Chagaev Changes Heavyweight Picture

21.04.07 - By Jim Amato: Ruslan Chagaev's victory over Nickolay Valuev to capture the WBA version of the title could be the start of a chain reaction that may change the whole landscape of the heavyweight boxing picture. There was immediate talk of a rematch with Valuev but nothing more has been said. Besides that, there have been rumors of Chagaev meeting former WBO titleholder Sergei Liakhovich, but as of right now they are just that, rumors..

chagaevCurrent WBO champion Shannon Briggs is set to take on Sultan Ibragimov. WBC title claimant Oleg Maskaev will put his boxing title on the line against dangerous Samuel Peter. The IBF champion and the boxer regarded by most as the best heavyweight in the world, Wladimir Klitschko will defend against previous conqueror Lamon Brewster. It will be very interesting to see which four are left standing after the smoke clears.

If Liakhovich does meet Chagaev, I like Sergei's chances. Liakhovich is a very well schooled boxer who is effective punching to the head and body with both hands. I believe his lead rights up and down will be effective against the southpaw Chagaev. The Liakhovich of sound mind and body who defeated Lamon Brewster should be able to defeat Chagaev.

Shannon Briggs vs. Sultan Ibragimov could result in a very short night. On most occasions, Briggs is a slow starter and he's even slower now with his added bulk. Ibragimov is somewhat small by today's standards and he'll never be compared to Ken Norton or Mike Weaver in the physique department. Still, he has excellent hand speed and power. I'm afraid he may surprise Briggs early and put him in danger. Shannon does not possess George Chuvalo's chin. An early KO victory for Sultan would not surprise me a bit. Obviously though the longer the fight goes on, the better the chances are for Briggs.

Oleg Maskaev vs. Samuel Peter could be an entertaining and thrilling slugfest while it lasts. I really don't think it will last long though. Maskaev is game but his chin has caved in a few times before. Sam Peter has power and Oleg will be right there to be hit. Neither fighter is known for their evasive defense. Bombs will thrown and bombs will land. The difference could by Sam Peter's chin.

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Lamon Brewster II - My gut feeling here is that this fight was a mistake. Many have counted Brewster out after his close loss to Liakhovich and his long layoff due to an eye injury suffered in that battle. They remind us of how Wladimir had dominated Brewster in their first encounter until he tired. They say Klitschko grew tired from throwing and landing so many punches against Brewster. There may be some truth to this but the bottom line is Brewster sucked it up. He took everything and then when he unloaded with his big guns, Wladimir's weak chin was unable to absorb the shock of those blows. Going into this rematch, Brewster knows he can hurt Klitschko and Wladimir knows Brewster can hurt him. Somewhere along the line, Brewster will land a bomb and Klitschko's weakness will be exposed again.

There is going to be some moving and shaking in the heavyweight boxing division in the months ahead. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Will the winners try to fight each other in an attempt to unify the crown? This is very doubtful as the winner of Maskaev - Peter is to meet former WBC boxing champion Vitali Klitschko. Still, we may be moving closer to a day when we have one unified and undisputed heavyweight champion. We can only hope.

Article posted on 22.04.2007

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