Valuev-Barrett: An Upset In the Making

07.10.06 - By Karen Belford: Nikolay Valuev (44-0, 32 KO’s) defends his WBA heavyweight belt tonight against Monte Barrett (31-4, 17 KO’s) at the Rosemont Arena in Illinois. Valuev, called the "8th wonder of the world" by his promoter, Don King, is one the largest heavyweight champions in history of boxing. While standing 7’0” and weighing in at 328, Valuev dwarfs Barrett, who at 6”3” 222 lbs, is outweighed by 100 lbs. It doesn’t take a rocket science to see that Barrett is going to have to use speed and movement to avoid being mauled by the mammoth Valuev.

Of course, stranger things have happened, and Barrett could very well get lucky and outbox the slower punching Valuev. In fights like this, where neither fighter has much talent, every detail matters, every little punch landed or slipped, could change the outcome of this fight. Unlike most people, I seriously doubt that Valuev will be able to knockout the much quicker Barrett.

While he may not have much power, Barrett fights much like Chris Byrd. In fact, I consider Barrett sort of a poor man’s Byrd, one with a bit more power, though. The problem for Barrett, unfortunately, is that he washed rushed too quickly in the early portion of his career, and made to fight large heavyweights like Wladimir Klitschko and Lance Whitaker, before he was ready to. It’s hard to say whether or not things would have been different for Barrett if he wasn’t matched so toughly early in his career, however, I think it would have been better for him.

Nevertheless, it may actually help him in tonight’s bout, being that his experience against large heavyweights like Whitaker and Wladimir Klitschko, both of which hit much harder than Valuev could ever dream of, will give Barrett knowledge as to how to fight someone as large and as wide as Valuev. One thing is for sure, Barrett has to stay away from Valuev, who happens to fight very well on the inside for a large heavyweight. Unlike most big heavyweights that have problems fighting in close, Valuev seems to thrive there, where he can throw uppercuts and use his weight to lean on his much smaller opponents.

After reviewing numerous tapes of each fighter, I;ve come away with a strong feeling that Barrett’s going to pull off an upset tonight. While it’s possible that Barrett may be intimidated by the occasion and self destruct like he has in previous bouts against good opponents, I don’t see it happening tonight, not against someone as limited as Valuev. In this case, Barrett’s speed advantage and ring generalship will be a potent equalizer, turning this fight into his favor. I don’t, however, think that Barrett will have enough power to dent Valuev’s excellent chin, I do think he’ll land enough punches to frustrate and ultimately, win a decision over the big Russian.

Prediction” Barrett by 12-round decision.

Article posted on 08.10.2006

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