By Paul McCreath - Since my previous article about Prizefighter III things have changed and we now need to take another look. My first article suggested that my pick as the likely winner on October 2 would be the veteran Michael Sprott. Now Michael is out of the tournament following the sudden death of his sister. Another former British champ Michael Holden is also out. He was dropped after an unimpressive 4 round draw in his qualifier fight which was his first bout in several years. In addition to these developments we now know the results of the first round draw so that it is now a bit easier to predict who will come out on top.
Bout #1 in round one will see former British champ Scott Gammer (18-4-1-9) meet unbeaten Coleman Barrett (8-0-0-2). Gammer may have slipped some since his days as prospect/domestic belt holder but he has been in with much better competition.. Barrett is a former cruiserweight who has been matched soft. It should be an easy Gammer victory.
Bout #2 will see reigning British champ Danny Williams (41-7-0-31) meet Carl Baker (8-3-0-6) who is replacing Sprott. This looks like a bad mismatch but I see it as a possible upset. Baker is 27 years old and he is huge. He stands 6 foot 4 and weighs in the neibourhood of 300 pounds. He has not met any big name fighters but has reversed 2 of his 3 losses. The other was a 4 round decision loss to Gammer in his 5th pro fight. Gammer was 9-0-1 at the time. Carl should not even belong in the same ring with Danny but which Danny will show up? He has clearly been slipping of late and has had several close calls against fighters he would have handled easily in earlier days. He also sometimes starts slowly. In a 3 round fight that could be trouble. Another worry is his tendency to lose points for his frequent fouls. Over 3 rounds that could cost him big time. If you are looking for a long shot bet Baker is your man.
Bout #3 matches the famous former Olympic champ Audley Harrison (23-4-0-17) against last year's hot prospect Scott Belshaw (10-2-0-7). Belshaw was destroyed in 2 rounds last time out by Tyson Fury and has also lost to Daniil Peret, a fighter that everybody beats. I am not impressed with Harrison but 3 round bouts are right up Harrison's alley and I don't think Belshaw is in the same class. This should be an easy win for Audley. Even he can't lose this one.
Bout #4 will match two undefeated youngsters.Neil Perkins (4-0-0-1) replaces Mike Holden and goes against Danny Hughes (6-0-1-1). Perkins 4 opponents have a combined record of 29-126-12 and that says it all. Danny was not a bad amateur and should come through with a win in this one.
The semi-finals will match bout #1 winner vs the #2 winner. That could be Gammer against Williams in a rematch of their 2007 title match won by Danny by a 9th round KO. Many thought Scott would win that fight and if they meet again it could still happen. If Baker upsets Willliams in the first round anything could happen against Gammer. Will Baker run out of gas carrying all that weight?
The other semi will likely see Audley against Hughes, his second inexperienced opponent in a row.Again Harrison's advantage in experience should see him through.
The final would then likely match Audley against either Gammer or Williams. Audley has a 3 round KO win over a younger Danny in 2006. He had lost an earlier 12 round decision to Williams.
As much as I am very definitely not an Audley Harrison fan I think that the 3 round format and the draw which sees him get two novice fighters before the final gives Audley the best chance of coming out on top with the winner's 32000 pound prize. This goes against Audley's reputation of blowing his big chances but the challenge does not look that difficult this time. Gammer could give him trouble if he gets to the final and he would be my second choice. I just can't see Danny Williams winning three 3 round matches.