This weekend is filled to the gills with fights on a variety of levels, from a near tune-up to big steps up in class. In this preview and prediction article will break down bouts involving the undisputed champion at 140, Josh Taylor, Chris Colbert, Lawrence Okolie, and Victor Postol vs. Gary Antuanne Russell. The platforms range from Showtime, DAZN, and ESPN+. Let’s start at the top of the food chain with Josh Taylor fighting in front of his home crowd in Glasgow, Scotland.
Josh Taylor finally returns to action against his mandatory challenger in Jack Catterall. Most boxing experts believe Taylor will go up to welterweight in search of a major money opportunity assuming he wins on Saturday. Beyond Josh not fully focused in the early rounds or him fighting way down to the competition, this should be a relatively easy night for the man at junior welterweight. Sure Catterall beat fringe guys from the UK like Ohara Davies and Tyrone McKenna, but no one on his resume is remotely close to the level of Taylor.
My Official Prediction is Josh Taylor via mid-to-late rounds TKO.
Staying on that side of the pond, cruiserweight titlist Lawrence Okolie faces what could be a good test in Michal Cieslak. In his last four outings, Okolie beat three unbeaten prospects and got a quality win over a faded but still normally game Krzysztof Glowacki. The only real fight of note for Cieslak was a competitive point’s loss to llunga Junior Makabu. That said, Michal is ranked in the Top-10 and should give Okolie a few things to think about early.
My Offical Prediction is Lawrence Okolie by Stoppage.
Chris Colbert, unfortunately, won’t get to settle the WBA mess at 130 due to Roger Gutierrez getting pulled from the main event due to Covid-19. As a late replacement, undefeated prospect Hector Luis Garcia is pretty good. And he isn’t fresh off the couch either, having been a planned replacement, so he should show up in shape and ready to go. In 2019 Garcia got a nice victory over Anvar Yunusov and most recently a win on ShoBox over Isaac Avelar. At the end of the day, though, Chris Colbert has too many paths to victory, but without a ton of punching power, this fight will likely go the distance. The skill-level both punching variety and accuracy, along with good pop, will equate to a victory for Colbert.
My Official Prediction is Unanimous Decision or Late TKO.
The fight everyone’s most anticipating this weekend is Victor Postol vs. Gary Antuanne Russell as the co-feature on Showtime, and it’s really not close. Sure the opener on this card could be action-packed as some others bouts on Saturday or Sunday, but this one represents a significant step up in class for the young and hungry Russell. Regardless of Postol being 38-years old, he is still a boxer. We can’t just be brushed aside as a stepping stone for an up-and-comer. Victor has a sharp, stiff jab, and he knows his way around the pocket on offense and defense. Only Terence Crawford has made him look average, and let’s be honest, ‘Bud’ has done that to plenty of quality fighters.
One doesn’t have to look far down Victor Postol’s resume to find a super close loss to Jose Ramirez his last time out. Also, he fought tooth and nail in a competitive fight with 140-pound king Josh Taylor. The big problem besides age is Postol will be coming off his career longest layoff. Add that to the conflict going on in his homeland of Ukraine, and it doesn’t bode well. Antuanne Russell is a pressure fighter with high activity mixed with real skill in the middle of the ring or in the trenches. Russell will be giving away a sizable reach to Postol, meaning he’ll have to be patient and rely on timing in the early rounds before he gets fully established.
The head movement on defense and overall energy, along with a multi-dimensional attack to the head and body, is a handful to deal with. Hooks and uppercuts are Russell’s bread and butter offensively. If he’s ever in any trouble, Russell is equipped to find the escape route while staying within range to go right back at it. For around, say six rounds, this will be a two-way bout, and sometime after that, Russell will ultimately overwhelm Postol, which will begin to pile up the points. Don’t be afraid to put out a flyer on a very live underdog in Postol. After all, Russell is still green and has never gone the 10-round distance.
My Official Prediction is Gary Antuanne Russell by Majority-Decision.
Side Note: Keep your eyes peeled for usually all-action fighter Jerwin Ancajas. Also, Robeisy Ramirez Guillermo Rigondeaux, among others, featured in bouts this weekend.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio