A pair of heavyweight title fights takes place this Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after a span of 115-years since the last of its kind. In the main event unbeaten WBC champion Deontay Wilder faces Artur Szpilka and in the co-feature Vyacheslav Glazkov meets Charles Martin for a vacant IBF strap. Szpilka has a chance to become the first polish heavyweight in history. If Wilder wins it sets the stage for tremendous 2016 with the likes of Alexander Povetkin and Fury/Klitschko rematch winner waiting in the wings.
Saturday night’s scrap will have meant Wilder fought 4 times in a year span starting with a title fight versus Bermane Stiverne in Las Vegas last January. Wilder defended his title two more times against lesser opponents to many boxing fans dismay. However, not all was lost in those two defenses which gave Wilder some much-needed rounds, the fights we’re fan-friendly, and helped build up his hometown base.
Szpilka is no world-beater but he definitely has to goods to pull off an upset or at least give a good account of himself. Szpilka has a strong following in Chicago and you can bet your bottom dollar the polish community will show up in full-force to support their guy. Since making the switch to trainer Ronny Shields the improvements are clear as day which gives him a better shot on Saturday than his previous opportunity in a big spot on HBO. It’s evident the work Artur’s put in has paid off from a physical standpoint.
Range and distance will be very important for each fighter and will likely be the biggest decider. Clearly Wilder will have substantial reach and height advantages on the Polish native. Punching power will be in favor of Wilder as well but that’s not to say skill won’t play a major part.
Szpilka will need skill in the form of a jab and faints as he works his way on the inside. Once inside Szpilka will have to make things very uncomfortable for the lanky champion. Forcing the fight to the ropes by any means necessary is a must as Szpilka teeters on the brink of a foul called by the referee. Repeat blows to the body to chop down Wilder’s long frame could go a long way and will close punching range to limit his power.
Deontay will look to catch the slower opponent on the way in with a long jab, steady movement, and straight right hands. Look for Wilder to fight in the style he did against Stiverne for the first part of the bout. Once he finds range and gets comfortable expect an uptick in activity and aggression. Szpilka could make this a fun two-way affair if he avoids standing in front of Wilder without activity like he did versus Bryant Jennings.
After 3 or 4 rounds Wilder will begin to mash the gas pedal in an attempt to close the show. And close the show he will somewhere in the mid-to-later rounds. Wilder will probably get hit enough to display a swollen eye or bloody lip giving the live audience some thrills on his way to victory.
My official prediction is KO or TKO in the 10th round.
Side Note: The Co-Feature an interesting matchup between unbeaten heavyweights. Glazkov vs. Martin came out of left field after the IBF ruled to strip Tyson Fury but it does have a bit of 50-50 to it. Glazkov has the better amateur pedigree and is clearly more experienced as a pro. But Martin’s power could be the equalizer in this fight even if Charles is down on the scorecards. My official prediction is Glazkov by majority decision. Also, for those that still care, Former Heavyweight Champ David Haye returns to action and if successful looks to make some noise in the coming months in the division.
Written by Chris Carlson Owner and Host of Rope-A-Dope-Radio blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio
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