A bag of random thoughts: Valuev/Klitschko, Briggs, DLH-Mayweather, Calzaghe

Valuev vs Klitschko14.03.07 - by David Bloch - Can Valuev beat Klitschko? Let us assume for the moment that boxing is perfect, that Valuev defeats Ruslan Chagaev in his April defence, does the seven foot wonder have any chance against Wladimir Klitschko? The fight offers us two highly intelligent eastern pugilists. There can be no question that Wladimir Klitschko is the favourite for this fight.

Standing at 6 feet, 6 inches, Klitschko himself is not bereft of size himself. With hand speed, combination punching and power that has seemingly been non-existent since the retirement of Lennox Lewis, Klitschko has the tools to get the job done against any challenger.

On the other hand, Valuev has shown himself as having a capable chin, being drilled with shots by both Monte Barrett and Jameel McCline before his eventual victories. Whilst Barrett and McCline will never rate as huge power punchers, they were able to land solid shots on the jaw of Valuev to little effect.

Valuev has natural advantages in size that no other man has possessed at this level of boxing, yet his biggest advantage has to be his undeniable intelligence.. With technical limitations that simply should not exist in a world heavyweight champion, Valuev has still been able to work himself to victory in his last six matches against some tough fighters.

Etienne, Donald, Ruiz, Beck, Barrett and McCline may not be the strongest competitors in the heavyweight division, yet each of them should not be underestimated. Valuev’s last six fights have been significantly harder than perhaps any other heavyweight boxer.

The key for Valuev in this fight is to exploit the two lingering question marks regarding Wladimir Klitschko, his endurance and his chin.

If Valuev can take Wladimir late into the fight, conserve energy and land bombs similar to the ending of the Barrett fight, there is a huge possibility for an upset victory.

Oscar vs Floyd

A few points to make about this fight

1.For Floyd to win the fight, he must replicate his process against Baldomir and keep Oscar at bay.
2.Underestimating Oscar De La Hoya’s power in his left hand could prove costly for Floyd Mayweather
3.Coming into this fight, Floyd hasn’t faced any serious heat in the time that he has gained almost 20lbs since his 135lb days
4.Knocking out Floyd has to be Oscar’s game plan.
5.For Oscar to win the fight by decision, he’ll need to intimidate Floyd with an early knockdown.
6.Losing this fight may in fact make Floyd a better champion overall if he loses his fear and goes after the tougher fighters
7.Oscar will need to trust his chin, he will be hit during this fight, regardless of what he does – he must fight through that and land equally on Floyd
8.Youth is on the side of both of these fighters, Oscar’s long layoff would have rejuvenated many of the niggles and increased his natural balance at the heavier weight of 154lbs
9.Don’t count on Floyd being able to knock De La Hoya out.

Nuff said?

Briggs’ respiratory problems

Briggs’ may have even more difficulties breathing now after witnessing the destruction of Javier Mora by his mandatory challenger, Sultan Ibragimov

In response to his lack lustre performance against Ray Austin, Ibragimov seems to have worked himself into prime shape, going from a career high of 231 pounds in his previous fight to a more suitable 221 pounds against Mora.

With Briggs struggling to get to his peak due to asthma and pneumonia, I feel that the workrate of the younger Ibragimov will see him win easily.

Irish eyes are smiling

John Duddy has recently become Ireland’s version of Aturo Gatti.

More than capable of selling out stadiums, despite his opponent, Duddy has once again placed his golden touch on the Madison Square Garden, filling it out in his fight against Anthony Bonsante.

Two tough, no nonsense brawlers should see a very exciting fight. Bonsante is experienced enough to represent a tough challenge for Duddy, yet I feel Duddy’s fists will land with far more frequency than Bonsante’s.

If John Duddy can turn on the excitement in a slugfest with Bonsante, then he may just become Ireland’s version of Oscar De La Hoya down the line, selling out pay per views as easily as he does arenas.

Calzaghe’s drift away from the mainstream

There is no other way to say it, Calzaghe has drifted out of the limelight he held so impressively after his twelve round boxing clinic against Jeff Lacy.

Lacy was heralded as one of the most powerful punchers in the sport, capable of dominating the boxing scene for years to come, yet Calzaghe toyed with him, able to fight him from both the outside and inside, in a one sided domination that was a pleasure to witness.

Since that high, however, Calzaghe has avoided what seems to be the only logical challenge left for him at super middleweight, a fight against Mikkel Kessler.

Manfredo must be considered a legitimate contender in the Super Middleweights. His recent performances against Scott Pemberton and Joe Spina, combined with the fame he brings from his appearances on The Contender, make him a marketable opponent for Calzaghe, yet being completely frank, the kid is completely over his head and will be absolutely destroyed by Calzaghe in their fight.

One can only hope that Calzaghe does have a fight against Kessler in mind, otherwise all of the respect he gained for his performance against Lacy will drift, leaving him back in his previous mould of a fighter who spends more time ducking than he does fighting.

Article posted on 14.03.2007

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