Ouma vs Karmazin: Will the Dream’s Worst nightmare be 'Made in Hell'?

12.07.05 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: This Thursday, July 14th, boxing fans will have a real treat on their hands, as one of the most sensational fighters in boxing today, Kassim “the Dream” Ouma, squares off against highly regarded Russian, Roman Karmazin. The fight will be a twelve round affair, scheduled to determine who gets to keep Ouma’s IBF belt. The legendary Oscar De La Hoya will be doing the promotional honors, in presenting this fight to the boxing audience on HBO Latino’s “Boxeo De Oro.”

This is the first thing that I would really like to discuss because it has driven me nuts ever since I heard the fight was made. This is a great fight between two well respected fighters who know their trade. One, Ouma is a superstar in the making because once he starts throwing punches, he really doesn’t stop until the final bell rings.

I mean, when I described this guy to one of my acquaintances, they came up with a nickname that I think suits him even better than the dream. I think Kassim “the Machine Gun” Ouma, describes the fighters style much better, so why is this guy being relegated to Boxeo de Oro?

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the channel or the show. In fact, every boxing show we get on TV is a step in the right direction, because it gives more fighters a chance for exposure, and us a chance to see them. However, Ouma is past that initial exposure stage in my opinion, and is so damn good, he needs to be put on a PPV undercard ASAP. Just two days after this potentially great fight, legendary Bernard Hopkins will be taking on his #1 contender in Jermain Taylor, in a fight for the Middleweight crown on PPV. Why not drop this fight off where it belongs, that is, on PPV. I really can’t understand what putting two non-latino fighters on a Spanish speaking channel will accomplish?

Technically, as a boxing fan, I shouldn’t complain because after all HBOL is free, and obviously PPV is not, so I get to see a great fight for nada (then again, HBOL is not as common a channel as many others). Furthermore, this allows Spanish-speaking fight fans to catch a glimpse of a non Latin fighter, and associates them more with mainstream boxing. Although, I see the benefit in it for me, and the regular Latino John Doe, I don’t see the benefit in it for the fighters, who will not be viewed by as many fight fans on Thursday on a channel, I can imagine a lot of people don’t have, as opposed to being shown on an English channel on a PPV card, in prime time on a Saturday. I guess what I am saying is I don’t see why this fight is being treated as if it was a second rate contest, as opposed to a first rate supporting bout for the Middleweight King Bernard Hopkins.

In any case, this is not a main issue in regards to the fight and the fighters, which is what we should really be focusing on once the dirty promotional aspect is out of the way.

As everyone who has read my articles knows, I am a big Ouma fan. I have seen this guy fight on the Tube a few times and not once was I disappointed in spending a night in front of the TV. Once he warms up, he is relentless, and can throw over 1000 punches per each 12 round fight. He is not a one punch KO artist, but I don’t necessarily think its because he doesn’t have power, rather because he chooses to nullify his opponents with subdued but measured arm punching, which while enough to suppress opponents and win rounds, allows him to sustain the same pace throughout the fight. He has faced some decent opponents in Verno Phillips and Kofi Jantuah and completely outclassed them, suggesting that if he can take care of the B graders, he is all A himself.

Interestingly enough, in this instance, I find I will mostly be cheering against one of my favorites, and for the man who will be facing Ouma on the opposite side of the ring. Roman “Made in Hell” Karmazin, has, in my opinion, got to have the coolest nickname on the planet. To add to that, by all accounts, he is a real professional, and has handled pretenders like David Walker with relative ease, proving the claims that he, himself, is an above average fighter. I say by all accounts simply because, as of yet, I have not had the pleasure of watching this man fight, since as he has mostly competed in Europe and not in venues and against opponents that interest American television. Still, with a victory over Keith Holmes, who has himself proven to be a bit above average, in beating middle of the roaders like Cherifi, and Toygonbayev, Karmazin has secured a shot at Ouma, and a chance for an American TV fight albeit on HBOL.

In terms of how the fight will go, it is really difficult to make predictions based on a few factors. First of all. like I have said, I have not seen and only read about Karmazin, so I can only really assess the one fighter in Ouma. Secondly, as I have always written in my articles, there is no way of knowing which versions of fighters will show up to face each other on any given night. I have not had the pleasure of looking into the guys’ training camps, or considering how they will feel the night of the show. Nor can I take into account the Lightning in a bottle theory where in one guy lands the one punch that ends the fight, no matter who was winning and according to what gameplan.

Barring the unexpected, I will say this: Karmazin is a real professional, who leaves nothing to chance. According to him, when he first came to Los Angeles to train with Freddie Roach, after the first session, according to Karmazin, the famed trainer exclaimed, “ I can’t give you any more. You already know everything.”

Now that statement cannot be taken to mean Karmazin is the better of the two fighters, knows more, or is better prepared, but it does mean that this will probably be the best, fittest, and most intelligent version of Karmazin facing Ouma in there.

However, in certain instances, even the best version of a particular fighter is not enough to defeat the best version of another fighter. Watching Ouma’s fights, I find it really hard to see someone beat him at his game of trading and punching. Ouma can outpunch anybody, in my opinion, and seeing as Karmazin has stated, he wants Ouma to come for him, I think that gives Ouma the edge. According to Karmazin, he thinks Ouma’s punching is not very dangerous and will give him ample opportunity to counter, and counter to the right parts of Ouma’s body. It is just hard for me to imagine Karmazin getting the better of Ouma like that. I think to beat Ouma, a fighter has to move a lot and not let Ouma set himself to punch. Ouma likes to stand in one place, set on his feet, and throw and throw. If you force him to reset by moving, and keeping him off balance with good jabs, that gives you a better chance at winning.

At the same time, perhaps Ouma is so good that he can adopt to that style as well, and then again, a fighter has to have a lot of energy and stamina to keep moving constantly like that. It's possible that Karmazin’s strategy works better in practice (after all, he is the fighter, not me) but from what I have seen, I have my doubts, as an objective observer.

With my head, I will pick Ouma to win on points, but with my heart, I will pick the Russian to win by knockout, which is what he says he will need, anyway, seeing as he is fighting in the opponent’s backyard. Either way, I think there is very little that can ruin this night of action, because we have two good fighters, meeting in the ring, and unafraid to put themselves on the line for the fans, and for themselves. Whatever the outcome of this fight, with my heart, I truly believe the fans have already come out victorious.

Enjoy the Fight!

Article posted on 12.07.2005

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