Fresh Off His Quick KO Win Over Cox, Denis Lebedev To Face Jean Marc Mormeck Next

By James Slater: Fans hoping to see once-beaten 32-year-old interim WBA 200-pound champ Denis Lebedev step up his quality of opposition from that of ageing former champs look to be in for a long wait. Just hours after the Russian southpaw’s 2nd-round KO win over fellow lefty Shawn Cox (a mere 37-years-old), Lebedev’s manager Vladimir Hrunov has announced his fighter will face former champ Jean Marc Mormeck in his next defence.

39-year-old Mormeck, 36-5(22) was of course last seen being effortlessly despatched by Ring Magazine, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko. Okay, cruiserweight is and always has been “The Marksman’s” natural weight class, but what has he done to earn a shot at the WBA belt; even if it is only the interim version? Mormeck, who convinced himself he could make it as a heavyweight, has not boxed at 200-pounds since his 2007, 7th-round stoppage loss to Britain’s David Haye! Yet he now walks right into a “world” title shot?

This fight, set for Paris in the first week of June according to Hrunov in speaking with RIA Novosti, will do Lebedev, a good fighter, no favours at all. If he blows Mormeck away (a real possibility) Lebedev will earn no plaudits, while if he struggles even just a little, Lebedev’s stock will fall.

Fans have been wanting to see just how good Lebedev, 24-1(18) (the loss coming via very close, even debatable, split decision to Marco Huck) really is for a while now. In fact, it could be argued that the Huck fight of Dec. 2010 was Lebedev’s last “real” fight. Certainly, wins over an ancient Roy Jones Junior and a badly faded James Toney told us next to nothing about the Russian’s abilities.

Last night’s fight against Cox drew its fair share of criticism, and it was hoped Team-Lebedev would listen and choose a top-ranked, young contender next. Instead we have Mormeck, a good fighter in his day no doubt, being wheeled out for another title shot.

This fight may well prove to be a hit in France, where Mormeck is a genuine hero, but who else aside from Lebedev’s hardcore fans will bother to tune in for this one?

Article posted on 05.04.2012

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