Baldomir And Forrest Set To Meet In Crossroads Fight In May

baldomir29.03.07 - By James Slater: In a quite fascinating fight set to take place on May 19th, two former world champions are set to clash, with the winner being vaulted to the WBC’s number one challenger position at light middleweight. Carlos “Tata” Baldomir and Vernon “The Viper” Forrest are the two veteran fighters scheduled to meet in a genuine crossroads fight. And what a fight it should be. With the winner knowing he will be on the way to a shot at the victor in the fight the whole world will be watching on May 5th - De La Hoya Vs. Mayweather, of course, there will be much on the line as the two climb into the ring at The Fed-Ex Forum in Memphis.

Both men are in their mid-thirties, with Carlos a year the younger boxer at thirty-five, and both have seen themselves propelled right to the very top of the welterweight division, only to be sent back down a few notches after a seemingly short tenure among the elite.

Carlos, as we know, elevated himself from a struggling, feather duster selling journeyman to a sensation causing and respected performer at 147 pounds. His wins over Zab Judah and later Arturo Gatti proved he belonged among the world class members of his weight division, and some badly deserved cash was earned by the man from Argentina as a result. But then he had to face the undisputed pound-4-pound king in “Pretty Boy.” His proclamations as being the best in the world at welterweight were over. But now he has yet another chance at some serious glory.

Against Carlos, as “Tata” makes his move up to 154 pounds, will be the man who shocked the world with his shellacking of the new “Sugar Man” in Shane Mosley, back in 2002. A desperate Mosley was fortunate not to have been knocked out by Vernon in the fight, held in January of the year. And, so as to prove the result was no fluke, “The Viper” repeated the points win six months later. He was now the recognised best at 147 pounds. But, like Baldomir, his time at the summit was oh so short. He ran into the wild man that is Ricardo Mayorga and his belt and unbeaten record were gone. A third round KO that was almost as shocking as his own win over “Sugar” Shane felled Forrest, followed by a points loss to the Nicaraguan. Thereafter Vernon has fought only a handful of times, hampered as he has been by a badly injured, surgery requiring, shoulder. His last fight, a much disputed points win over Ike Quartey last August, at least showed he is far from a shot fighter. Now he faces Baldomir. Who will win?

Both are proven fighters. One look at either man’s record tells you that. Other than his wins over Mosley and Quartey, Forrest has also beaten the likes of the ultra-tough Ray Oliveira, Vince Phillips and Raul Frank. While along with his two most famous wins, Baldomir has bested men like the capable Mexican, Miguel Angel Rodriguez and the African, Joshua Clottey (who goes in with Diego Corrales on April7th, of course). Both boxers then, are definitely good fighters. And with this proven calibre, along with the super high stakes their May 19th showdown will have, a good, possibly great fight, should ensue.

Baldomir is not a big pincher, whereas Forrest can be. Baldomir is supremely hardened, whereas Forrest is still injury prone. Baldomir is somewhat crude, whereas Forrest is more than capable of out-boxing pretty much anyone on a given night. And finally, Baldomir is still massively hungry whereas Forrest, er, well, actually, he is, too. Enough parallels then, on the ambition side of things I’d say both men are about equal. The desire to be world champion thrives almost desperately inside both men, therefore a fight that is about as close to pick ’em as one could hope for is soon to be upon us. With the man who wants it just a little bit more prevailing - as this is how I see the winner becoming such, as opposed to via a dominant performance - fans who catch this one are in for a special fight.

Who knows, the fight that’s been dubbed “As the world awaits,” the winner of which Carlos and Vernon will fight to challenge, just might be surpassed by this clash of veterans two weeks later. The hype for Baldomir-Forrest is/will be nothing like the hoopla we are being subject to for Mayweather-De La Hoya. But the action we fans see in the ring is the most important thing.
For what it’s worth, I pick Forrest to win a close and very hard fought decision. How much the gruelling victory will leave him with for either Oscar or Floyd, though, is another question entirely.

(Note, Forrest is scheduled to box a tune-up - opponent yet to be named - on April 21st)

Article posted on 29.03.2007

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