Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bryant Jennings vs. Luis Ortiz

Turning Stone Casino, Verona, New York, Dec. 19
By Peter Lim

While this fight appears dead even on paper, Jennings' tighter defense and sounder fundamentals will tip the balance. His wins against Mike Perez and Artur Szpilka proved he can handle southpaws with aplomb and he will apply that experience against Ortiz. The lead right will be Jennings' key weapon as he calculatingly measures, outboxes and shuts down Ortiz's attack en route to a unanimous point victory in the 117-111 to 116-112 range.

Simply put, Ortiz rose to the occasion and Jennings didn't.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Andy Lee vs. Billy Joe Saunders

Manchester Arena, England, Dec. 19
By Peter Lim

Most championship-level fights are riddled with intangibles but given their respective styles, the only question mark in the outcome of this showdown is whether Lee will detonate one of his out-of-the blue, fight-ending bombs over the course of 36 minutes. As enigmatic as Lee is, there is no way the Irish Londoner can outpoint the younger, sprier Saunders, who fights like a B-minus, left-handed version of Sugar Ray Leonard in his heyday.

Experience prevails over youth in this battle of southpaws. Utilizing his superior hand and foot speed, Saunders boxes Lee's ears off for six rounds, flurrying with rapid combinations and darting away before Lee can return fire. He steps on the accelerator in the seventh round, sending Lee reeling on spaghetti legs with a volley of punches. But youthful exuberance gets the better of Saunders, and as he moves in for the kill, he leaves himself open to a short, explosive hook that abruptly ends the fight for a Knockout of the Year candidate.

Kudos to Saunders for not letting youthful exuberance get the better of him. Calculating and methodical, he maintained the lead he gained from the 10-7 third round and never let Lee erase that deficit with one of his explosive hooks.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Regis Prograis vs. Abel Ramos

Bayou City Events Center, Houston, TX, Dec. 11
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

Prograis (15-0, 12 KOs) and Ramos (14-0-2, 9 KOs) enter the ring undefeated with relatively even records and both represent each other's toughest test to date. But Prograis' style poses much more of a conundrum to Ramos than vice versa. Prograis is a difficult-to-solve lefty while Ramos is more of a garden variety right-handed boxer-banger.

Prograis makes himself an elusive target by fighting from awkward southpaw stances, much like Pernell Whitaker did in his heyday. Working behind his jab, he tattoos Ramos with flurries upstairs and down from unexpected angles. When Ramos goes on the offensive, Prograis slips, dips and counters with a vengeance. Prograis stops Ramos in the sixth round with a multi-punch combination punctuated by a straight left to the body in a fight that turns out to be more one-sided than what their records had suggested on paper.

Ramos is one tough customer. What a nasty and unfortunate cut. Hopefully he'll learn from this loss and comes back a better fighter.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Daniel Jacobs vs. Peter Quillin

Barclay's Center, Brooklyn, New York, Dec. 5
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

This Brooklyn turf war is truly a high quality match-up rife with intangibles that could unfold as an explosive take-no-prisoners shootout, a cerebral chess match or anything in between. Both fighters can box and both can crack, and while Jacobs has the better skills, he also appears to have the frailer chin.

Jacobs is first to strike, dropping Quillin early in the fight. But just as he seems to be gaining complete control, Quillin returns the favor and sends Jacobs to the canvass. From that point on, Jacobs reverts to a more risk-averse strategy by boxing conservatively and doing just enough to win the rounds. Unless Jacobs gets careless, which he has a tendency to do, he should cruise to a comfortable decision victory.

From my standpoint, I thought the stoppage was a tad premature since Quillin had created distance (albeit by staggering) away from Jacobs, but I won't second guess the ref who was a few feet away and did take a close look at the hurt fighter before he waved it off.