Forget the cold war, this one will be red-hot! This Saturday in Moscow, Russia, we just might have The Fight of The Year, as cruiserweights Denis Lebedev (never in a bad fight) and Murat Gassiev (brutal KO artist) meet in a fight that has attracted plenty of attention amongst hardcore fight fans. These same fans, and a whole lot of boxing experts, are split as to who wins.
Lebedev, the older man by a considerable margin at 37, defends his WBA and IBF titles against a man who is not only younger, is not only a frightening puncher, but is also a god deal taller than the defending champ (6’3” for the challenger, 5’11” for the champ). With all this against him, it is testament to Lebedev’s toughness that he is seen as even-stevens to walk away with his belts on Saturday. What we do know is this: the fight will not be for the squeamish, it has the proverbial snowball’s chance of going the distance, and the Russian fans – who know how to party – will all go home happy.
How much has southpaw Lebedev, 29-2(22) got left? How good is Gassiev, 23-0(17)? Fans who remember the quite savage punishment Lebedev took in his loss to Guillermo Jones in 2013 (who can forget it!) will be wondering just how the champ is still fighting, and why. Resembling The Elephant Man that gruesome night, Lebedev took more of a beating than any fighter has a right to. Somehow, he has reeled off four wins since his sole stoppage defeat – and Lebedev has looked pretty good in doing so.
Gassiev, some 14 years the younger man at age 23, has scored some highlight reel KO’s in his young, five year pro career, and he has earned a reputation as a fighter who, if he hits someone – anyone – he can end the fight in spectacular style. Will Lebedev’s amazing chin and heart be able to deal with what comes his way inside The Ice Palace? Will Gassiev gas if he is taken into the deep waters?
This one should be as fascinating to watch unfold as it will be brutal. Let’s just hope fans in the UK and the US get to see the fight!