Byrd vs. Williamson on October 1st

26.09.05 - By Craig Parrish: This Saturday, IBF Heavyweight Champ Chris Byrd will defend his title against DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson in Reno, Nevada. This will be the fourth title defense for Byrd who won the crown in 2002 with a decision over Evander Holyfield. Byrd is currently 38-2-1(20), 6’1 and ˝”, at 214 pounds. He is a Southpaw, and a very slick fighter who likes to stick and move. However, his lack of activity in the last few years and his age, 35, raise concerns that he will continue to be able to fight like this in the Heavyweight Division.. In the last 2 years, Byrd has only fought twice, the last bout a split decision victory over the massive Jameel McCline. Byrd was 56 pounds lighter and nearly 5 inches shorter than McCline, but used his superior boxing skills to pull out a decision despite being knocked down in the second round.

Throughout his career, Byrd has shown willingness to get in the ring with much larger fighters, such as McCline, the Klitschko Brothers, and Andrew Golota. With the exception of a loss to Wladimir Klitschko, Byrd has triumphed over the much larger men with speed, although several of the decisions have been questionable.

Byrd took this bout after turning down a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko for a much larger purse. While he would have made millions with the Klitschko fight, Byrd we only receive $400,000 for his defense against Williamson. Although much finger pointing went on between the Byrd and Klitschko camps, it is becoming apparent that Byrd wants nothing to do with Klitschko, but may not be able to avoid him any longer. Klitschko became the IBF #1 contender with his victory over Samuel Peter on September 24th. If Byrd can triumph over Williamson, he will have to face Wladimir sometime in the future.

DaVarryl Williamson is an interesting fighter who did not start boxing until the age of 25 and has moonlighted as a Standup Comedian. He has been a sparring partner for Byrd on several occasions, most recently to help prepare Byrd for his defense against Andrew Golota. While aging legs are a concern for Byrd, Williamson is even older at 37. He does have a size advantage at 6’ 3”, but Byrd has shown in the past that he can nullify that. Williamson is 22-3 (18), and has lost 2 of his last 5 fights, one to Joe Mesi and the other to Wladimir Klitschko. The loss to Klitschko led many to believe that Williamson was not deserving of a title shot.

Although he is aging, Williamson is still a big puncher and Byrd has seemed to slow a bit in his last few fights. Williamson should be in no danger as Byrd is a light puncher with not much power. Williamson’s recent losses have come against hard-hitting punchers Klitschko and Mesi. Williamson is still quicker than McCline, and if he can slow Byrd and get him against the ropes, he has a chance of prevailing. However, if Byrd can continue to use his movement as he had in the past, he should be able to tire Williamson and take the fight into the later rounds. If that happens, Byrd should win with a decision.

Pick: Byrd, UD 12

Article posted on 27.09.2005

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