ESPN commentator Tim Bradley believes that WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly (13-0, 9 KOs) took his opponent Denzel Bentley (17-2-1, 14 KOs) lightly last Saturday night, thinking he could knock him out with one punch in their fight at the Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas.
Bradley suspects the 29-year-old Janibek took it too lightly in training for the fight against the 27-year-old British fighter Bentley, and he didn’t follow the instructions of his trainer Buddy McGirt.
What McGirt felt that was lacking from Janibek in terms of his offense was combination punching. He was throwing too many single shots, thinking that Bentley would fall over.
Of course, Janibek has never been a combination puncher during his pro career, and he fought the same way in the amateur ranks.
McGirt had to have known about Janibek’s lack of combination punching since he started training him, and that flaw in his game should have been fixed long ago.
If not for Janibek’s last surge in the last three rounds, he would have lost to Bentley. Bradley liked how Janibek showed toughness from the 10th round on, finishing strong. Janibek won the fight by the scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110.
“He took the guy lightly. I definitely saw some holes in his offense and defense,” said Tim Bradley to K.O. Artists Sports about WBO middleweight champion Janibek Alimkhanuly following his win over Denzel Bentley last Saturday night.
“The dude is used to knocking guys out with one punch, hitting them, and they going out and really stopped working on all of his skills,” Bradley continued about Janibek.
“You got to be able to fight and operate at all ranges if you need to. You got to be able to press on the gas and do what your trainer asked you to do.
“There were little things that I saw. He’s 29 years old, and he’s fought 13 times in six years? That’s not a whole lot of growth right there. He does have a ton of skill and ability, you can see it, but he needs more seasoning. That’s it.
“I like his toughness at the end of the fight. His grit, he bit down. he found that right shot that was able to energize him and pull off the last few rounds, which I felt was needed.
“The judges thought it was a landslide win. I thought it was a close fight. I thought that Bentley mounted an attack midway and landed some really good offense. He forced Janibek back, pushed him back at times, and landed good right hands, clean shots.
“He got the better of him in the backend of some of those rounds, I felt. He could have evened the fight up. It could have been a two-point spread, if that. I think that would have been better.
“Ultimately, the right man won. Those last couple of rounds was the key to victory for Janibek, but more growth from here. Some fighters, they fight to the level of their opposition.
“The last fighter that he [Janibek] faced with a British fighter [Danny Dignum], and he knocked him out in a few rounds.
“He thought he was going to do the same thing to this guy, a journeyman. He’s been knocked out before [by Felix Cash] being in there with a real puncher.
“The thing is, he took it light in the gym. He thought it was going to be easy work. Bentley had his own plan. He lasted a few rounds and realized, ‘Hey, it’s not as bad as everybody said it is. I got skill; I got ability; I got two hands, and I’m going to use my skill, and I’m going to test this guy.’
“But I will say this. When the competition steps up, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll see a better Janibek without question. That’ll get him going. This type of performance tonight will get him going.
“There’s no doubt about it. He’s going to have to,” said Bradley about his belief that Janibek will have to step it up after his performance against Bentley.