Saturday Winners - Your Advance Notice: Dawson/Johnson, Tarver/Woods, Margarito/Cintron, Cotto/Gomez

11.04.08 - By Paul Strauss: This is what you have been anxiously awaiting….predictions for this Saturdays’ big match-ups. Most fans value their own picks above all others, and there are those who bellyache about results when they are wrong, bemoaning in their minds "we was robbed". Isn’t it obvious most fans favor one fighter over another because they like the fighter, or like his style, or maybe it's because he's from their home town, or some such reason. Objectivity is not the norm, it's the exception. Keeping that in mind, here are my picks for what I hope will be an exciting night of fights..

The first one is a safe bet as far as the bookies are considered. Cotto will win over Gomez. Oh sure, I remember most experts said Gomez wouldn't be able to beat Gatti, because Gatti was a big step up in experience and toughness. But, Gatti, although exciting, is no Cotto and never was as skilled or destructive. I really like Gomez' style and personality, but I just don't think there's anyone around right now (sans Mayweather) who can handle Cotto. Gomez has a very compact and appealing style. He doesn’t waste motion, slips punches well, and makes his opponents pay with well placed counters. However, Cotto has that ability, plus much more. He can do things better than just about any active fighter. He throws punishing punches from odd angles. He is deceptively fast, both with his hands and feet. He can close the distance between himself and his opponents with one fell swoop! If you hurt him, he moves out of range, and skillfully boxes from the outside, counter as well. (Ask Shane Mosley!). Finally, I don't put much stock in talk about his "questionable chin". Most of fighters would have been kissing the canvas if they were hit with the uppercut(s) Cotto withstood from Zab Judah, and the right hands he took from Shane. If wrong, I will be very happy for Gomez, and I will jump on his bandwagon. Why not, I already am singing his praises. But, it will be Cotto by KO.

Margarito is going to handle Cintron again. The best chance for Cintron is an early knockout, but I don't think it's going to happen. Margarito is one tough customer, and I think he will beat Williams in a re-match too. One of the main reasons I feel Cintron will fall is his performance against Jesse Feliciano. He had a lot of trouble with Feliciano, who is neither skilled or a hard hitter. Jesse just has a hard head, and his opponent tires of hitting him. But, Margarito has Jesse's toughness, plus a lot of (somewhat unorthodox) skill, and he can punch. I think we will have a repeat of the first fight. Kermit will jump out smoking, but will become discouraged when Margarito doesn't wither under his attack. Then the tide will shift, and Margarito will start to impose his will on Cintron. Margarito will stop Cintron.

Now for the light-heavies, I am going with the majority and picking the odds on favorites: Dawson is too big and skilled for the aging Glenn Johnson. He will repeatedly catch Johnson rushing in with good, hard counters, and I think he will stop Johnson. Dawson has developed into the complete package. He would beat Hopkins as well. He appears somewhat awkward, but only because of his southpaw stance. In reality, he is an excellent boxer-puncher. I haven't seen him get tagged with a good one, so I don't know what kind of a chin he has, but I suspect he has a good one, and unless it's a "Sunday punch", he has the skills to get himself out of danger long enough to shake it off. Dawson wins by stoppage in later rounds.

Tarver has slipped some since making his "Rocky" movie, but I think he still might have enough to beat Woods. Woods has impressive numbers, but if you look closer, notice he was stopped in six by Roy Jones, Jr. He also lost a decision to Glen Johnson, and in a rematch was only able to come away with a SD. Tarver also had a SD against Johnson, but he does have the big KO of Roy. We also have two guys of similar size, but Tarver might have a bit of an edge with his unorthodox southpaw style, and his heavier punching power. This is a tough one to pick, but I'm going with my instinct and assume Tarver's coming into this fight with his “head on straight”, and will fight well enough to come away with a close hard fought decision. Tarver by decision

Article posted on 11.04.2008

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