, and he has the better boxing ability and hand speed.  In fact, there is little about this fight that doesn’t favor Ao to win, which means the champion should remain so, after it’s all said and done.

(Ao by unanimous decision)

April 6, 2012

Shinsuke Yamanaka vs. Vic Darchinyan (WBC Bantamweight Title)

Tokyo, Japan

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

April 6, 2012

Hozumi Hasegawa vs. Felipe Carlos Felix (Featherweights)

Tokyo, Japan

Hozumi Hasegawa is looking to get back on track after suffering losses in two of his last three fights.  He was stopped in 4 rounds by Fernando Montiel in April of 2010, and almost a year to the day, he was TKO’d (again in round 4) by Jhonny Gonzalez.  In between those two fights, however, Hasegawa managed to collect a unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos, the current 4thrated junior lightweight, which by my standards, still makes him a very capable and dangerous fighter at 126 pounds.  Hasegawa is 29-4 with 12 knockouts, he is currently rated #13 by boxrec.com, and he is facing an undefeated (and untested) fighter from Mexico named Felipe Carlos Felix.  In his 18 fights, Felix has only faced 2 opponents that had winning records at the time, making this fight with Hasegawa a COLOSSAL step up for him.  I don’t know much about Felipe, but I know Hasegawa is still the real deal, and I have no choice but to side with him in this matchup.

(Hasegawa by 5th round KO)

April 6, 2012

Darley Perez vs. Alain Hernandez (Lightweights)

Ontario, CA

Darley Perez is a young, undefeated prospect who is loaded with potential and looking to gain a bit more exposure for himself.  He was an exceptional amateur (representing Colombia in the 2008 Olympic games) with 220 bouts, and as a professional he is 24-0 with 18 knockouts and currently rated #36 as a lightweight.  In terms of skill I believe he is equal to many of the top prospects in the game today, and I think he is getting close to landing a signature fight sometime in the near future.  Unfortunately, this fight ain’t it.  Alain Hernandez is 18-9-2 with 10 knockouts, he has been knocked out in each of his last two fights (and 6 fights total) and the record of the last 4 fighters he has beaten is a paltry 2-41-1.  Expect Perez to put on a clinic.

(Perez by 3rd round KO)

April 7, 2012

Juan Carlos Sanchez vs. Juan Alberto Rosas (IBF Jr. Bantamweight Title)

Mexico

Juan Carlos Sanchez is set to defend his IBF junior bantamweight title this weekend against the tough, experienced Juan Alberto Rosas.  Sanchez won the title with a unanimous decision over 16-3-1 Rodrigo Guerrero on February 11th of this year (improving his record to 13-1-1 with 7 knockouts), and for his first defense, he has chosen a difficult opponent.   Juan Alberto Rosas is 27-years old, he is 36-6 with 27 knockouts, and he is currently rated #10 by boxrec.com.  Rosas has been in with A.J. Banal, Fernando Montiel, Simphiwe Nongqayi, Cristian Mijares, and Fernado Vargas, just to name a few.  He is an aggressive, slightly one-dimensional fighter, but he has decent power, he throws a lot of punches, and he is difficult to hurt.  I think the 21-year old Sanchez, who has only been in one fight scheduled for more than eight rounds, is in for a difficult and pressure filled evening.  Cristian Mijares was able to deal with the pressure of Rosas, and outbox him in a close decision, but I don’t think Sanchez has reached the level of experience necessary to do the same.

(Rosas by close decision)

April 7, 2012

Edgar Sosa vs. Wilbert Uicab (WBC Silver Flyweight Title)

Cancun, Mexico

Edgar Sosa, at age 32, is a 12 year ring veteran whose career is in a bit of a decline.  Since December of 2003, Sosa has only lost twice (to Rodel Mayol in November of 2009 and to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in October of last year).  Along the way he has beaten some excellent fighters, like Gilberto Keb Bass, Luis Lazarte, Brian Viloria, Sonny Boy Jaro, and Pornsawan Porpramook.  Unfortunately his last big win was nearly three years ago, and while he is still very competent, he is not quite at the level he used to be.  In this fight, he faces a tough Mexican who has won 14 out of his last 15 fights, losing only to 5thrated Toshiyuki Igarashi in his last fight. In that fight Uicab was not busy enough, and Igarashi stole a lot of the idle moments.  He also missed wildly at times, and was hit often with shorter, straighter punches.  It’s difficult to know for sure just how much Sosa has left at this point, but I think there are still a few surprises left in him, and a few more rounds under the bright lights.

(Sosa by close decision)

April 7, 2012

Ronny Rios vs. Gilberto Sanchez

Anaheim, CA

If you happen to have access to the Telefutura network this Saturday, it may be worth your time to watch 22-year old, undefeated prospect, Ronny Rios display his skills.  Rios, an accomplished amateur (the 2007 National Golden Gloves Champion, and 2 time U.S. Amateur Champion) has won all 17 of his professional bouts (8 by KO), and he looks to impress once again at the Phoenix Club in his hometown of Anaheim, California.  Rios is incredibly quick and powerful, and he is exceptionally well schooled.  He comes in with his hands high and unloads blistering combinations with bad intentions.  He still has a way to go before being officially classified as a true contender, but at this point, I think he is well on his way to stardom.

(Rios by 5th round KO)

April 7, 2012

Jamey Toney vs. Bobby Gunn (Heavyweights)

Southhaven, MS

Some guys just don’t know when to say when.  In the case of James Toney, “when” should have been the early part of the last decade.  Unfortunately, at age 43, he is in his third decade as a professional (with 85 fights under his “expanded” belt), and he is still suffering from championship delusions of grandeur.  He will likely go down as one of the best super middleweights of all time; however, his recent mediocre victories, as well as his humiliating losses, are just tarnishing his legacy at this point.  I mean outside of wrestling bears and or alligators, there is little else he hasn’t done involving combat sports.  Now, he is facing a guy who was supposedly some sort of bare-knuckle champion, who sadly enough, will still probably put up a good fight against him.  Gunn is 21-4-1 with 18 knockouts, and he has fought some good fighters (Tomasz Adamek for the IBF cruiserweight title in 2009, and Enzo Maccarinelli for the WBO cruiserweight title in 2007), but he was not competitive in either contest.  Now, Gunn is approaching 40 years of age himself, and hasn’t fought in nearly three years.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he actually kept this thing close, but there is no way I can pick him to win.

(Toney by 8th round TKO)

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