Haney, Wilder, & Plant Wins Initiates Big Fight Opportunities

By Chris Carlson - 10/14/2022 - Comments

Yet another busy fight schedule is upon us boxing fans, with ESPN and FOX PPV broadcasting events on Saturday night to go along with ESPN+ streaming a double header of epic proportions during the afternoon that same day. The bouts over here in the states that will be previewed and predicted include Devin Haney vs. George Kambosos 2, Deontay Wilder vs. Robert Helenius, and Caleb Plant vs. Anthony Dirrell. Let’s start down under with the rematch for the undisputed lightweight crown from Australia.

As we all know, Devin Haney and George Kambosos fought in June to a decisive Haney victory, and truth be told, we didn’t need a rematch. Of course, we also know in order to get this fight, Devin Haney had to sign a deal with ESPN and agree to grant George a rematch if exercised. Lots of boxing folks were complaining profusely about not wanting to see Fury/Wilder again after a one-sided beatdown in the 2nd bout, and look how that fight turned out. Of course, that’s wishful thinking that this rematch could turn out to be a barnburner, but it is what it is, and there’s nothing we can do about it now.

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What can Kambosos do, if anything, to improve on his lackluster performance against Haney? Well, for starters, he must attack the body even more this time and, overall, throw caution to the wind to an extent anyways. George did have limited success in the early goings with his jab and being somewhat active in rounds 2-4 as well as round 6. There were also short spurts of combinations, mostly landing to the body; Kambosos out landed Haney 34-16 and 33-3 with power shots to the midsection. Targeting the body at a higher rate, along with roughhouse tactics, will be George’s only real possible path to victory. It may open up opportunities to land a left hook to Haney’s head, something Joseph Diaz was able to take advantage of at times. Making Haney complain to the referee and losing focus by getting flustered is the only hope.

For Devin Haney, really, it’s more of the same using the jab to contain the attack of Kambosos and score points. This boxing podcaster did think their first meeting was Haney’s best defensive effort compared to his bouts with Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz Jr. Haney stayed in the pocket instead of excessive moving and, by the mid-rounds, took over the action completely to the final bell. The way Devin is talking fight week it appears he’s prepared for an all-out, come-forward type game plan, so will see how many times he will be able to counter George coming in if he gets too reckless.

All and all, sure, Kambosos can muck up this fight and slow down the punch land separation by Haney, but it won’t be enough to get over the hump. It should be mentioned that two of the judge’s scorecards did read 116-112, so a slight improvement might swing the fight closer than we think. One last item Florida and LSU is the lead-in on ESPN, so get ready to watch the undercard on ESPN+ or ESPN News if it goes late.

My Official Prediction is Devin Haney by Unanimous Decision.

Deontay Wilder returns to the ring from a much-needed layoff after giving us fans a ferocious battle in the trilogy fight versus Tyson Fury. From the sounds of it, Wilder took a good long look at his career, and thought about retiring but decided to carry on for another three years max. Wilder has been training in Las Vegas at the UFC performance center to go along with sparring back in Alabama. Adding a few new things, one being trainer Don House. He and his team have been working on punch output and also not worrying as much about gaining weight, going back to a more natural weight, likely in the 220s, maybe lower.

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Robert Helenius is a sparring partner, and from the sounds of it a friend of Wilder’s, and he fits the bill of a comeback opponent. Helenius is a fringe contender coming off of back-to-back knockout wins over fellow fringe heavyweight Adam Kownacki. Robert is a game fighter who won’t back down and should give a decent account of himself before the inevitable ensues. This boxing hardcore expects some two-way stuff and then a stoppage. If Wilder is shopworn, it may show in this matchup, but Helenius’s chin won’t hold up long, so Robert will have to strike in the early goings. I’m glad to hear Wilder is back and that he’s coming in a lighter weight which suits his body type. Andy Ruiz, Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, Joe Joyce, and Otto Wallin are all worthy candidates for Wilder’s next fight should he get through Helenius.

My Official Prediction is Deontay Wilder by Early to Mid Round KO.

The fight that has the most intrigue out of these three is Caleb Plant vs. Anthony Dirrell. Plant attempts to shake off the first loss of his career to Canelo Alvarez last November via 11th round TKO. Plant is known to be a fast starter by out-boxing foes on the outside. Caleb did that against Canelo and Jose Uzcategui, so I would assume the same in this matchup. However, in both of those fights, he did wear down, obviously being stunned and then stopped by Canelo. Although Plant surprisingly knocked down Uzcategui twice, Jose was able to crowd Plant on the ropes and land several telling blows later in that fight.

In the last few years, Anthony Dirrell has produced inconsistent outings. He is past his prime but looks to be in great shape going by a recent image he posted. Dirrell struggled to a draw with Kyrone Davis, but that did come after 17 months out of the ring. His last time out, Dirrell landed a nasty uppercut on Marcos Hernandez, stopping him in the 4th round. Anthony is a solid come-forward guy who has good fundamentals, something he showed against David Benavidez until he suffered a bad cut. One thing that is not up for debate is the fact that Dirrell has been tested win-lose-or-draw by the likes of Badou Jack, Sakio Bika, Caleb Truax, and David Benavidez. A motivated Dirrell could give Plant a run for his money.

Plant’s jab, footwork, and punch rate in the form of pot shots and quick combos should pile up the points resulting in getting his hand raised. Let’s see how much Dirrell has left in the tank and if he can apply effective pressure to slow down Plant. Although I fully understand David Benavidez’s frustration in not landing the Canelo fight, Dirrell is a perfectly fine opponent for Plant to fight coming off a loss. If Plant is successful, let’s hope a fight with Benavidez will be made while Canelo is taking a break to rest his body and recoup from a reported wrist injury. If not that, then a fight against Jermall Charlo would work as well.

My Official Prediction is Caleb Plant by Unanimous Decision.

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Side Note: Keep an eye out for a tightly-matched Gary Antonio Russell vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez, along with Frank Sanchez vs. Carlos Negron on the PBC on FOX PPV undercard.

Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio