by Cliff Rold
With three big fights, on two separate broadcasts, boxing fans can look forward to a second consecutive weekend of high quality boxing. All three fights feature top ten talents. All three look competitive.
Even the Heavyweights.
Last weekend, one hoped to find a good fight among the big men. Hope was realized. This weekend, the fight looks good going in and, if it exceeds expectation, we are staring at a real potential gem.
Let’s go to the report cards.
Title: WBA Heavyweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense)
Previous Titles: None
Weight: 229 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 227.8 lbs.
Hails from: Chekhov, Russia
Record: 23-0, 16 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #2 at Heavyweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-0, 1 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 2 (Chris Byrd, Ruslan Chagaev)
Title: WBO Cruiserweight (2009-Present, 8 KO)
Previous Titles: None
Height: 6’1 ½
Weight: 209 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 198.35 lbs.
Hails from: Berlin, Germany
Record: 34-1, 25 KO, 1 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #2 at Cruiserweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 9-1, 5 KO, 1 KOBY
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 2 (Victor Ramirez, Hugo Garay)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Steve Cunningham)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Povetkin B; Huck B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Povetkin B+; Huck B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Povetkin B; Huck B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Povetkin B; Huck B
This has all the makings of a good fight. Huck has been a consistent force at Cruiserweight and makes a strong start at Heavyweight in challenging a former Olympic Gold Medalist. Povetkin has been steady, beating down veteran Chris Byrd, overcoming an early lead against Eddie Chambers to win a decision, and pushing through strong against rugged Ruslan Chagaev. Huck offers a speed problem most akin to Chambers but with different technique and more pop. While giving up twenty pounds, Huck has the chance to stay a step ahead with quicker hands against a Povetkin who is both hittable and sometimes plodding. Huck has been stopped before, against a much lesser puncher than Povetkin, and that’s where the big question lies. Huck isn’t afraid to mix it up. Can he hang with Povetkin inside as the rounds wear on?
Epix will broadcast the answer.
HBO will present different questions, and answers, on Boxing After Dark.
Title/Previous Titles: WBA Jr. Welterweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense)
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 139.5 lbs.
Hails from: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Record: 31-2, 28 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #4 at Jr. Welterweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-2, 2 KO (6-2, 4 KO including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 3 (Victor Ortiz, DeMarcus Corley, Erik Morales)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 2 (Andriy Kotelnik, Amir Khan)
Previous Titles: WBC Jr. Welterweight (2009-2011, 2 Defenses); IBF Jr. Welterweight (2010, 1 Defense)
Weight: 146.5 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 139.2 lbs.
Hails from: St. Louis, Missouri
Record: 22-1, 13 KO
Bo xingScene Rank: #5 at Jr. Welterweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 3-1, 2 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 4 (DeMarcus Corley, Junior Witter, Juan Urango, Andriy Kotelnik)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Timothy Bradley)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Alexander A; Maidana B
Pre-Fight: Power – Alexander B; Maidana A
Pre-Fight: Defense – Alexander B+; Maidana C
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Alexander B; Maidana A
This clash of former Jr. Welterweight beltholders, entering the Welterweight waters, has big questions for both. Can Maidana catch up to the slicker man with only ten rounds to play with? Can Alexander, who has struggled with accuracy is his last three fights, consistently find Maidana? The answer to that one seems obvious; Maidana isn’t hard to find. That makes the follow-up question more important: what happens when Maidana keeps coming. Maidana is a tenacious, heavy-handed force that can wear at the wills of more skilled men. Andriy Kotelnik, who was unfortunate in a decision loss to Alexander, barely got by Maidana. Many thought the Argentine did enough to win. Amir Khan had to survive a vicious battle with more dynamic talent than Alexander. Where Alexander could benefit here is in his patient approach. He plays the game knowing he has to win rounds. Maidana plays against the concept.
Title/Previous Titles: WBO Jr. Lightweight (2011-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Weight: 130 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 131.2 lbs.
Hails from: Cincinnati, Ohio
Record: 22-0, 18 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #5 at Jr. Lightweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0, 1 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Daniel Ponce De Leon)
Title: 1st Title Opportunity
Weight: 130 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 130 lbs.
Hails from: Salinas, California
Record: 23-0-2, 7 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #9 at Jr. Lightweight
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 0
Pre-Fight: Speed – Broner A; Perez B
Pre-Fight: Power – Broner A; Perez B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Broner B+; Perez B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Broner B; Perez B+
Perez has scored some nice knockouts, in particular a bombing of veteran Daniel Jimenez. Power isn’t his game though. He presses, lets his hands go, and remembers to work the body. Broner is slick, quick, and can pop. Where the fledgling Jr. Lightweight titlist gets in trouble is in sometimes resorting to pot-shotting instead of consistent offense. Against most of the men he’s faced, their inferior quality meant it didn’t matter. Perez is a step up from the likes of Jason Litzau and Vicente Rodriguez, possessing a volume and willingness to come forward that Daniel Ponce De Leon did in testing Broner last year. Conversely, Broner is a step up from everything Perez has seen as well. We really don’t know who these fighters are yet. Both in their 20s, this is where we start to find out. Fights between young, hungry fighters have a way of turning into, well, fights. This could steal the show from Maidana-Alexander.
At Heavyweight, there are those leaning towards Huck for the upset. Povetkin enters without trainer Teddy Atlas. Could turmoil be an issue? It might be, but is Huck good enough to make it count? While consistent at Cruiserweight, he hasn’t beaten fighters as good as Byrd, Chambers, and Chagaev. A stoppage to Cunningham, in a long grueling battle, is a red flag. A narrow escape versus Denis Lebedev is as well. Povetkin promises to be a true physical threat and will be there, chipping away with a tough right hand and solid body attack, all night. It will be too much for Huck. The choice is Povetkin by stoppage sometime around the tenth.
At Welterweight, this is Alexander’s make or break moment. In his last three fights, he's struggled to figure out who he is. Maidana makes everyone tell the truth on that question. Either Alexander wins this going away or he gets broken. I vote for the latter as he has to have doubt creeping in. He won't have the trouble finding Maidana he has had in previous fights. The problem will be when Maidana keeps coming. The pick here is for Maidana to overcome an early deficit in scoring to post a stoppage in the final round.
Finally, we come to the clash of the young tigers. If Perez were a bigger puncher, he’d be favored. He's not. Broner has a ton of talent and almost as much attitude. It's enough to stay a step ahead for most of the night with some really good action in spots after building an early lead. Look for Broner to post a unanimous decision win.
Report Card Picks 2012: 6-1
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Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com