While nobody can claim that the sport of Boxing is off to a scintillating start in 2013, with injuries forcing a seemingly endless stream of cancellations, there are a few somewhat compelling fights this weekend. I’m not going to pretend that they’re super fights, but ESPN has one of their better fights in years and there is a pretty even fight for an alphabet title on Showtime, another solid matchup from Main Events on NBC sports network as well as the first true step up for one of the better Heavyweight prospects. That being said, nothing is can’t miss and I’m going to cover them all in one piece.
ESPN is in the rare position of offering up what I feel is the weekends most compelling fight, this Friday night, when Lamont Peterson returns from a long layoff to defend his strap (I don’t pretend to care which one) against Kendall Holt. This is two athletic fighters with Peterson being more aggressive and Holt having more power.
Lamont is an excellent in-fighter and though he is not a knock out artist he can smother and wear down his opponents. He has been down, but never out, so his chin is solid enough. The question of the layoff is a big one, especially if he comes out rusty with poor timing against a guy who is at his most dangerous early in fights.
Holt has one shot power, particularly in his left hook, but he can be lackadaisical at times and is prone to doing as much posing as he does punching in his biggest fights. You have to expect him to try and jump on Lamont early and look to capitalize on the aforementioned layoff of the belt holder.
I’m really looking forward to this fight and I can see a number of different scenarios. Holt is an excellent front runner, if he gets Peterson hurt early and stems his aggression it could be a long night for Lamont. At the same time, Peterson applies the same kind of pressure that Timothy Bradley out-worked Holt with, despite Kendall scoring two knockdowns, in his biggest fight to date. I’m expecting a solid start from Kendall and he might drop Peterson in the first couple of rounds. I just can’t bank on a consistently active performance from Holt and I think Peterson will grind him down and take command late for an entertaining decision win that gets both of them another significant fight in a stacked division.
Cornelius Bundrage & Ishe Smith take center stage on Showtime, on Saturday night, when ‘K-9’ defends his alphabet title in another fight that is very close on paper. Bundrage has had this strap for quite a while now, and while I refuse to acknowledge which piece of paper is around these fighters waists these belts are a valuable commodity and the winner here is in the position to earn a big payday in another loaded division.
Bundrage is a powerful and determined man that has already accomplished more than most thought he could. He isn’t a murderous puncher, but his physical strength can be overwhelming at 154 pounds and he has shown great improvement since beating Cory Spinks. While he is frustrated by the inability to land a big name, he has stayed the course and this is another opponent that will provide a stern test.
Ishe Smith is very skilled; it’s just a question of making him punch. I try to avoid clichés, but he really does often fight like a sparring partner. He rarely is outgunned, just often out-worked. You have to think that he knows this is his moment to put his name out there and earn a major paycheck.
Bundrage is always aggressive; there is no wondering what he is going to do. This fight really will be determined by what Smith does. If he fights defensively and offers infrequent counters, Bundrage will surely out punch him over the distance. I have a sneaking suspicion that Smith will summon up his best effort here. There is a lot on the line, and I’m taking Ishe by close decision in another entertaining fight on a weekend that might be minus big names, but may well provide enticing action. This isn’t inside info, but, since I always offer predictions, I’m expecting the winner here to earn a date in the summer or fall with Miguel Cotto.
I may be a broken record, but Main Events is really impressing me with their matchmaking considering their limited stable and resources. They’re not trying to build up guys to throw in elsewhere; their main fighters are fighting each other on nearly every offering. As critical as I can be of promotions and networks, this series on NBC and NBC Sports is firing on all cylinders and the Vyacheslav Glazkov and Malik Scott matchup on Saturday is no exception.
I was impressed with Glazkov’s performance against Tor Hamer, he throws hard and often which is a rare quality these days for a Heavyweight. Scott has been a name for what seems like twenty years, he’s shown solid boxing skills against inferior opposition the few times that I’ve seen him. At his advanced age, I find it hard to back Scott in a big step up after this long, he doesn’t have the power to hold of Glazkov and I expect the Ukrainian to beat down Scott and stop him sometime in the first half of the fight.
David Price is a gigantic Heavyweight with obvious one shot power in both hands. To me the Brit is the most intriguing of all of the young Heavyweights and he is showing a willingness to advance to the world level. As unappealing as the division has been, guys like Price and Tyson Fury look willing to fight other contenders on their way to a title shot instead of waiting around. For me, that is truly what this division has been lacking. Many people point to the Klitschko’s domination as the reason for the lack of interest, but the lack of fights like Tommy Morrison and Carl Williams is the bigger problem in my estimation. These guys need to make compelling fights on the way up and actually be ready when they challenge one of the brothers.
While Tony Thompson is steeped in his forties, he also is a big step up for Price and he can match him in size as well as providing an awkward, volume, southpaw style that David has never seen before. The biggest question about Price is his chin and I don’t know if Thompson will pose that question with his mainly arm punches. I look for David to have some minor early trouble, with the willing Thompson, before taking him out around the midway point of the fight.
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