By Rick Reeno (photo by George M. Phillips)
The WBO heavyweight title is at stake in Cleveland, as Lamon Brewster (33-2, 29 KOs), arguably the most exciting heavyweight in boxing, faces top rated contender Sergei Liakhovich (22-1, 14 KOs). The bout marks the first time a heavyweight title bout is taking place in Cleveland since 1983. The last time Cleveland saw heavyweight action, WBA heavyweight Champion Michael "Dynamite" Dokes was upset by South Africa's Gerrie Coetzee by a KO in the 10th of a scheduled 15-round bout.
Lamon Brewster has certainly acquired a taste for European meat in the last couple of years. In his last four bouts, Brewster has been up against European fighters. First there was the upset stoppage over Wladimir Klitschko, then came the disputed decision over Kali Meehan, then the blowout of Andrew Golota and finally the come from behind KO over Luan Krasniqi. Tonight, Brewster faces his fifth European fighter when he steps in the ring against Liakhovich, originally from Minsk, Byelosrussia.
I know some people reading this are wondering why Brewster is facing so many Euro fighters, but you must realize that he does not have much of a choice in the matter. A few of the bouts were mandatory defenses, and they came as a direct result of so many fighters from Europe grabbing high rankings on the WBO ladder.
Brewster is hoping that a win tonight will land him a big money rematch with Wladimir Klitschko before the end of the year. Of course Wlad still has to beat IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd in three weeks, but few experts are giving the champion a chance in the bout.
Liakhovich, who represented Russia in the 1996 Olympic games, does not stand a big chance to upset Brewster. He is a decent boxer-puncher, but his chin is suspect and the biggest win on his resume is a unanimous 10-round decision over Dominick Guinn, which took place on on Dec. 3, 2004. Liakhovich has a great amateur background (record of 145-14), but little else to keep Brewster at bay. There is also the factor of his very long layoff from the ring, with Guinn being his last bout. We could certainly see a decent amount of rust from Liakhovich, which could spell an early night if he makes a careless mistake against one the deadliest punchers in the division.
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