Boxing in July: Big Month for the Big Boys

01.07.06 - By: Troy Ondrizek: Last month I got a revolutionary device that would change my boxing viewing forever, it was TiVO. In my glee I was searching Boxrec to see what fights would be televised and which tantalizing bouts I could capture with this amazing contraption. Well as I kept reading I noticed a high amount of heavyweights scheduled to battle each other throughout the month. There are several big names stepping through the ropes as well as some top notch prospects trying to prove their worthiness of me capturing their careers on digital cable, to be held forever (at least a week) for me to watch over and over again. So I made a list and came up with at least twenty-one fights worth paying attention to if you’re an ardent fan of the division. Now that I have once again realized that I lack an extensive social life, I decided to help those of you who are better equipped to mingle with friends and family to still be able to pick and choose what quality bouts you would like to see and still have time to do what people like you do..

Tonight Tim Witherspoon’s little cousin Chazz “The Gentlemen” Witherspoon (12-0-0 7KO) will risk his perfect record and try to deflower fellow unbeaten Michael Alexander (11-0-0 8KO) on ShoBox. Witherspoon is the favorite, but we will see how fan-friendly his style truly is. I expect a shutout victory, but hopefully it will be the anti Brock/Ibragimov fight.

In just six short days later another prospect attempts to grow inside the ring when Joey Abell (6-0-0 6KO-1NC) will be taking on the ancient but undefeated Mark Brown (7-0-0 3KO). Abell has only fought one opponent who currently had a proverbial pulse when they met in the ring. This fight should level out the win/loss column among Abell’s opponents, but it should truthfully help the young man develop. In Nebraska on July 8th, there is a whole night of heavyweights. Granted it consist of solely club fighters, it can be really fun though to watch two club fighters go at it (see Maddalone/Miller). Plus you know they are hungry to win, because to the winner goes a $50 bar tab credit.

On the same night you can view another European prospect try to build his record and gain confidence when Croatian Mario Preskar (9-0-1 6KO) takes on Matthew Greer (7-2-0 (6KO) to attempt to gain some rounds with someone who can punch a bit. The July 8th fight-night culminates with a giant British heavyweight battle between Danny Williams and the dirty but tough Matt Skelton. In their last bout back in February, Skelton got away with fouling Williams during the entire match while finding ways to throw some punches in between. To Williams’ credit, he never backed down and fought a tough and exciting fight which saw Williams the victor by a split decision. I had Williams winning 115-113 and it was based on Williams taking the last round (sound familiar there Winky).

The following Friday, the 14th; the mid-western sideshow known as Tye Fields decides to grace the boxing world with his over-towering presence. Fields will be taking on the always dangerous top ranked journeyman, Maurice Harris. When will Fields step up and fight a credible opponent? To be honest with the ascension of Rahman, Liakhovich, and Briggs to heavyweight glory without ever fighting a real opponent, Fields is just following their lead. Too bad Tye is so slow in accomplishing this task. Harris could win this one, but hey I doubt it.

Saturday the 15th has four noteworthy bouts to choose from. The two prospects fighting that night are Devin Vargas (9-0-0 4KO) whose opponent is TBD. Vargas has a lot of room to grow, but he fights often and is progressing pretty well. The other prospect fighting on the 15th is the giant Egon Roth. Roth stands 6’7” or so and has feasted on the smaller and weaker tomato cans of the eastern bloc, to up his record to 15-0-0 (12KO). Roth’s victim hasn’t been dug up yet, but that won’t stop this protected German from getting another victory anyways.

On the same card as Vargas; comes a very interesting match-up between two unbeaten fighters. “Big” Rick Dyer (10-0-0 10KO) is going up against David Rodriguez (21-0-0 20KO). Both men have great power and both posses some skills. While Rodriguez has a more extensive amateur background, Dyer is a 6’10” southpaw with fast hands and a solid jaw. Dyer is a Stacy Goodson fighter who has beaten up on nobodies, but is privy to better trainers and sparring partners than Rodriguez. I say Dyer will utilize his reach and speed to garner a tough victory and to propel himself into some money fights.

In main support of the evening we come to a great fight between British journeyman Michael Sprott (28-9-0 14KO) and heavy handed southpaw and amateur champion Ruslan Chagaev (20-0-1 16KO). Chagaev has victories over the better fighters, most notably the hard-hitting and iron-jawed Vladimir Virchis. Sprott though has been in with a who’s who among the European heavyweight elite. Sprott is no pushover, but he will fall down under Chagaev’s powerful countering skills.

On the same bill as Roth, and Chagaev/Sprott, comes the EBU heavyweight title fight between Ukrainian power-puncher Vladimir Virchis (20-1-0 17KO) and the 2000 Super-heavyweight Olympic bronze medalist Paolo Vidoz (21-2-0 12KO). Virchis can easily be out-boxed, just watch his bout with Taras Bidenko. Problem is; if you give Virchis a chance to come from behind and knock you out, he can, will, and has; again, just watch his bout with Taras Bidenko. Vidoz has suffered two losses, one to Zuri Lawrence early in his career, and another to Nicolay Valuev on a broken jaw. Vidoz has the worst conditioning program and usually takes fights on weeks or days notice. Vidoz had time to train and prepare for this bout. Paolo knows this is a must win for him because he isn’t getting any younger, and he hasn’t made much money in the sport. Vidoz is the better technically sound fighter, but Virchis always has a punchers chance.

There has already been a plethora (word of the day) of good fights this month. I mean in most months five good fights will suffice, but there are several more for you socially skilled individuals to choose from; and for those of you like me, there are several more hours of fights to see. On July 20th prospect Damian Wills (20-0-0 15KO) will be fighting someone who he doesn’t know the name of, and we shouldn’t know it either. Wills has promise, he carries a victory over the prospect stepping stone Yanqui Diaz last month. Diaz isn’t a bad fighter, but he hasn’t won in two years, so when are we/me going to stop referring to him as a quality victory?

J.D. Chapman starts off the 21st with a fight against Jimmy Matz (34-4-1 21KO). Matz seems to have a good record, but I couldn’t recognize who he has beaten, and that just proves how padded Matz’ record is. This should be another win for the young man from Arkansas. Chapman should step up in a year or so, but you can watch this fight for a nice KO for J.D.

Headlining Friday Night Fights the same night is J.D.’s stable mate Jameel McCline. McCline is in against Terry Smith. Smith’s only loss is against Calvin Brock and blah, blah, blah. Look, McCline might not be on his game, but Smith was out on his fight against Julius Long. I mean Julius “frickin” Long. The same Julius Long who folded against Sam Peter before Peter entered the ring. McCline still isn’t in championship form, and never will be, but Scott Hirsch is doing a great job maneuvering McCline into position for another title shot.

American pugilistic prospect Malik Scott (24-0-0 10KO) carries on the torch of prospects facing nobodies in his bout with James Walton (21-8-2 11KO). Scott is young, but desperately needs to step up and look impressive against mediocre fighters. Malik always dictates the pace in his bouts and easily outclasses his opponents, but tends to cruise once he knows he is in the lead. It will come back to bite him one day, maybe the day he faces someone like Vladimir Virchis. Scott though doesn’t have to worry about it this time, for Walton’s best win is over the mighty King Ipitan, the original “Glass Joe”.

On Cedric Kushner’s Gotham boxing series, David Tua will continue his comeback on July 26th. Tua’s opponent isn’t decided yet, but no-one is an easy win for Tua. Back in October Tua had his hands full with Cisse Salif, and walked away with a split decision victory. Shannon Briggs is headlining that show and is taking on Darroll Wilson. Yes the same Darroll Wilson that stunned Shannon Briggs ten years ago and handed Shannon his first loss. I know a decade is a long time to avenge a loss, but Wilson was living off that victory and wasn’t going to give up a rematch easily. Well Wilson needs the money, and Briggs needs the tune-up before he steps in with Wladimir Klitschko. Tua/Briggs should be a great night of boxing in New York.

The following Friday the exuberant boxing fans from the Oceanic region of the globe get to see Shane Cameron (15-0-0 13KO) take on Roger Izonritei. Cameron is a tough Kiwi and is starting to gain a following down south. Cameron should get a nice KO on his record, and help bring attention to the budding Aussie/New Zealand boxing community.

Headlining Friday Night fights the same night is another great heavyweight fight. This time it is an eliminator for the IBF number one contender. Sultan Ibragimov (Timur’s much more exciting cousin) takes on perennial fringe contender Ray Austin. Last time Austin was in an eliminator bout he beat Owen Beck, and Beck got the title shot instead. Granted Beck was blown out in three rounds by Valuev, Austin can look forward to losing this fight, because if history is consistent; Austin could get the title shot he always dreamed of. Ibragimov is completely the opposite of Austin. Ibragimov is a relatively young hungry heavyweight, who we last saw back in December blowing out the overconfident Lance Whitaker. Ibragimov is going places, and even if he gets screwed over by the sanctioning body and doesn’t get his title shot, it won’t end his career. Sultan will force some champion one day to either give him their belt peacefully, or he will make them earn their defense money for sure.

To end out the weekend and month, a couple international fights will take place. Top Mexican heavyweight (not saying much) Saul Montana will look to fatten his record by taking on Frank Wood. Frank hasn’t fought the quality of heavyweights that I have, let alone Montana. Saul should walk through this little obstacle and end up with a decent payday against an up and comer who is looking to use Montana as a stepping stone. Remember this though; I said earlier that club fights can be the most fun, because two guys with nothing to lose and limited skills can just slug it out, well that might be the case here.

From Mexico to Germany we go where Sinan Samil Sam and Alexander Dimitrenko are set to end the month. Both Sam and Dimitrenko had the possibility to fight Jameel McCline or Shannon Briggs, but they declined. Right now neither man has an opponent set, but you can expect that Klaus-Peter Kohl isn’t going let his investments lose him money by setting them up for failure. It will be a great chance to see the future title contender Dimitrenko at work, and to see Sinan Samil Sam try to salvage what is left oh his career.

Yeah I know this is one active month. But as the temperature heats up during this time of year, so does things in the heavyweight division (sorry couldn’t resist). For those of you who have a social life, I hope I made things easier for you to pick out which fights you want to see. I know your wife or girlfriend wouldn’t let you watch them all; and neither will the networks, but for socially inept people like myself, I say bring on the fights, what else to I have to do. As always though, I might be a social baron some day, but until then, a man can dream can’t he?

Article posted on 01.07.2006

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