This Saturday, headlining main events here in the states and abroad feature newly crowned champion in Mark Magsayo, facing a tough style matchup in Rey Vargas as part of a Showtime tripleheader.
Also, a rematch between a normally exciting Derek Chisora taking on Kubrat Pulev streaming live on the DAZN app should deliver at least a somewhat competitive bout. Coming off what appeared to be a slow weekend on paper ended up producing a sizable upset so we should be in for some fun this Saturday.
Let’s start with a rematch that no one was really screaming for but on face value will be a two-way fight and this hack-of-a-scribe finds it hard to complain about that. Chisora will have to find his way inside and land meaningful punches in the first part of the fight if he has any legit chance of pulling out the ‘W’. Speaking of winning, Chisora’s hand hasn’t been raised going all the way back to 2019 over David Price. Look for Pulev to fight at range and control the action with his impressive jab. Beyond the jab and movement, Pulev will land flush right hands either straight or via uppercut.
Even though their first meeting back in 2016 was a split decision the cards should’ve been all in favor of Pulev. Unless Kubrat has fallen off the ledge and the age factor catches up to him, Pulev should win this second go-round comfortably. And to be fair, Chisora could fall off the cliff due to the amount of damage he’s taken over his long career. Pulev has fought just one time since getting stopped by Anthony Joshua to close out 2020. It should be mentioned Chisora coming up short against an outside boxer type in Joseph Parker in his last two outings did make a pretty good account so let’s hope for the best.
My Prediction is Kubrat Pulev by Unanimous Decision.
By the way, I’m picking Israil Madrimov to move to 9-0 by defeating Michel Soro in the rematch from a first bout that ended strangely. If you didn’t see it, the referee couldn’t hear the bell ring to close the 9th round as Madrimov teed off on Soro.
Look for Madrimov to end the fight a round or two earlier and in a legal fashion. Israil started his career flashing fancy footwork with punching power, but in back-to-back fights prior to Soto, he was sloppy at times, jumping with his shots and getting hit clean. In his controversial win over Soto, it appeared Madrimov had tightened up his skills. Although Soto deserved a rematch from what took place, the outcome will be the same.
In the main event on Showtime, styles clash when, fresh off a major victory over Gary Russell Jr., Mark Magsayo takes on a tough mandatory challenger. Rey Vargas is over 5’10’ with a 70.5 reach which is pretty impressive for a 126-pounder.
And unlike some fighters who have reach and height advantages, Rey will use ever-bit of what he has, which should mesh well facing a come-forward boxer. Besides a knockout win over Julio Ceja, Mark Magsayo’s resume was very thin, making him a big underdog versus Gary Russell Jr. Yes, the injury Gary sustained made it clear as day he was limited, but Magsayo did do some things in the early rounds that stood out.
After round 3, Gary threw three jabs the rest of the nine rounds landing 11 in total. The crazy part is Magsayo threw over 200 jabs yet only managed to land 10. He simply outworked and therefore out-landed Russell, something he will need to do this Saturday. Activity not just the amount of punches Magsayo will have to throw and land, but the recent lack of activity of his opponent could play a big part. Vargas was inactive for 26 months, from his win over Tomoki Kameda in July of 2019 to his most recent win over Leanardo Baez. The odds for this fight are basically even which means Rey Vargas has great value.
Vargas should get the early lead by pumping his jab along with movement from the outside. At some point, Magsayo will need to close the distance using his foot speed and, if possible tying up Vargas while using his one hand free to land shots to the body/hip. It will be difficult for Magsayo to unload combinations, but he must keep pace with Rey, who threw nearly 800 punches in that victory over Kameda. Magsayo should be able to win a few rounds in the first, say 6 to 8, but if he doesn’t cut the ring off and also make Vargas pay it will be a very long and frustrating night for him and quite possible the viewing audience. Regardless if the scorecards end up around say 7-5 or something like 9-3 the skills, reach, and now-how in the ring gives Rey Vargas more paths to victory.
My Official Prediction is Rey Vargas by Unanimous Decision.
The undercard of the Showtime triple consists of Brandon Figueroa in his first fight since taking a close points-loss to Stephen Fulton, against a quality opponent in Carlos Castro in a WBC title eliminator. If Figueroa comes thru this bout, he could be matched with the winner of the main event or a step-up fight nonetheless. The opening bout is an interesting matchup between rising prospect Frank Martin facing a highly-suitable replacement boxer in Jackson Martinez. The skills Martinez posses should give Frank Martin a thing or two to think about, so let’s see if he can adapt.
Side Note: Prospect Cesar Francis at the 140-pound division goes against the hardened-vet Raymundo Beltran in the main event on ProBoxTv.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio. Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio