Jerry Forrest recognizes that Carlos Takam has faced a much higher level of opposition than him.
The left-handed heavyweight has determined, though, that he has too much boxing ability for the aggressive veteran. Forrest is confident he is plenty equipped to deal with Takam’s pressure and record the biggest victory of his career in their 10-round main event Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Forrest had hoped to expose Jarrell Miller similarly, but Brooklyn’s Miller failed another performance-enhancing drug test late last month and was temporarily suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Takam took Miller’s place on about 10 days’ notice.
“I believe in myself, so whether it was Takam or ‘Big Baby’ Miller, I believe I was gonna win,” Forrest told BoxingScene.com. “Either way, I’m gonna out-box him. It doesn’t matter if it’s him, ‘Big Baby’ Miller or whoever. That’s just the realness of it. I mean, Takam’s a great fighter. But I know he can’t out-box me. I know that for a fact. I know that my power is deceiving. I know I’m gonna be in better in shape. It’s just simple factors that I value that are different for me, that gives me the edge over a lot of fighters.”
Handicappers have made Takam (38-5-1, 28 KOs) a slight favorite before a bout that’ll headline ESPN’s five-fight broadcast from MGM Grand Conference Center (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
The 39-year-old Takam’s past four losses have come against current or former champions Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua, and longtime contender Dereck Chisora. Povetkin, Joshua and Chisora each beat Takam by knockout or technical knockout.
The 32-year-old Forrest (26-3, 20 KOs) lost a close split decision to Jermaine Franklin (20-0, 13 KOs) in his only other televised main event, a 10-rounder last July 12 in Tacoma, Washington. Forrest’s first two losses came in back-to-back bouts in 2013 and 2014 against Gerald Washington, who beat him by second-round knockout, and Michael Hunter, who out-pointed him in an eight-rounder.
Forrest figures defeating Cameroon’s Takam, despite his age and minimal time to prepare, will make boxing fans take notice of the Newport News, Virginia, native.
“People will see the unique style that I have, the sneakiness, the quick turns, the superb boxing skill,” Forrest said. “I have a good jab. But my all-around skill and adaptiveness, I think that’s what’s really gonna get people to notice who I am. I’m a very good boxer for a heavyweight. I can go the rounds and I feel that’s something we don’t have with today’s heavyweights.”
Forrest anticipates Takam attempting to fluster him by constantly coming forward, but the former nuclear electrician is certain it won’t work.
“I think his strength is pressure and punches in bunches,” Forrest said. “He’s not super sharp, but he throws a lot of punches in bunches. I think I’m gonna capitalize on that simply because if you seen me and Jermaine Franklin fight, if you start throwing punches in bunches on me, and you throw ‘em wide, I’m gonna come right up the middle. I’m gonna be sharper, crisper every time.
“So, you know, his strengths, I think I’m gonna make those weaknesses against him because he’s so systematic, coming in straight ahead, I’m gonna line him up and start working off of angles on him. I’m gonna use all his strengths against him completely.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.