Anderson vs. Merhy: Time for Jared to Put the Train Back on the Track!

By Chris Carlson - 04/12/2024 - Comments

Anderson-Merhy, Efe Ajagba-Guido Vianello and the return of Robson Conceição will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

The time is now for Jared Anderson and Top Rank to make some new noise at the heavyweight division. To be fair this is not a shot at Top Rank, truth be told their fighter isn’t the most focused professional. His focus seems to be on pumping up his YouTube views and cashing out of the sport. In Jared’s own words he basically said he’s not really worried about winning a title. All that said Jared Anderson does have real skill and power to be a threat in this ever-aging division. The bottom line is boxing is such a brutal sport, if a fighter isn’t 100 percent fully plugged in it can pass them by quickly. Or worse they can get badly hurt.

Jared’s only distance bout came against a veteran boxer in Charles Martin. Although Anderson clearly won most of the rounds, Charles hurt him two separate times. Anderson came back less than two months later in late August of last year but hasn’t been seen since. Injury played a part in him not fighting and we won’t get into detail about his recent brush with the law. Jared Anderson’s opponent is coming off his biggest win of his career. The question is what does that really mean and will Jared get a good test?

Ryad Merhy defeated Tony Yoka via split-decision for whatever that’s worth. Not trying to take away from the win but the fight prior to that he lost to a non-descript boxer in Kevin Lerena. His other loss came from Arsen Goulamirian, a guy who recently lost in one-sided fashion to Gilberto Ramirez. It should be noted Arsen put up a good fight in a losing effort. In Saturday’s main event live on ESPN Jared Anderson will look to establish the jab in the opening frames. Then Jared will begin to land power shots either one punch at a time or in quick combinations. Beyond some moments of success for Merhy, who is an experienced boxer, Anderson should get his hand raised via UD or TKO.

My Official Prediction is Jared Anderson by Unanimous Decision.

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The co-feature between Efe Ajagba and Guido Vianello should be an entertaining scrap. Efe at times looks like a legit contender that has a solid jab and real power in his right hand. While other outings Efe is hesitant or gives off the feel of a one-trick pony. As long as Efe remains active with his punch rate he can control the distance and pace of this fight. Guido is a decent boxer who is willing to bring the pressure and doesn’t shy away from exchanges. Guido has a pretty good jab he throws to the head and body fairly consistently.

Where this boxing podcaster sees holes in Vianello is his hand speed and defense. When Guido throws his right hand it comes off a bit slow and wide, leaving him open for counter shots. Vianello has the style to present issues for Efe and at the same time sets up nicely for return fire by Ajagba. Guido will apply the pressure but he also tends to circle his opponent and susceptible to getting caught pulling out of the pocket. Once Efe gets comfortable and finds his timing he will land something big enough to make Guido less effective on offense and force him to hold more. In the mid to later rounds Guido’s jab and overall lands will become more arm-punches with not as much pop.

My Official Prediction is Efe Ajagba by Unanimous Decision.

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Assuming Jared picks up the win the goal should be to put him in with the winner of the co-feature. There’s no time like the present for Top Rank to match their heavyweight fighters they’ve signed in recent years. The cream of crop of Top Rank’s stable in this division is clearly Bakhodlr Jalolov. He’s already stated his 2024 plan is to focus on the Paris Olympics then resume his pro career. In that case the winners of Saturday’s fights face off in the summer. Then whoever wins that fight takes on Jalolov to close the year.

Side Note: Highly-touted prospect Abdullah Mason is on the ESPN undercard. The best fight of the weekend on paper is Zelfa Barrett vs. Jordan Gill on DAZN.  

Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio