Photo by Rich Graessle/Main Events – This Saturday night’s HBO Doubleheader marks the return of knockout artist Sergey Kovalev, who crushed his way to the top of the light heavyweight division in 2013. His opponent is Cedric Agnew, a fighter who is both undefeated and untested.
The co-feature pits a fighter who recently reached contender status, Karim Mayfield against Thomas Dulorme, a former prospect to be reckoned with now trying to find his way back to the big leagues after his T.K.O. loss to Carlos Abregu.
Cedric Agnew and his sterling record of 26-0 with 13 KO’s, certainly looks the part to a person who just happens to be at home, channel surfing right around the time the ring announcer is giving introductions.
The trained I will tell the truth in no time with just one look at Agnew’s resume. The most well known fighter on the list is Yusaf Mack, whom Agnew went twelve rounds with in his last fight.
Mack has been in with some marquee names in the last few years, does the fact that he couldn’t stop or knock down Mack raise a yellow flag?
Conclusions have been made about power, and if Cedric will have enough of it to stop or at least slow down a freight train of power and pressure that the “Crusher” will bring to this fight from Atlantic City, in the Ballroom at the Boardwalk Hall.
There’s not a ton of film out there on YouTube for Cedric Agnew making it hard to judge his capabilities for this matchup. One thing I noticed right off the bat was the compact body, guard, and punches coming from Agnew.
He and his camp have been saying all the right things in the lead up for this HBO fight. Agnew claims he will use his head not heart to secure the win by fighting smart. The game plan is to box on the outside limiting the amount of exchanges he engages in with Kovalev.
Makes a lot of sense, of course the obvious question that comes to mind, does he have that kind of ability to stay sharp for 12 long rounds? Agnew has gone the full twelve rounds twice before, which should give him some confidence and at the very least answers a question that has yet to be answered about Sergei Kovalev, whom himself has only been to the 8th round once, looking sluggish at times versus Darnell Boone in their first meeting.
From what I could tell versus inferior opposition, Cedric throws a solid jab that he uses to work his way in and to land bigger punches. Agnew’s may be built like a brick shit house, the fact remains that his high guard and short punches could work against him with a punishing body puncher like Kovalev. It’s nice to keep both hands up but Cedric holds them too high, making his body look like fresh meat to a shark.
Agnew’s footwork and defense will be tested to the limit and could be the cause of his undoing this Saturday night.
Sergei Kovalev has risen to new heights in popularity amongst a portion of the hardcore. Any fighter with real knockout power will always grab the attention of boxing fans.
Kovalev can and will get hit plenty, with that said he can be a patient puncher at times. Other times missing wildly with an overhand right being thrown with bad intentions.
Overall Sergey is a fairly fluid puncher that will pounce on his pry at the first sign of weakness. He does a good job of cutting the ring off, allowing him to set up shop with his opponent on the ropes were he can let off punishing body shots.
Kovalev will use a jab which is usually followed by a right hand. He punches in bunches but showed a different wrinkle in the middle of the ring, timing Nathan Cleverly on his way to a knockout win last summer in Wales.
I could see Agnew having limited success in the early goings until Kovalev moves into striking range. This scribe needs to see it from Agnew, to believe he can out box Kovalev.
My official prediction is Sergey Kovalev by late knockout.
Side Note: Much has been made about Kovalev’s planned fall HBO fight with 175 pound kingpin Adonis Stevenson. To me it’s no surprise. The writing was on the wall with “Superman” signing with Al Haymon and the fact that he had been calling for a fight with the legend of longevity, Bernard Hopkins moments after his shocking 1st round KO of Chad Dawson.
Stevenson may be new to the world scene but at 36 he is no spring chicken. He has every right to take a better offer for his next fight and to make more money fighting a bigger name in BHOP.
HBO turned down that BHOP vs. Stevenson fight last year and showed no interest in it this year. I totally understand fans that craved for the Stevenson vs. Kovalev fight but let’s not jump overboard just yet. I’m sure 2015 or not that far beyond we will have a chance (we all hope) to see that fight take place.
Moving on to the co-feature fight between Karim Mayfield and Thomas Dulorme that may not be the most fan friendly matchup but the winner moves on to bigger fights.
Both men have skill, athletic ability and speed. Karim past his 1st major test beating Mauricio Herrera, while Thomas failed when his opportunity to test his medal came in the form of Carlos Abregu, a hard punching Argentine who loves to land his overhand right.
In what was a slow paced fight, with the now more respected Mauricio Herrera, Karim Mayfield did what he had to do to get the win. It was slow and ugly with lots of clinching, at the end of the day Karim landed the bigger more telling punches.
Thomas Dulorme fought well against Carlos Abregu for portions of the fight. He was dropped in rounds 3 and 5 ultimately the fight was stopped in the seventh with his corner feeling they had seen enough.
Dulorme recently switched trainers, now working with Robert Garcia, claims the change has really brought out all of his tools both mentally and physically as a fighter. Dulorme is a technical fighter but has shown major defensive liabilities and weak chin. This fight could play out in similar fashion to his scrap with Carlos Abregu. Dulorme having plenty of success and despite having touched the canvas twice, still managing to be in the fight on the judge’s scorecards.
Expect a mixed bag of clinching, a jab fest, and both guys swinging for the fences. Dulorme will have to be the more active fighter, using his natural height and rangy build to keep Mayfield off balanced. The question is how long will Thomas be able to keep Karim from closing the gap?
For Mayfield expect him (both) to come out slow at the start as he measures distance to deliver his money punch, that being his overhand/straight right hand. Karim will likely remain calm waiting for the right time to time a lead right hand.
I’ve noticed improvement from Mayfield when he throws that lead right hand. In the past he made the mistake of just let it rip throwing caution to the wind. Now he moves his head and upper body to the side or jumps outside the pocket after throwing his Sunday punch.
Both fighters use their jabs in a variety of ways. The winner of this fight will be the one that jabs with purpose. In what will be a close fight in the early to mid rounds, Karim Mayfield will find his groove and land a fight changing punch, hurting Dulorme enough to make us forget about his busy flashy early work.
My official prediction is Karim Mayfield by late round KO or Unanimous Decision.
Written by Chris Carlson Owner and Host of Rope A Dope Radio at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio
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