This Saturday night: It should be bombs away as the big punchers are in action – Wilder, Ortiz, Kovalev, Bivol

02/26/2018 - By James Slater - Comments

For those fight fans who love seeing a KO, a spectacular KO, it should prove to be some entertaining night on Saturday night. There will be no less than four monster punchers in action, two of them going up against each other. Also, two former champions will attempt to show they are not yet ready for retirement, for the rocking chair and the slippers.

The heavyweights will be in action in New York, as WBC heavyweight king Deontay Wilder will, finally, after a failed drugs test seemed to have forever ruined the fight, swap leather with fellow unbeaten Luis Ortiz. Simply put, there is NO WAY this fight goes the distance. Ortiz is predicting a KO, while Wilder is predicting, in the words the fictitious Clubber Lang used, “Pain!” Wilder says the fight will last no longer than three-rounds. He may well be proven right. But whoever wins, this one will be fun, explosive and very possibly brutal.

The light-heavyweights will be in action on Saturday, also in New York, as WBO 175 pound ruler and former world champ Sergey Kovalev makes the first defence of his second reign as WBO boss, against fellow Russian, southpaw Igor Mikhalkin. Kovalev is for many people the hardest puncher in boxing today (this despite his two losses to Andre Ward; the two wins achieved by Ward just going to show how special a talent he really was/is). Kovalev is also a firm favourite to beat Mikhalkin, who has lost just once, via decision. The question is, can “Krusher” get the savage KO he is always looking for? Most feel he will indeed go home early.

While in the co-feature, unbeaten WBA light-heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol will make his fourth defence (if we include his interim title fights), against capable challenger Sullivan Barrera. Bivol could be the best light-heavyweight out there, even better than his countryman Kovalev. Barrera is talented and experienced, losing only to the aforementioned Ward (Lpts12) and he might give Bivol some problems. Still, the feeling is the 12-0 champ (an amazing record for a world champion fighter who has already achieved so much) will catch up with Barrera eventually.

Who will score the more impressive, more violent KO – Kovalev or Bivol?

And if that’s not enough action, Saturday will also see two former champions, both of whom feel they have plenty to prove, returning to action. In the UK, former IBF welterweight ruler Kell Brook will look to put two painful losses, to Gennady Golovkin and to Errol Spence, behind him as he boxes up at 154 against a very lively comeback foe in the form of Sergey Rabchenko. Can Brook return to winning ways and with a victory keep alive his dream of landing a mega-fight with Amir Khan?

As for former WBO junior-featherweight and former WBO featherweight king Juan Manuel Lopez, the 34 year old (yes, still only 34, although Juanma sure seems to be a lot older, as long as he’s been around) will face Jayson Velez in just his second fight since 2014. Lopez is nothing like the force he once was (and he hasn’t been for some time) but the Puerto Rican can still bang, bang, bang. Velez, also from Puerto Rico, has lost four but he has never been stopped. Can Juanma score one more KO in this all-Puerto Rican battle?

It should be some night of action in Saturday. How many KO’s will we see? How many knockdowns will we see? These numbers promise to grow and grow as Saturday night progresses.

Predictions: Wilder gets off the floor to KO Ortiz inside five fierce rounds. Kovalev gets his man out of there inside four. Bivol catches up with Barrera in the late rounds, scoring the TKO. Brook has to settle for a points win. Lopez drops a decision to Velez.