After Wide But Dull Decision Win Over Rydell Booker, Has Kubrat Pulev Got You Thinking He Lives With Either Ruiz Or Joshua?
IBF mandatory at heavyweight Kubrat Pulev won a ten-round decision over Rydell Booker: 98-92, 98-92, 99-91.
It’s probably fair to say that the one person who was most impressed with heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev’s ten-round decision victory over Rydell Booker last night, on the Jamel Herring-Lamont Roach Jr card, was Pulev himself. For despite the fact that the fight was dull, fought at a slow, chugging pace with both men failing to let their hands go with anything like real venom, Pulev was happy with his performance, stating after it how it “showed everyone I’m at world level, and I must fight the winner of Joshua and Ruiz.”
Well, okay, if you say so, Kubrat.
But if you saw last night’s fight, chances are you will disagree. Pulev, aged 38 and now 28-1(14), was coming off an eight month layoff (enforced by “the kiss,” as in the one the Bulgarian planted on the kisser of a female interviewer) and he may have been carrying some rust as a result, but the once-stopped big man (by Wladimir Klitschko, seemingly an age ago now) looked slower than ever, of both foot and hand. Booker, the same age, was worse, although he did have a good opening round. Booker was either unable to throw hands, or he was unwilling. Now 26-3(13) Booker looks like a cagey, spoiler type who most fighters would struggle to stop (he has never been stopped, the Detroit fighter’s career having a 14-year inactive spell due to jail time). But how many more big fight chances is he going to get?
Pulev WILL get a shot at the IBF belt, whoever holds it; that or he’ll go to court. Or it’s entirely possible the winner of the Ruiz-Joshua return will opt to drop the strap and go for a bigger, far more exciting fight; one we actually want to see, and Pulev would then face the next available IBF contender for the vacant belt. If not, and if Pulev does fight either AJ or “The Destroyer,” well, it’s incredibly tough to make a case for him winning.
Pulev is no fierce puncher, he is getting on in years and again, he looked slower than ever last night. What Pulev is, is tough, durable, and it would likely take either Ruiz or Joshua a good few rounds to shift him and get him out of there. But would the action be pleasing to watch? Pulev has now won eight in a row since the KO loss to Wlad back in November of 2014. But unless he has been saving up one tremendous effort, one last great fight, the Bulgarian seems to have no real chance of beating either of the two men who will lock horns in Saudi Arabia in just under a month’s time.