By Andrew Walker: Nikolai Valuev made a strong case for reclaiming his WBA World heavyweight title last night in the Nuremberg Arena, Germany by winning every round to defeat Sergei Lyakhovich with an impressive display of boxing. Previously Valuev’s biggest asset was his size alone that made him hard to beat as he dwarfed all opponents before him until Ruslan Chagaev managed to outpoint the “beast from the east” by working inside to claim an impressive victory last April. But Valuev displayed some new found skills Saturday night as he effortlessly jabbed away at Lyakhovich preventing him from mounting any type of serious attack throughout the entire fight.
It wasn’t just the left jab that impressed but Valuev’s improved footwork and ring craft as he showed Sergei Lyakhovich who the “guvnor” was during the entire twelve rounds of this one sided fight. Although at times I could not help but feel that if Valuev stepped up the pace he could have finished off Lyakhovich before the fight went the distance as after the fight Valuev remarked that he could have easily gone another two rounds and he looked liked he could have managed another five to me?
New trainer Alexander Zimin has definitely brought out the best in Valuev and if he can improve a similar amount over his next few fights then he could mount a serious challenge to IBF world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko who is widely regarded as the best fighter in the heavyweight division. Perhaps all the big Russian now lacks is a knockout punch to match his size and weight and if they can manage to find that then Valuev could become the division’s number one? First up should be a rematch with WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev’s to avenge his only loss and to reclaim his belt. After last nights performance I can’t see the last fights outcome being repeated?
Score card: 120-108, 120-108 and 120-107 all in favour of the winner Nikolai Valuev.
Kelly Pavlik remains unbeaten after Saturday night’s rematch against former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor at a catch weight of 166lbs. The fight started as it finished with a high work rate throughout by both fighters for the entire twelve rounds. Pavlik was the busier fighter with Taylor looking the more accurate and disciplined of the two but it was a close fight to score and you could have argued most rounds as to who actually won them.
Pavlik had tightened up his defence for the rematch and there was no repeat of the first fights knockdown whilst Taylor fought a smarter fight then last time picking his punches rather then throwing inaccurate bunches as he lapsed into previously. I myself thought that Taylor had won the fight and was surprised that the judges score cards were so wide in favour of Pavlik but as I mentioned earlier the rounds were very close and hard to score.
Kelly Pavlik will now move back down to 160lbs to defend his middleweight titles and could if politics do not get in the way fight either IBF champion Arthur Abraham or WBA champion Felix Sturm? As for Jermain Taylor his future, should he continue to want to box could be at super middleweight or even light heavyweight with some good fights out there to be made.
Possible match ups for Taylor include Kessler, Lacy or Froch at super middleweight or Jones, Hopkins, Tarver, Woods at light heavyweight. All would be good fights to be made and would generate interest and money. A few wins over any of those fighters could lead to a title fight with the super middleweight King Joe Calzaghe if Calzaghe is still in the game after the Hopkins fight as Joe is looking to retire this year?
The future looks very bright for Kelly Pavlik who could spend another two years defending his titles before moving up to super middleweight and taking on the best in that division. I can only see Mikael Kessler standing in Pavlik’s way from dominating that division after Joe Calzaghe has retired.
Score card: 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 all in favour of the winner Kelly Pavlik.