Juan Urango at 147lbs: Calculated gamble?

23.03.09 - By James Lovett: If reports on Boxrec are to be believed, Juan Urango is set to step up in weight to face WBC Welterweight Champion Andre Berto at 147lbs on the 30th May at a location to be decided in the United States. On paper, you would favour Berto. Fighting at home, comfortable at the weight, fast and a tidy boxer. Victory you would assume, would be Berto's any day of any week..

But boxing is a funny old game. Changes in weight can change some fighters. Some for the worst, as we have seen on many occasions. Some, however, become a different fighter, revitalised and refreshed after years of making a weight that took extreme effort and careful dieting. A certain Miguel Cotto was questioned along the way despite being a classy 140lbs fighter, at 147lbs there were no doubts about his ability as a world class operator.

I believe Juan Urango could fit this mould. Okay, so at 140lbs his advantages are well documented - a marvellous physical stature that was able to push back Ricky Hatton many occasions in their fight and land telling blows of his own.

However, despite this, I believe he loses speed, which was seen in the Hatton fight. He was a too easy target for Hatton too often. It is obvious to most that Urango probably walks around between 160-165lbs comfortably. He is a muscular frame, and would compete physically amongst the biggest 147lb fighters.

If a change in weight can enhance Urango's speed, ontop of retaining his physical attributes, could we see an upset in the making? We know Urango can certainly punch hard, see his knockout of Carlos Wilfredo Vilches for evidence of the brutal power he possesses. We also know Berto isn't the largest of Welterweights. I believe on fight night he would lighter than Urango. He isn't small by a long way, but he isn't Paul Williams, he isn't Antonio Margarito.

Team Urango can be encouraged by Berto's fight against Collazo. Urango, like Collazo, is a southpaw. There were times in the Berto-Collazo fight where Berto seemed to struggle with this stance. Could a stronger southpaw fighter cause more problems? It is difficult to tell. What we do know is that Urango's boxing skills won't change with weight, and it can be argued he lacks the slickness of his counterpart Collazo.

But with a training camp where the goalposts are moved, more calories can be consumed and Urango is able to move better as his conditioning improves, do we see a serious threat to the Welterweight division? You cannot question Urango's chin, he has never been knocked down and took Hatton's best shots for 12 rounds. I believe his punch resistance would improve further at 147lbs, despite the power some of the top Welterweight contenders possess.

I for one hope Urango can become a changed fighter as a 147lb man, a move I have long suspected would take place. For me it is a logical fight. If Urango loses but appears a better fighter for the move up in weight he gets the exposure from fighting a top welterweight in Berto, and subsequently improved pay cheques.

For Berto he has another chance to handle a top ranked southpaw and prove he can overcome any lingering doubts there may be. Stopping Urango would be a massive achievement and something to be taken seriously within the division. He also faces a man with strength that could rival foes such as Joshua Clottey that may prove useful in the future.

If Urango were to win, we see another contender to an already talent-packed division of elite fighters, whilst his claim for a re-match with Ricky Hatton could have more negotiating power then ever before.

My prediction would a close, but shaky points win for the American Berto where the Colombian Urango comes out with a lot of credit. But even with this prediction, Urango's power still leaves me food for thought against Berto's yet-to-be-tested chin.

Let's hope both fighters get the credit they deserve, as they are enjoyable to watch, and will be around for a while yet.

Article posted on 23.03.2009

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