Odlanier Solis-Ray Austin This Friday - Who Wins And Does Either Guy Have A Chance To Upset Vitali?

By James Slater - An important heavyweight clash takes place this Friday evening in Miami, as unbeaten Cuban hope Odlanier Solis will square off with Ohio’s Ray Austin in a final eliminator for Vitali Klitschko’s WBC crown.

The plan is for Friday’s winner to challenge “Dr. Iron Fist” in his next fight, some time in the spring (or maybe earlier).. But who will it be who emerges with the “W” on the Don King/Ahmet Oener-promoted card that will also feature IBF 175-pound boss Tavoris Cloud defending against Fulgencio Zuniga? And will the winner have any real shot at dethroning the elder of the two currently all-conquering Klitschko brothers?

Cuba’s Solis has to be looked at as favourite: to win on Friday and then be best equipped of the two when it comes to standing a chance against Vitali. Heck, if you believe what Solis says, he doesn’t just stand a chance against Vitali, he beats him soundly! The unbeaten 30-year-old, now 16-0(12) is full of self confidence, even to the point of coming across as arrogant in the opinion of some fans. A former Olympian and all-round amateur standout (as are so many Cuban boxers), Solis may or may not be able to match his unpaid achievements in the pro ranks.

Yet to be tested as a pro, “La Sombra” has nevertheless picked up some criticism due to the weight he carries. Some fans and experts have declared how the approx 260-pounds Solis carries is simply too much, and that he will lose as soon as he faces a legitimate top-ranked heavyweight. Yet to go more than nine rounds (and Solis has gone eight rounds just four times), the jury is still out on whether or not Solis will run out of gas if and when he has to fight for a full 12-rounds at a rough pace.

Solis himself insists he carries the weight fine and that he has never been out of breath or tired in any fight - so maybe there has been too much of an issue made over the Miami-based contender’s poundage. We might get an idea about how effectively Solis can fight against a dangerous fighter on Friday.

Austin, a fair deal older at age 40, is no top tier heavyweight, but he is a solid fighter who can whack pretty good. Almost always in great physical shape also, “The Rain Man” is a big guy himself at 6’6” and around 240. Possibly about to give Solis his hardest fight yet, Austin’s height and reach will be the reasons if this turns out to be the case. Solis stands at just above 6’1” and his reach is over an inch shorter than Austin’s.

Going against Austin’s chances, though, is inactivity. The veteran with the 28-4-4(18) record has boxed just three times in the past two years and just once in the last 14 months. Will Austin be ring-rusty as a result? And if he is and he starts slowly due to a lack of sharpness, will Solis take him out early?

What goes against Austin and his chances against Vitali should he get past Solis, is the fact that he crumbled so easily when he fought younger brother Wladimir back in March of 2007. Okay, Austin is not fighting to earn a rematch with Wlad, but if he folded so quickly against one brother (inside a couple of rounds), what makes us think he wouldn’t do the same thing against the other sibling?

Austin says he had a bad night against “Dr. Steel Hammer,” and that nerves got the better of him. And since that KO loss (only Austin’s second), he has strung together four decent wins. But will the occasion and the size of the task ahead of him get the better of “The Rain Man” on Friday?

Unless I’m badly mistaken, Solis will end this fight pretty quickly - think his two-round win over Monte Barrett. I see a similar performance coming in three day’s time, with Solis’ heavy-handed blows taking Austin out before he gets a chance to do much.

But as to whether or not Solis can then go on and defeat Vitali! That’s a whole different story. However, David Haye aside, Solis is arguably the most interesting prospective opponent for either “Doctor.”

Article posted on 15.12.2010

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