by Cliff Rold
One is an organic grudge match, born in a hail of trash talk and broken glass. The other became a grudge match when religion was mixed with otherwise polite discussion. Both fill the quotient nicely for a full fight docket on Saturday.
And one need not choose between the two shows. This is no Mexican (Independence Day) Standoff. For the second week in a row, it’s old school style with fights both day and night and time to eat in between.
The Heavyweights go early (on U.S. TV), the Jr. Welterweights go last, and, readers…
Let’s go to the report cards.
The LedgersDavid Haye
Previous Titles: Lineal World/WBC/WBA Cruiserweight (2007-08, 1 Defense); WBO Cruiserweight (2008); WBA Heavyweight (2009-11, 2 Defenses)
Weight: 210 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 215 lbs.
Hails from: London, United Kingdom
Record: 25-2, 23 KO, 1 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #4 at Heavyweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 5-1, 4 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 5 (Giacobbe Fragomeni, Jean-Marc Mormeck, Enzo Maccarinelli, Nikolay Valuev, John Ruiz)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 2 (Carl Thompson, Wladimir Klitschko)
Titles/Previous Titles: None
Height: 6’1 ½
Weight: 247 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 246.15 lbs.
Hails from: London, United Kingdom (Born in Zimbabwe)
Record: 15-3, 9 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #7 at Heavyweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 0-1
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 0
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Vitali Klitschko)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Haye A; Chisora B
Pre-Fight: Power – Haye A-; Chisora B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Haye B+; Chisora B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Haye B-; Chisora B+
This is a fight that could turn stinker depending on one key question: can Chisora force Haye to stand still? Haye is no volume puncher. He waits for spots and uses his legs. Blessed with greater speed, if he plays to potshot all night against Chisora, this could get ugly.
Where Chisora can make intrigue is with the pressure he exerts. He comes forward and doesn’t ignore the body. If he can force spots of firefighting, he will force Haye to throw and we’ll see some power punching. Haye is better with a single shot but his chin is also more vulnerable.
And then there is the bad blood. These two don’t like each other. Will it make Haye fight more? Could Haye already be wondering what affect his power will have given he landed a mighty sucker punch on Chisora at the Chisora-Vitali Klitschko post-presser and didn’t budge the Zimbabwean?
There is also the issue of weight. Chisora came in a smidge heavier than he did for Vitali and, in a fight where he suffers a deficit of speed, he may have wanted to come in lighter. If he stays a step behind, and he’s likely to start there early, he’ll wish he’d done more roadwork.
Hours after the big British Heavyweight showdown ends, the Brits biggest lower weight star goes to scratch.
Titles: WBA Jr. Welterweight (2012-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Previous Titles: WBA Light Welterweight (2009-11, 5 Defenses); IBF Light Welterweight (2011)
Weight: 139 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 139.5 lbs.
Hails from: Bolton, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Record: 26-2, 18 KO, 1 KOBY
BoxingScene Rank: #2 at Jr. Welterweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 6-1, 3 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 5 (Gairy St. Clair, Marco Antonio Barrera, Andriy Kotelnik, Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Lamont Peterson)
Titles/Previous Titles: WBC Super Lightweight (2012-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Weight: 139 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 140.4 lbs.
Hails from: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Record: 23-0, 14 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #3 at Jr. Welterweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 3 (Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt, Erik Morales)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Khan A+; Garcia B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Khan B+; Garcia B+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Khan B; Garcia B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Khan A; Garcia A
Amir Khan has almost every advantage in this fight. He’s taller, quicker, and hits harder. He also has faced superior opposition.
Danny Garcia still has a shot.
It’s part of what makes Khan so much fun to watch. Not since Terry Norris has there been a fighter with so much talent and so much vulnerability. Khan may only have been stopped once, but he’s been badly rocked multiple times and usually makes war of it. Garcia isn’t a big puncher, but it doesn’t take a big puncher to hurt Khan.
The key for Garcia is to get inside. Khan is skilled at distance, has good footwork on the move, but inside is still sketchy. If Garcia stays at range, he gets tagged. In close, he can force Khan into the same shoving and whining posture he had against Lamont Peterson.
Is Garcia good enough to get close and stay there? He’s going to have to eat leather to find out.
Starting at 140, Garcia has his chances. Khan is not a good inside fighter, relying on clinching and pushing instead of punching too often. If Garcia can get close, he can land short shots and make things happen. Garcia isn’t a monster puncher but he was able to drop the aged Morales whose chin is probably still more reliable than Khan’s. If he can rock Khan, this will be a firefight. The problem will be getting inside. Garcia doesn’t have the physical strength Peterson used (if aided) against Khan and the speed gap is palpable. Khan will be hard to find if he stays outside and Garcia is going to eat shots coming forward. This is a good fighter versus a better one with great talent. Look for Khan to score the stop in the last third of the fight.
At Heavyweight, we know Chisora can take a shot. He’s eaten big ones from Tyson Fury, Robert Helenius, and Klitschko. He’s never seen someone with the speed to unload the single, explosive shots Haye has. The thinking here is the chin holds. Chisora, in the low 240s, can be active and presses all night. His hands are heavy enough if not coma causing, and as the rounds wear on Haye will increasingly be fleeing. He won’t be able to hide all night. Haye has more talent, but of the two recent Klitschko challengers it was Chisora who played the more willing warrior. The pick here is the more natural fighter, Chisora, on a stoppage.
Report Card Picks 2012: 36-11
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 protected]