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Heavyweights and The WBSS: Stats & Stakes

by Cliff Rold

Something for everyone isn’t often a real thing. Given the volume of content available for fights fans right now, there are weekends where it can get real close.

This is one of those weekends. There are more at least a half dozen showson television or streaming services in the US alone. Two of those shows stand out from the crowd and promise a full Saturday for any fight fan.

Live from Glasgow, with undercard action beginning early (DAZN, 2 PM EST), the final semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series at bantamweight and Jr. welterweight lead the way. In the evening (Showtime, 9 PM EST), the biggest puncher in the heavyweight division defends his title in a grudge match.

wilder-breazeale (5)_2

Let’s get into it with a quick look at each of the three best fights of the day on paper.

Stats and Stakes

Deontay Wilder

Age: 33

Title: WBC heavyweight (2015-Present, 8 defenses)

Previous Titles: None

Height: 6’7  

Weight: 223 ¼ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Record: 40-0-1, 39 KO?

Rankings: #2 (ESPN, BoxRec), #3 (TBRB, Ring, Boxing Monthly)

Record in Major Title Fights: 8-0-1, 7 KO

Last Five Opponents: 134-6-3 (.948)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Sergey Lyakhovich KO1; Bermane Stiverne UD12, KO1; Tyson Fury D12

Vs.

Dominic Breazeale

Titles/Previous Titles: None

Age: 33

Height: 6’7 

Weight: 255 ¼ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Glendale, California

Record: 20-1, 18 KO, 1 KOBY

Press Rankings: Unrated

Record in Major Title Fights: 0-1, 1 KOBY 

Last Five Opponents: 101-6-1 (.940)

Current/Former World Champions Faced: Anthony Joshua TKO by 7

The Pick

After going light his last two outings, Wilder has bulked back up to deal with the larger Breazeale. The challenger was down in three straights fights from 2016-17, including his loss to Joshua, but he’s shown the heart to rise and fight back. Wilder showed against Luis Ortiz and Tyson Fury that even against some of the best in class, his power is a bell-to-bell threat. It’s probably too much a threat for Breazeale to overcome but this could be entertaining as hell for a while and with an Olympic background and roughly thirty pounds on Wilder, exchanges could mean drama. The pick here is for the drama to resolve with Wilder still holding the WBC strap with a stoppage.

Naoya Inoue

Age: 25

Title: None (Holds WBA sub-title at 118, 2018-Present, 1 Defense)

Previous Titles: WBC light flyweight (2014, 1 Defense); WBO Jr. bantamweight (2014-18, 7 defenses)

Height: 5’5

Weight: 117 ¾ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

Record: 17-0, 15 KO

Rankings: #1 (TBRB, Ring, Boxing Monthly), #2 (BoxRec, ESPN)

Record in Title Fights: 10-0, 9 KO (12-0, 11 KO including sub-title fights)

Last Five Opponents: 123-11-3 (.909)

WBSS Seed: 2

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Ryoichi Taguchi UD10; Adrian Hernandez TKO6; Omar Narvaez KO2; Kohei Kono TKO6; Jamie McDonnell TKO1; Juan Carlos Payano KO1 

Vs.

Emmanuel Rodriguez

Age: 26

Title: IBF bantamweight (2018-Present, 1 Defense)

Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’6

Weight: 117 ¾ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

Record: 19-0, 12 KO

Press Rankings: #3 (Ring), #5 (Boxing Monthly), #6 (TBRB, ESPN), #8 (BoxRec)

WBSS Seed: 4

Record in Major Title Fights: 2-0

Last Five Opponents: 94-11-1 (.892)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Paul Butler UD12

The Pick

Rodriguez is a hair taller, fundamentally sound, and quick handed with smart combinations. He’s going to need all of that and focused defense against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters and punchers in the world. This is must-see whether Rodriguez can hold Inoue off or not. If he can’t, Inoue can add to his highlight reel. If Rodriguez can, showing that his being a bantamweight far sooner and longer than Inoue matters, this could be a classic battle. No matter how it unfolds, Inoue is the sort of talent one shouldn’t pick against until they lose once. The pick here is Inoue by late stoppage in one of the tougher fights of his career.

Josh Taylor

Age: 28

Title/Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’10

Weight: 140 lbs.

Stance: Southpaw

Hails from: Edinburgh, Scotland

Record: 14-0, 12 KO

Rankings: #2 (TBRB, Ring), #3 (Boxing Monthly, BoxRec), #4 (ESPN)

Record in Title Fights: 1st title opportunity

Last Five Opponents: 135-9-5 (.923)

WBSS Seed: 2

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Miguel Vazquez KO9; Viktor Postol UD12

Vs.

Ivan Baranchyk

Age: 26

Title: IBF Jr. welterweight (2018-present, 1stattempted defense)

Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’8

Weight: 139 ½ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Amursk, Russia

Record: 19-0, 12 KO

Press Rankings: #5 (Ring, ESPN), #6 (Boxing Monthly), #7 (TBRB), #9 (BoxRec)

WBSS Seed: 4

Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0, 1 KO

Last Five Opponents: 102-12-5 (.878)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: None

The Pick

The 2012 Olympian Taylor is a classy boxer-puncher with range, pop, and size for the class. Could that size be a problem this weekend? Taylor struggled to make the division limit of 140 lbs. and, win or lose Saturday, tournament organizers have to be worried now about what that means for the finals. Taylor has to get there first and Baranchyk isn’t going to make that easy. The pressing Russian has heavy hands and a punishing style. He also has a hell of a story of even getting to this fight. Both guys are comfortable fighting at close range and that could make for some real fiery exchanges. Ultimately, Taylor is just more the quicker, more versatile fighter and that will be enough for a decision win here, setting up a final against Regis Prograis.

Additional Weekend Picks

Billy Joe Saunders TKO Shefat Isufi

Gary Russell Jr. KO Kiko Martinez

Rold Picks 2019: 29-9 (Including Williams-Hurd, Navarrete-Dogboe, Berchelt-Vargas)

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by crold1 on 05-18-2019

Oshio: Not by any of the press outlets noted; I don’t use sanctioning body ratings because they are not based on merit, for profit, and don’t inherently rate everyone in a division

Comment by Oshio on 05-18-2019

Breazeale is not ranked?

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (2)
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