Jim De Pierro: December Predictions

12.12.03 - By Jim ďBoxadamusĒ De Pierro: I thought I was through with PPV boxing for this year after having purchased Delahoya-Mosley II and Holyfield-Toney I was sure their wouldnít be another boxing bout this year I would want to see that wouldnít be on HBO or Showtime this year. Well I was wrong. I have to give Don King credit the man is surely an evil genius because I am actually thinking of buying the Saturday night card which features some of the biggest trash talkers in the game with Zab Judah, Hasim Rahman, Bernard Hopkins and of course the always politically incorrect Richardo Mayorga all in one card. I know in the long run if I do buy this card I will probably regret it. At the very least even if I donít buy this card I will be watching the Showtime card featuring in its main event Ricky Hatton against Ben Tackie.

Hasim Rahman 35-4-1 (29 KOs) vs. John Ruiz 38-5-1 (27 KOs)

Its hard to believe but if these two had fought at a different time this fight could have been for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. A fellow boxing writer who has seen John Ruiz recently sent me an e-mail asking me my opinion of this fight. He volunteered that in his opinion Ruiz didnít look to be in that good of fighting shape. Perhaps the embarrassing loss to Roy Jones jr. and going through a divorce have for at least the moment adversely affected Ruizís dedication to the sport of boxing. That is merely my speculation but having read a couple of interviews with Ruiz I kind of got the sense that he is lacking in confidence.

The only intangible going into this fight that bodes well for Ruiz is that if you go by the common opponent shared in the form of Evander Holyfield you have to say that for all the sloppiness, clinching and holding that Ruiz fights have in them his style of fighting at least against Evander Holyfield has proven to be more effective than Hasim Rahman who I thought was losing rather convincingly to Holyfield even before the severe swelling suffered in the 9th round. On the surface I would tend to think Rahman the bigger puncher although it can be argued that Ruiz hits harder based on the fact that he was able to deck Evander Holyfield in the 2nd fight of one of the worst trilogies in boxing. Still I think Holyfield was caught with a blind punch and so I still think Rahman is the bigger puncher of the two. Rahman and Ruiz also share a common opponent in David Tua. Of course any objectionable observer would have to say that Rahman performed better than Ruiz who made the best fight out of it he could for all 19 seconds. Ruiz IMO tends to get a bit of a bum wrap off of that fight. Losing in the first round is not always a sign of a glass jaw and lets remember David Tua could KO just about anyone if he catches them. Tua just happened to catch Ruiz early.

This fight has the potential of being the best fight of the night for one reason. This is really a do or die fight for both fighters. The loser of this fight might very find themselves fighting on ESPN for the next couple of years if they donít outright retire. Even though I predicted Rahman to beat Tua in their last bout which ultimately ended up being declared a draw I felt Rahman was certain to lose when I heard he weighed in at almost 260 lbs. I had written that prediction before I had heard of Rahman coming in at that career high. Unlike Kirk Johnson though Rahman didnít do that badly for someone who was so overweight. Mind you I still think Rahman would have been better off if he had lost 20 lbs but the Tua fight did show that the Rock can fight even when he is fat.

The good news for Hasim Rahman is that he is going to do what P4P king Roy Jones jr. didn't and stop John Ruiz. The bad news is that he is going to take far more in return and really be hurting after this fight. I think Ruiz is going make this a rough fight and I think we will see a clash of heads in this fight. My prediction is that Rahman is going to get butted at some point where it will cause a bad cut or possibly swelling which will prompt Rahman to make an all out effort to KO John Ruiz before the doctor or ref stop the fight due to injury like he suffered in his bout with Holyfield. I think Rahman will win about just about every round but it will be a closer fight than is indicated on the scorecards because Rahman wonít win the rounds by much. Rahman is going to score the KO of the night when he puts together several brutal punches that will finish off John Ruiz.

Hasim Rahman KO 8 over John Ruiz

Ricky Hatton 33-0 (25 KOs) vs. Ben Tackie 25-4 (16 KOs)

This is a fight that looks good on paper but in reality I think is going to be fairly one sided. For those of you who donít get Showtime and never saw Tackieís last fight against Sharmba Mitchell I can forgive you if you think Tackie is going to win this fight because you didnít see how badly Sharmba Mitchell was able to beat on Tackie.

Ricky Hatton isnít quite championship material IMO and the kid is still a little green but one thing Ricky Hatton isnít lacking is in the toughness department. I think what happens in this fight is that Tackie is going to take a terrible beating proving to be to tough for his own goods. I see Hatton pounding away on Tackie all night until finally the ref stops this fight. Tackie will finish on his feet and will have a few isolated spurts where he will have momentary success against the younger Hatton but ultimately youth and determination will win the day.

I really wish Mickey Ward would come out of retirement to test the metal of Ricky Hatton. Ricky Hatton is kind of like the British version of Arturo Gatti although Hatton is a bit more of a body puncher and his KO victories are scored more through attrition whereas Gatti has more one punch KO power than does Hatton.

Ricky Hatton TKO 11 over Ben Tackie

Zab Judah 29-1 (21 KOs) vs. Jaime Rangel 29-4 (25 KOs)

I will be the first to admit I donít know a whole lot about Jaime Rangel except that he has fought almost all of his fights in Columbia and only fought once outside of South America (that fight was in Panama). I hope I am wrong but I think Rangel is going to be taking a one way ticket back to Columbia after Zab Judah demolishes him. Given Zab Judah's temperament and the fact that he's on the under card I think Judah will be looking to make a statement against a grossly overmatched opponent.

Zab Judah KO 1 over Jaime Rangel

Bernard Hopkins 42-2-1 (31 KOs) vs. William Joppy 34-2-1 (25 KOs)

As of a couple of weeks ago I was starting to actually think Joppy might win due to being overlooked by Hopkins but with the news of Hopkins getting back together with his old trainer Bouie Fisher I am starting to think this might signal that Hopkins is starting to get his career back on track after falling off the boxing radar after his spectacular victory over Felix Trinidad.

A lot depends on what type of fight William Joppy tries to fight but I don't think Joppy will try to duke it out mano-a-mano with Hopkins like he did with Felix Trinidad. William Joppy wrote the book on how not to fight Felix Trinidad. I am kind of hoping and I think what we are going to see is a return to the dirty Bernard Hopkins that roughed up Antwun Echols, Keith Holmes and Syd Vanderpool real good. Hopkins has been largely inactive against quality opposition since his win over Felix Trinidad but whatever lack of inactivity is more than cancelled out by Joppy's inactivity which has spanned more than a year. I think this little side bet Hopkins has going with Joppy about who can knock who out will play a small factor in this fight. Hopkins has said that he will pay Joppy $ 50,000 out of his purse if he canít KO Joppy and Joppy will pay Hopkins $25,000 if he does get knocked out. Letís remember though that 25 to 50 grand isnít that much money in comparison to what these fighters are going to make off there purses. If it comes down to it either Hopkins or Joppy will be content with the mere win even if it is by decision.

Bernard Hopkins TKO 11 over William Joppy

Ricardo Mayorga 26-3-1 (23 KOs) vs. Cory Spinks 31-2-1 (10 KOs)
Ricardo Mayorga talks a good game but deep down I think this guy is a loud mouthed jerk who is going to get what is coming to him. Mayorga was able to beat Forrest cause he got inside his head but I don't think that will be the case with Spinks despite his tasteless comment of reuniting Spinks with his deceased mother. Mayorgaís game plan with any fighter he faces is always the same thing. Say the most outrageous, incendiary and derogatory thing you can say about your opponent, get him mad enough that he wants to forego boxing entirely and just knock your head off. This of course plays right into Mayorgaís hands as he like nothing better than a back alley brawl. He did the same thing to Andrew ď6-headsĒ Lewis and Vernon Forrest and now he is doing it to Spinks. I donít think Spinks falls for it.

If Mayorga does succeed into goading Spinks into a brawl the Spink is going to get jinxed. Spinks isnít the most exciting fighter but he has some really good hand speed and is defensively very adept. One could argue that Spinks is in reality an undefeated fighter as his two losses to Antonio Diaz and Michele Picirrillo were both very controversial decisions.

This is the only upset left this year but I think Spinks will beat Mayorga and he will make it look easy too. Mayorga is going to say in the post fight interview that Spinks ran like a sissy and the judges were blind and don't know boxing but in reality I think Spinks is going to put on a clinic and give this nicotine smoking Nicaraguan a boxing lesson. It may not be a super fight in terms of excitement but for those of you looking to see Mayorga lose this may be the night.

Cory Spink UD over Ricardo Mayorga

* * * Bonus Prediction * * *

Wladimir Klitschko TKO 2 over Danell Nicholson

This will be my last prediction column for this year but here are some predictions for 2004.

- Jermain Taylor will dethrone Bernard Hopkins

- Kostya Tszyu will retire by the end of 2004

- Vitali Klitschko will avenge younger brother Wladimirís defeat at the hands of Corrie Sanders

Agree? Disagree? Think Iím full of it? E-mail me at and tell me what you think or post a comment.

Article posted on 12.12.2003

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