Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jermall Charlo vs. Julian Williams

USC Galen Center, Los Angeles, CA, Dec. 10
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

Both young, undefeated combatants face their sternest tests to date against each other. Charlo (24-0, 18 KOs) and Williams (22-0-1, 14 KOs), both 26, share similar attributes and styles; both are proficient boxer-punchers with decent power in either hand, who match up pretty evenly in speed, defense and ring generalship.

Charlo is the more stationary and confrontational fighter while Williams is more fleet-footed and agile, but not by much. In Williams, Charlo faces an opponent for the first time in his career against whom he does not have a significant size advantage. Neither fighter's chin has been severely tested at this juncture of their careers.

Charlo won his belt by dethroning someone who can be best described as a caretaker titleholder in Cornelius Bundrage and successfully defended it against someone who can best be described as a fringe contender in Wilky Campfort last year. Earlier this year, he adapted and adjusted to methodically outpoint wily veteran southpaw Austin Trout.

While Charlo's level of competition has been decent but far from stellar, Williams has gotten this far by defeating a garden variety of gatekeepers and unproven prospects. His best opponents to date were Hugo Centeno Jr. whom he was dominating before it ended in a butt-induced no contest and faded former titlist Joachim Alcine, whom he outpointed over eight rounds.

Given Charlo's slight edge in quality of opposition and better knockout percentage, he should, on paper at least, enter the ring as about a 55-45 favorite. But fights are not contested on spread sheets and statistical analysis can only go so far in predicting the outcomes. Mathematical calculations can, and have been, be derailed by a randomness of intangibles when two equally-endowed pugilists violently collide in a 20X20 square foot ring for 36 minutes.

In this instance, though, Charlo's slight edge on paper will play out in the squared circle.

Williams' mobility and spunk might trouble Charlo in the early rounds. But as the fight progresses, Charlo makes the right adjustments to neutralize Williams' speed and stymie his rhythm much like Vernon Forrest did against Shane Mosley in 2002. Charlo offsets Williams by timing him with his stiff jab to get the better of the exchanges and win a close by clear-cut decision in the 116-112 to 115-113 range.


Charlo's momentary lapse of sportsmanship should not detract from the masterful maneuver he executed to win the fight. The level of difficulty of the catch-and-counter Charlo used to separate Williams from his senses cannot be overstated.

It is hard enough to pull off the catch-and-counter with the same fist, let alone score a knockout with it. And the uppercut is probably the hardest punch to set up, let alone deploy as a split-second reaction counter. But it seemed almost second nature to Charlo when he blocked an incoming right cross with his right glove and instantaneously returned fire using the same hand with pinpoint accuracy to seal his victory.

The maneuver was not just brilliant, it might well be unprecedented in the history of championship-level boxing. If anyone knows of a similar catch-and-counter sequence that resulted in a knockout in a major fight, please post a comment and tell us about it.

Charlo's latest victory also unveiled some other interesting qualities about the fighter:

-- When a fighter drops his opponents with a mere jab in three out of four title fights, it is the real deal. Not since Mark Breland has a fighter been able to not just stun, but seriously hurt other men of equal size with the most basic punch in boxing. Pound for pound, Charlo might have the best jab in the sport today.

-- With his latest win, Charlo has scored knockdowns and knockouts with every punch in the book - left jab, left hook, left uppercut, right cross and right uppercut. The only thing that has yet to emerge in his arsenal is body punching.

-- He has a pretty decent set of whiskers. Charlo's punch resistance was a question mark before the Williams fight but he absorbed everything Williams landed with aplomb, unflinchingly returning fire  with composure each time he was nailed by a clean shot.

-- In the process of passing the chin test, the fact that Williams was able to connect with flush punches throughout the encounter exposed the holes in Charlo's defense. Slicker, more experienced fighters the likes of Canelo, Triple G and Danny Jacobs might be able to exploit the chinks in Charlo's armor more effectively than Williams.

-- Charlo appears overly concerned about his public persona and what his opponents, the media and fans say about him. Against Williams, he was able to contain his emotions until after the fight was over but as he advances to bigger fights, he might find it harder to keep his psyche in check.

Monday, November 21, 2016

NicholasWalters vs.Vasyl Lomachenko

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV, Nov. 26
By Peter Lim

What an excellent and intriguing matchup between the top two super featherweights, which on paper appears to be a complete mismatch. Despite Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) having almost four itmes as many pro bouts as Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs), this fight appears to be a virtual 50-50 tossup.

The only stumper in this equation is Lomachenko's chin. We know from previous fights that both fighters can proficiently box and explosively bang; Walters might be the better puncher by a tad and Lomachenko the more cerebral tactician by a little more than tad. But while Walters has stoically absorbed clean shots from some of the hardest-hitting featherweights, Lomachenko's punch resistance has remained largely untested in his seven pro fights.

Given Walters' crafty ring generalship, he will catch Lomachenko with direct hits at various points in the fight, but should Lomachenko be able to withstand and shake off those power punches, his superior versatility and punch volume will rule the day in this showdown. While Walters' boxing IQ might be borderline genius, Lomachenko's is pure Mensa.

The Ukrainian's whiskers will ultimately prove sturdy enough to withstand Walters' bombs. He makes the better adjustments to deftly out-box and out-hustle the Jamaican for a close but unanimous decision victory in the 115-113 to 116-112 range in a suspenseful and action-packed encounter.

Every attribute of both fighters - power, speed, IQ, chin and experience - was taken into consideration in predicting the outcome of this fight except one - heart. Walters sure didn't handle adversity too well, did he?He failed the ultimate gut check.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sergei Kovalev vs. Andre Ward

T-Mobile Center, Las Vegas, NV, Nov. 19
TV: HBO Pay-Per-View
By Peter Lim

This prediction is based on how each fighter's performances against previous opponents with styles close or similar to the other's.

Sergei Kovalev faced tricky, elusive, shoulder-rolling fighters in his two fights with Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins. In both cases, Kovalev had little trouble penetrating their defenses and delivering punches from difficult angles. He dominated both fighters, stopping Pascal twice and pitching a virtual shutout against Hopkins.

The closest opponent to Kovalev style-wise that Andre Ward has faced is a composite of Carl Froch Mikkel Kessler. While Ward pretty much had his way against Kessler, he had a harder time with Froch. He allowed Froch to sporadically be first to the punch, get inside and back him up.

Kovalev will not be able to hit Ward as easily and relentlessly as he did Hopkins and Pascal, but his punches will get there nonetheless. Feeling the Russian's power, Ward attempts to kill his rhythm by smothering and clinching with a measure of success. But Kovalev is steadfast in his attack and finds enough openings to win a decision in the 116-112 range.


Great fight, horrible decision and atrociously biased commentary by Max Kellerman and Roy Jones. The fight unfolded exactly as predicted except for the terrible verdict.

Equally horrendous decision in the Darleys Perez-Maurice Hooker undercard.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Liam Smith

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX, Sept. 17
TV: HBO Pay-Per-View
By Peter Lim

Despite being the challenger, Alvarez's superior experience cannot be overstated in this fight. At age 26, Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) has already taken on the cream of the crop of the 154-pound division. With the exception of Floyd Mayweather Jr., he has defeated an impressive list of opponents - a handful of future Hall-of-Famers included - with an equally impressive array of styles.

Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs), on the other hand, has built his record in relatively obscurity against a parade of equally obscure opponents. He won the vacant alphabet belt against a 17-1 fighter and defended it twice against opponents with deceptively-decent resumes. Style-wise, at this juncture of his career at least, Smith, 28, appears to be a one-dimensional bully who chugs forward behind a high peekaboo guard while shooting a long, thumping jab to set up more debilitating punches. His modus operandi basically boils down to landing first, landing harder and breaking his opponents down in a war of attrition.

The multi-faceted Alvarez might require two or three rounds to figure out Smith's aggressive approach, but once he does, the fight becomes a one-sided affair. The red-headed, Irish-looking Mexican will effortlessly sidestep Smith's charges and deliver pinpoint head-snapping and rib-rattling counters from both fists with a vengeance. Despite absorbing a sustained and brutal beating, the tough but overmatched Brit stubbornly refuses to wilt, forcing Alvarez to settle for an academic, lope-sided victory on the scorecards.

As long as Canelo can make 154 pounds, the much anticipated showdown with 3G seems unlikely. If he can sell 51,000 tickets against a guy like Smith, he doesn't need to move up before he is ready to guarantee himself a handsome payday. In the meantime, while waiting for him to grow into a full-fledged middleweight, a fight with one of the Charlo twins wouldn't be a shabby option. As for Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, a fighter who has a better knockout percent than him, represents an equally intriguing if less marketable matchup than Canelo.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Gennady Golovkin vs. Kell Brook

02 Arena, London, England, Sept. 10
TV: HBO, Sky Box Office
By Peter Lim

Discounting the obvious and often over-hyped size difference between the two, Golovkin will still be a solid favorite against Brook, given the Kazakh's superior knockout percentage and level of opposition. Even if Brook were a natural middleweight, he would still be facing an opponent with the punching power of a light heavyweight who has effortlessly dismantled a spectrum of opponents with a diaspora of styles.

Executioners, in today's era of capital punishment, exists in two polar extremes. In the Middle East, there are the sword-wielding butchers who decapitate with brute muscle power, and, in the supposedly more civilized United States, clinicians deliver their lethal blows with a scientifically calculated series of lethal injections. From a pugilistic analogy, Golovkin is an eclectic version of both.

He has beaten slick, speedier southpaws (Willie Monroe) to the punch, overpowered bonified brawlers ( Marco Antonio Rubio) and clinically dissected power punchers (David Lemieux) almost exclusively with his jab and boxing skills. Versatile as he is, he has demonstrated the propensity to drop and stop opponents from imaginative punch angles to the head and body with either fist.

Brook, on the other hand, has won virtually all of his fights as the badass playground bully. He has just been that much stronger, tougher and more alpha than everyone he's faced, Shawn Porter included. Granted, he has pretty decent boxing ability, but that's merely complimentary, incidental almost, to his success thus far.

Brook has stated that, should he beat Golovkin, it would represent a bigger upset than Sugar Ray Leonard's 1987 monumental victory over Marvin Hagler. But it is Roberto Duran, the fighter who also climbed two divisions to upset Leonard in 1980, that Brook must emulate if he wants to unseat Golovkin. Leonard was faster, broader framed and had better technical skills, yet Duran was able to taunt, lure and out-macho Leonard into the only territory where he had the advantage – the phone booth.

The lone longshot Brook has against Golovkin is to force him into chest-to-chest range and keep him there for the entire fight, the way Duran did against Leonard in their first encounter. Golovkin might have superior boxing skills and versatility but he has never been dragged into prolonged, frenetic trench warfare.

But Golovkin's exceptional firepower will ultimately be the deciding factor of this fight. Brook might start off strong and feisty but even if he outlands Golovkin by two punches to one, the sledgehammers Golovkin disguises as fists will inflict far more damage on Brook than anything the Brit can detonate on the Kazakh. Brook becomes more and more of a stationary target as the fight progresses and eventually succumbs to Golovkin's heavy hands in the seventh round.

Brook's corner might have jumped the gun in tossing n the towel but the writing was on the wall. As Golovkin stated, Brook, as tough and talented as he is, is no middleweight.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Miguel Flores vs. Ryan Keilczewski

Turning Stone Casino, Verona, NY, Aug. 12
By Peter Lim

There couldn't be a more dead-even matchup - style wise, statistically and in actuality - between these two lanky five-foot-eight featherweights. Flores (20-0, 9 KOs) is a boxer-puncher who can fight effectively from the outside but prefers to slug it out in the trenches where he loves to unleash his favorite weapon - the left hook to the body. Kielczweski (25-1, 7 KOs), is the more cerebral stick-and-move tactician, but when forced to brawl, also favors the left hook to inflict the most damage up close and personal. Neither combatant, as their respective below 50-percent knockout rates suggest, has significant fight-ending power.

Ultimately, though, Flores' slight edge in brawling ability trumps Kielczweski's slight edge in boxing ability. Both combatants box on even terms from long range in the early goings, but when the action moves into toe-to-toe territory in the later rounds, Flores lands the snappier, more picturesque punches. At the end of the night, the Texan is rewarded for his fan-friendlier style, eking out a majority decision by scores of 96-94 (twice) and 95-95.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton

Barclay's Center, Brookly, NY, July 30
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

It may sound cliched, but all things being equal, the good big man always defeats the good little man. Given that the slightly bigger Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) also has an edge over Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) in power, quality of opposition and punch resistance, the outcome of this fight seems like a no-brainer.

Nothing can be taken for granted in the sport of boxing, though, and there have been exceptions to the rule in the big-man-versus-small-man department.  Davids have defeated equally or more accomplished Goliaths in the past, although the cases have been few and far between.

Michael Spinks became the first light heavyweight to win the heavyweight crown when he out-smarted Larry Holmes. Shane Mosley climbed two weight divisions to eke out a razor thin decision against Oscar De La Hoya. Roberto Duran, a natural lightweight, out-machoed the larger-framed Sugar Ray Leonard at welterweight in their first encounter. And Leonard came off a lengthy layoff, rose in weight and to the occasion to befuddle, bedazzle and dethrone long-reigning middleweight king Marvin Hagler.

While Frampton is not an all-time great like Spinks, Mosley, Duran or Leaonard, what he has going for him is his defense and ability to box from the outside. Mind you, Santa Cruz is no slouch when it comes to shooting punches from long range but it is almost a secondary skill set. Encoded in his Mexican DNA is the natural penchant to brawl; his boxing skills are merely a means to the further end of closing the distance and slugging it out in the trenches.

Santa Cruz's supposed size advantage becomes less significant when taking into account that he began his pro career as at 115 and rose to 126 just last year. Frampton, on the other hand, has campaigned at 122 for his entire career.

Given Santa Cruz's superior size, strength and versatility, Frampton's only chance to pull off an victory is to devise and execute the perfect fight plan. To do that, he should steal a page from the playbook of Winky Wright, one of the most under-recognized defensive technicians in the sport who excelled in defeating stronger, feistier opponents. Wright's upsets over Mosley (twice) and Felix Trinidad stemmed from his tricky, doublecrossing ability to feign a willingness to engage in an exchange only to pull away and sharp shoot his way to an academic albeit unspectacular victory.

Ultimately, though, Santa Cruz's big-fight experience and underrated ring IQ will tip the balance in this showdown. Frampton is no Winky Wright. He might give Santa Cruz fits initially with his movement and elusiveness but the Mexican makes the right adjustments to take control at the midway point and stop the Irishman in the ninth round.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Terrence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV, July 23
By Peter Lim

At initial glance, Terrence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol, both sporting identical, undefeated records, seems like a dead even matchup. But on closer inspection, the feistier, faster Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs) has a far better knockout percentage against a significantly better level of opposition than Postol (28-0, 12 KOs).

What Postol has on his side is sounder basic fundamentals. He's cut from the same clothe as Vernon Forrest, Joe Calzaghe, Juan Manuel Marquez and Tomas Adamek, fighters who know how to sidestep and time flashier, speedier and even stronger opponents to kill their rhythm, beat them to the punch and win the contest. Forrest's dismantling of Shane Mosley in their first fight in 2002 was the quintessential example of how the proverbial slow-but-steady tortoise can defeat an overly-cocky hare in the squared circle.

Crawford is no slouch when it comes to fundamentals, though. He might sometimes get carried away when on the attack but his tight-enough defense and sturdy-enough chin ensures he avoids making the same mistake twice. Postol gives Crawford fits for four or five rounds but Crawford makes the right adjustments in the later half of the bout to cruise to a comfortable decision in the 116-112 to 117-111 range.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Sergei Kovalev vs. Isaac Chilemba

DIVS, Ekaterinburg, Russia, July 11
By Peter Lim

A mere glance at Chilemba's 24-3-2, 10 KOs record reveals that he doesn't pack much punching power and he can be outboxed. Granted, he has pulled off a handful of upsets against previously undefeated fighters but he has also lost to 19-1 and 18-0 fighters. He will be out of his league against Kovalev by leaps and bounds.

Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) has proven to be an A-plus caliber puncher and an A-minus caliber boxer at the very least. Nothing Chilemba does will bother him. The Russian assassin can end the fight early but chooses to toy with the South African for several rounds before crushing him in the fifth round.

Who knew Chilemba had such a good chin.  

Deontay Wilder vs. Chris Arreola

Legacy Arena, Birmingham, AL, July 16
TV: Fox
By Peter Lim

Until about five years ago, Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) would have been custom-made for Arreola. In his prime, the tough, concrete-chinned Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs) had a crowd-pleasing knack for walking down slicker opponents with better skills, taking their best shots and steamrolling them with wrecking-ball hooks and crosses. But Arreola's punch resistance is not what it used to be and his reaction time has eroded with age.

Despite his imposing size, Wilder, 30, is alarmingly easy to hit. He has unheedingly allowed crude brawlers to effortlessly penetrate his guard and rock him with clean solid punches. So far, he has managed to get in the knockout punch before all of his opponents, but if the mediocre fighters the likes of Eric Molina and Johann Duhaupas could stun him, who knows what kind of damage a seasoned top-notch heavyweight like Arreola in his prime might inflict on him.

Unless Arreola, 35, can turn back time and recapture his relentless pressure-fighting form, he will be custom made for Wilder at this juncture of their careers. Arreola has been reduced to a plodder, half a step too slow on his feet and a split second too slow on the trigger. Wilder will dictate the action, break him down, bust him up and stop him in the seventh round.

Kudos to Arreola's corner for stopping the fight. He's done as a major player in the heavyweight division.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Anthony Joshua vs Dominic Breazeale

02 Arena, London, England, June 25
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

In the 2012 Olympics Joshua struck gold while Breazeale was eliminated in the first round of the tournament. Their careers played out pretty much the same way in the pro ranks with Joshua facing and defeating a substantially higher caliber of opponents than Breazeale.

In their previous fights, both beat powerful but relatively inexperienced southpaws. But while Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) effortlessly dismantled Charles Martin in two rounds, Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) was decked by Amir Monsour in a life-and-death struggle before Monsour succumbed to a jaw injury in the sixth round.

Any which way you look at it, Joshua is the more composite, fluid and accomplished fighter. Faster on the trigger with his jab, Joshua needs only a round or two to figure out Breazeale, and once he does, it becomes a one-sided affair. Dominating the action from long range and up close and personal, Joshua drops Breazeale multiple times before stopping him in the fifth round. 

Joshua could have ended the fight at any time; he just chose to hold back, get in some rounds and give the fans their money's worth.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter

Barclay's Center, Brooklyn, NY, June 25
By Peter Lim

Styles make fights and this one's riddled with intangibles. Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) is a slick boxer with fight-ending power in both fists. Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) is a well-rounded boxer-brawler who, when matched against better-skilled fighters, knows how to use his brute strength to bully his way to victory as he did against Adrien Broner and Paul Malignaggi. In his only loss, Porter was not outboxed but out-bullied by an even tougher brute by the name of Kell Brook.

Thurman is the better boxer so the overriding question here is, can Porter evade or absorb Thurman's bombs well enough to impose his will on Thurman? The answer is probably no.

Thurman is calculating with his power punches; he delivers concussive shots to the head and digs in paralyzing body blows at opportune moments before sneaking out the side door.This befuddles Porter and stymies his offense, allowing Thurman to dictate the action with relative ease. If Thurman goes for the knockout, he might very well get it; but Porter is too dangerous for him to want to take that risk, and Thurman is content to cruise to a comfortable decision victory.

Great effort by both fighters. Porter sure has a strong set of whiskers on him. Had he applied more consistent pressure on Thurman, the belt might be his.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Craig Baker vs. Steve Lovett

Lakeland Events Center, Lakeland, Florida, June 12
TV: Bounce
By Peter Lim

This intriguing cross-town match-up between two Houston area light heavyweights is as dead-even a match-up in actuality as it is on paper. The winner propels himself from prospect to contender while the loser takes a U-turn back to the proverbial square one. Being from the same Houston area, they have sparred before so neither will be too much of a mystery to the other.

Both boxers favor using jolting jabs to set up potentially lethal right hands and both will find a measure of success deploying that mode of combat against each other. But Lovett, at six-foot-two, sports a slight height advantage over Baker, which ultimately tips the balance of the fight. Lovett is first on the trigger just a tad more often enough to eke out a split decision win. 

It's almost inconceivable to me how Lovett was so flawless for the first five rounds but unraveled so completely like a ball of yarn in the second half of the fight. Kudos to Baker for hanging tough and making the right adjustments.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ruslan Provodnikov vs. John Molina Jr.

Turning Stone Casino, Verona, NY, June 11
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

Whether this bout ends in the first round or, as unlikely as it may be, goes the distance, we're guaranteed an action-packed war that has the potential of winning awards for the Fight of the Year, Knockout of the Year and Round of the Year categories. Both are relentless kill-or-be-killed fighters who pay little attention to defense.

Molina (28-6, 23 KOs) might have a slight edge in power, punch for punch, but as in Hagler-Hearns, the harder chin prevails over the harder punch in this fight. Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) is first to strike with a combination that drives Molina back, but once Molina regains his footing, he returns fire with a vengeance, setting the tone for the rest of the fight.

The action is scintillating for the first three rounds with both fighters taking turns to unload on the other. Molina lands the harder shots but Provodnikov is the more uncompromising of the two and connects at a higher volume. By the fourth round, Provodnikov's punches have taken a higher toll on Molina than vice versa and Molina gradually begins to fade. A left-right-left hook combination drops Molina in the fifth round and Provodnikov moves in for the kill with a two-fisted assault that renders Molina out on his feet, prompting the referee to jump in and halt the action.  

Molina showed a whole new cerebral dimension to his game. The jab is the first punch a boxer learns to throw, but Molina only discovered it after 35 pro fights.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Jermall Charlo vs. Austin Trout

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV, May 21
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

In this intriguing matchup, the still peaking Charlo (23-0, 18 KOs) is the unknown entity while we have already seen the best of Trout (30-2, 17 KOs), what he can and cannot do. Nevertheless, Trout represents the stiffest test to date of Charlo's career and the first southpaw he will face as a professional.

Each fighter has attributes that play well against the other. Charlo, 25, is taller and broader framed and knows how to use his size while Trout, 30, is a slick stylist adept at utilizing the every square inch of the ring. Trout might have a slight edge in speed but Charlo has superior power and punches with pinpoint accuracy. Trout has fought a better caliber of opponents by far but Charlo has, as his stablemate and confidante, Erislandy Lara, who dropped and soundly defeated Trout in 2013.

Trout's stick-and-move strategy proves problematic for Charlo in the early rounds, but Charlo gradually gets his timing down and neutralizes Trout's speed and rhythm with jolting straight punches from long range. By the midway point in the fight, Charlo is in full control of the action and never let's Trout back into the fight. A straight right-left hook combo drops Trout in the ninth round and Charlo subsequently unloads his entire arsenal on Trout, prompting either the referee or Trout's corner to intervene and spare him from further punishment.

A good litmus test for Charlo against his first southpaw who fought his heart out. Trout's style will always be a troublesome albeit unexciting regardless of who he faces.

Jermell Charlo vs. John Jackson

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV, May 21
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

The only way Jackson (20-2, 15 KOs) wins this fight is if he manages to catch Charlo napping. Charlo (27-0, 12 KOs) has the superior skill set and has been consistent throughout his career, defeating quality opponents the likes of Vanes Martirosyan and Demitrius Hopkins. Jackson, as his 75 percent knockout rate suggests, packs some pop in his punch but he has faltered against B-minus and above opponents. Jackson also appears to have become a tad gun shy since he was knocked unconscious by Andy Lee in 2014.

Charlo, 25, masterfully outboxes Jackson, 27, from the outset working behind his stinging jab to set up fluid combinations upstairs and down. By the middle rounds, a visibly frustrated Jackson begins loading up on Hail Marys but Charlo denies him the openings while sidestepping and countering his charges. Charlo's steady connect rate eventually takes a cumulative toll on Jackson, causing him to retire on his stool after the tenth round.

With the victory, Charlo makes boxing history, alongside his brother Jermall, by becoming the first twins to hold world titles concurrently in the same division.

Nobody in their wildest dreams would have expected Jackson to get on his bicycle and box. But he was winning the fight doing it until he got caught. He might have inherited his dad's iron fist but he also inherited his glass chin.

Erislandy Lara vs. Vanes Martirosyan

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, May 21
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

Lara (22-2-2, 13 KOs) and Martirosyan (36-2-1, 21 KOs) engaged in a seesaw battle in 2012 which ended in a ninth-round technical draw after Martirosyan was cut by an unintentional headbutt. Lara had the edge when it was a chess match but Martirosyan got the better of the exchanges when he turned up the pressure.

Four years after their initial encounter, both fighters are still dead-evenly matched, and the rematch will play out much like the first fight. At different stages of the fight, Lara, 33, out-maneuvers Martirosyan but Martirosyan, 30, delivers the harder shots, particularly with the straight right to the body, when he presses the action.

After the final bell, sportscasters, press row and fans alike are divided 50/50 as to who is the victor. The scorecards are announced as 115-113, 115-113 and 113-115, a split decision win for ...


I thought Martirosyan deserved a draw at the very least. Were the judges not scoring his body punches?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Amir Khan

T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, May 7
TV: HBO Pay-Per-View
By Peter Lim

Size will be the key determining factor in this bout. If Danny Garcia could get past Khan's speed and impose his will on him at 140, imagine what Alvarez, a bigger, slicker version of Garcia, can do to him at 155.

In their heydays, defensively flawed fighters like Mohammad Ali and Roy Jones Jr. got away with their imperfections thanks to their blinding speed and exceptional talent. Khan might be speedy, talented and defensively flawed but he lacks Ali's chin and Jones' reflexes to repeat their success.

Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) dominates the first couple of rounds with his fast hands but lacks the punching power to discourage Alvarez from pressing the action. Alvarez (46-1, 32 KOs) finds openings for sharp counters as he gradually begins to figure Khan out and rattles him each time he lands a clean shot. By the middle rounds, Alvarez's consistent body punches diminishes enough of Khan's movement for Alvarez to effortlessly close the distance and drop Khan several times en route to a sixth round TKO.

Both guys were class acts in victory and defeat.
Canelo showed such poise in and out of the ring that he looked like a product of a bunch of evil genius scientists getting together one day to genetically engineer the quintessential complete fighter mentally and physically.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Badou Jack vs. Lucian Bute

The Armory, Washington, DC, April 30
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

In Bute's prime, Jack's style would be tailor-made for Romanian-Canadian's lethal southpaw pull-and-counter maneuvers. The big question is, how much of his former confident self has Bute rekindled since his dismantling against Carl Froch in 2012? Bute initially seemed gun shy following his loss to Froch but has gradually inched his way back to a comfort level where he is willing to take risks and let his fists fly.

Bute (32-3, 23 KOs) lost gallantly in his last fight to James DeGale, a thriller of a slugfest that was far more competitive than the scorecards indicated, proving he has regained much of his mojo. At age 36, he might not be quite the fighter he was pre-Froch, but it will still be enough to dethrone Jack. Utilizing his superior experience and punching power, Bute scores a knockdown or two to eke out a close but but unanimous decision against a determined but out-classed Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs). 

My initial reaction was that the two judges who scored the fight 114-114 should be permanently disbarred. But someone pointed out that they might have taken into account what everyone except the referee saw - that half of Jack's body punches strayed below the score zone.

James DeGale vs. Rogelio Medina

The Armory, Washington, DC, April 30
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

Let's not kid ourselves into believing that this is anything more than a stay-busy bout for DeGale against a handpicked journeyman opponent with a deceivingly decent record as he awaits more lucrative fights. A 2012 Olympic gold medalist, DeGale is simply a notch or three above Medina in ring IQ. In a glorified sparring session, DeGale out-boxes, out-slugs and toys with Medina before stopping him in the seventh round.

DeGale might be one of those guys who fights up or down to the level of his opposition. It's always a tough, life-and-death struggle every time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto II

StubHub Center, Carson, CA, April 30
TV: Fox
By Peter Lim

Both Ortiz and Berto hit rough patches since their action-packed encounter in 2011 and enter the rematch more diminished than they were the in their first fight. Ortiz is 2-3 and Berto is 3-3 since they last fought. Stakes are high in this bout, with the winner regaining some relevance on the world stage while the loser is relegated to the status of name opponent.

The winner of the rematch ultimately boils down to the less damaged of the two, and that will be Berto (30-4, 23 KOs). Following his victory over Berto the five years ago, Ortiz (31-5-2, 24 KOs) suffered three consecutive knockout losses and a broken jaw. Berto's only knockout loss was more the result of a shoulder injury rather than a lack of punch resistance.

The fight will be competitive until Berto lands his first clean shot, after which Ortiz begins to unravel. Wary of Ortiz's formidable power, Berto resists the temptation to attack with reckless abandon. He calculatingly bides his time with precision counters before stopping Ortiz in the seventh round. 

Ortiz doesn't have the hunger, not to mention the chin, to compete on the world stage anymore. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Edwin Rodriguez vs. Thomas Williams Jr.

StubHub Center, Carson, CA, April 30
TV: Fox
By Peter Lim

Usually a cerebral boxer-puncher, Rodriguez (28-1, 19 KOs) went punch crazy in his last fight against Michael Seals and was almost knocked out as a result. Rodriguez's sparring partner Cornelius White went punch crazy after trading knockdowns with Williams in 2014 and was subsequently kayoed in a  rollercoaster first round. It's safe to say Rodriguez won't make the same mistake against Williams (19-1, 13 KOs), especially since he hasn't ventured into southpaw territory since 2010. 

In his only loss, Williams' fragile psyche was exposed when he unraveled after suffering cut against a faded Gabriel Campillo in 2014. That failed gut check will not be lost on Rodriguez and his camp. Rodriguez patiently and methodically breaks Williams down both mentally and physically and stops him in the sixth round.

How foolish was it for Rodriguez to attack a hard-hitting southpaw with reckless abandon. He paid the ultimate price. The ref should have given him a chance to recover in between rounds, though, since he beat the count.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Roman Gonzalez vs. McWilliams Arroyo

The Forum, Inglewood, CA, April 23
By Peter Lim

This will be as much of a mismatch in the ring as it is on paper. Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs)  has more knockouts than Arroyo (16-2, 14 KOs) has fights, and he has fought the cream of the crop in three divisions. Arroyo's preference is to engage his opponents up close and personal, and if he does that against Gonzalez, it is tantamount to an alley cat walking into a lion's den. Gonzalez effortlessly obliterates Arroyo in the second round with a multi-punch flurry punctuated with a left hook to the jaw.

Arroyo might have written the blueprint on how to ride out Gonzalez's relentless onslaughts; even if he beats you to the punch don't allow him to land his second, third, fourth and fifth shots. He'll still dominate but you might actually hear the final bell.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Gennady Golovkin vs. Dominic Wade

The Forum, Inglewood, CA, April 23
By Peter Lim

This mismatch really amounts to a two-star general going into battle against a second lieutenant. Has Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) already run the entire gamut of challengers that he has to fight a rookie? Wade (18-0, 12 KOs) might be undefeated but he has not shown any exceptional qualities against a crop of very ordinary opponents. Golovkin lands at will from the opening bell but opts to carry his out-gunned opponent for a few rounds before finishing him with a left hook-straight right combo in the fifth round.

Why hasn't Golovkin crossed over into mainstream? Perhaps too many Americans still can't help but see the evil hammer and sickle when it comes to fighters from the former Soviet Union.

Errol Spence Jr. vs Chris Algieri

Barclay's Center, Brooklyn, NY, April 16
By Peter Lim

Spence (19-0, 16 KOs) has the superior skill set, speed and power so there is little doubt as to who wins this one. The suspense in this fight stems from whether or not Spence will be the first fighter to stop the tough and determined Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs). Spence hits as hard as Pacquiao but is a more ferocious finisher. But if Algieri could weather the relentless offense of Provodnikov, he will survive Spence's onslaught as well en route to losing a lopsided decision.

A head shot ended the fight but it was really the body shots that did the most damage.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Arthur Abraham vs. Gilberto Ramirez

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 9
TV: HBO Pay-Per-View
By Peter Lim

Just looking at Ramirez's stats, he could be the complete package; young, six-foot-two, southpaw and a pretty decent knockout percentage. But he has the right mix of flaws that a cagey veteran like Abraham (44-4, 29 KOs) can and will exploit.

Experience trumps youth in what turns out to be a riveting crossroads battle.

The 24-year-old Ramirez (33-0, 24 KOs) starts strong and wins most of the early rounds using his superior reach to land the first and last punch of each exchange. But as the fight wears on, machismo gets the better of him as he abandons the jab allowing Abraham, 36, to catch him coming in with the straight right.

Both fighters trade furiously with Abraham scoring more to the head and Ramirez landing the better body shots. Abraham scores a late round knockdown to steal the decision by three identical scores of 114-113.

Every time I pick experience over youth, it blows up in my face. I've got to remind myself this is ultimately a young man's game.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley III

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV, April 9
TV: HBO Pay-Per-View
By Peter Lim

The general consensus is, since their last encounter, Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) has slipped downhill a notch or two, while Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) has stayed the near the top of his game and perhaps even improved a tad under the guidance of new trainer Teddy Atlas. Also in Bradley's favor is Pacquiao's 11 months of ring rust and shoulder surgery that resulted in additional time away from the gym.

But Pacquiao won at least 20 of the 24 rounds they fought so he might have Bradley's number, Teddy Atlas notwithstanding. Pacquiao probably picked Bradley for precisely that reason in what will likely to be his swansong bout.

Although Pacquiao isn't as sharp as he was in his last fight with Bradley, he still manages to be first on the trigger and lands the harder punches in the exchanges. Should Bradley find enough success to force Pacquiao out of rhythm and fight more recklessly, it might ultimately be a disservice to him because he is more vulnerable to wild, looping punches than he is to straight, calculated shots. He was caught and badly hurt by Ruslan Provodnikov and Jessie Vargas who were fighting on desperation mode, and Pacquiao hits harder than both of them.

Pacquiao might not completely dominate Bradley as he did in their last two fights, but he still wins a clear-cut decision.   

The 37-year-old Pacquiao may not be as fun to watch as the 27-year-old version but he still has the skills, if not the hunger, to compete at the highest level of the game. Bradley is no slouch.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua

02 Arena, London, England
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

Martin (23-0, 21 KOs) has more fights on his ledger but Joshua (15-0, 15 KOs) has fought a substantially better level of of opposition. Add Joshua's stellar amateur credentials, including an Olympic gold, to the equation and this looks to be a one-sided affair.

But that's just the lowdown on paper. These two behemoths have a combined 95 percent knockout percentage so anything can happen. Short of a lucky punch, though, the winner boils down to who can better elude the other one's punches.

At this juncture of their careers, Martin has shown more flaws in his game than Joshua. He is a plodding, one-dimensional lefty who relies on his size to overpower rather than outsmart his opponents. In Martin's last fight, a considerably smaller Vyacheslav Glazkov was outmaneuvering him and finding his targets, especially the straight right to the body, before the Ukrainian's knee caved in on him.

Joshua, on the other hand, seems to be as composite a fighter as they come. For such a big man, he deliver combinations with Ali-like speed, fights well on the inside and catches opponents from various angles. He was rocked in his last fight against Dillian Whyte but had the composure to not only ride out the storm but return fire.

It might take Joshua a few rounds to adjust to Martin's southpaw style but once he does, he has little trouble imposing his will. Rather than seeking a fight-ending bomb Joshua elects to bide his time and break Martin down with blistering combinations upstairs and down. Sensing the time is ripe, the big Englishman ends the fight in the sixth round with a straight right-left hook, and the Union Jack is raised over yet another heavyweight belt.

It sure looked like Martin quit the fight by intentionally not beating the count by a split second. But that's not to say that Joshua isn't the complete package. The lingering question is how solid a chin he has on him.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Adrien Broner vs. Ashley Theophane

DC Armory, Washington DC, April 1
TV: Spike
By Peter Lim

The big question here is whether the armed robbery charges recently brought against Broner (31-2, 23 KOs) have posed enough of a distraction for a gatekeeper like Theophane (39-6-1, 11 KOs) to pull off an upset. The truth of the matter is, Broner being Broner, has always had to deal all kinds of distractions from pubic lice to public intoxication so this is nothing new to him.

But another truth of the matter is Broner is one of the most overrated and and underachieving fighters in the sport so this won't be as one-sided an affair as it might seem on paper either. Theophane forces Broner to dig deep but lacks sufficient punching power to prevent Broner from stealing more rounds. Broner wins a decision in the 115-113 to 116-112 range.  


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Andre Ward vs. Sullivan Barrera

Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA, March 26
By Peter Lim

Some fighters are just not affected by ring rust and Andre Ward is one of them, as evidenced in how sharp he was against Paul Smith and Edwin Rodriguez after 19 and 14 months of inactivity respectively.With that potential advantage out the window, Sullivan Barrera's chances of pulling off an upset is reduced to virtually zero.

Typically a slow starter, Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) takes a round or two to figure out Barrera, but once he does, the disparity in experience becomes painfully obvious. Ward effortlessly potshots jabs, right hands and left hooks but patiently takes his time and does not go for the knockout. Barrera (17-0, 12 KOs) aggressively rushes Ward and tries to force a slugfest but no one (except Mayweather) is more adept at smothering assaults and cramping his opponents' style than Ward.

Having exhausted everything in his arsenal to no avail, Barrera is a broken and beaten fighter by the middle rounds and the action becomes increasingly one-sided. With Barrera getting hit with everything including the kitchen sink and unable to return fire, either the referee or his corner jumps in to spare him further punishment in the seventh round.

Ward demonstrated he's as good at 175 as he was at 168. The looming question now is, will that be enough to beat Kovalev?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Regis Prograis vs. Aaron Herrera

Buffalo Run Casino, Miami, OK, March 25
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

Herrera (29-4-1, 18 KOs) is not your typical fighter from south of the border. A a tall and lanky junior welterweight at 5'11", his preference is to use long straight punches rather than short compact hooks. And unlike most Mexican fighters, he does not fight well on the inside.

This should play well into Prograis' hands. A southpaw, Prograis (16-0, 13 KOs) can box strategically but what he loves to do most is walk opponents down and strike from different angles. The Houston boxer can crack, but more often than not, he stops opponents by breaking them down rather than ending it with a single shot.

Herrera's long, lean torso presents a tantalizing target and Prograis zeroes in on it from the outset. Herrera scores periodically from the outside but his moments are fleeting. By the middle rounds, Prograis' body work has taken its toll and reduces Herrera to a stationary target. A left to the body sinks Herrera to the canvass where he remains for the full count in the sixth round.

The fight was going exactly as I anticipated, including the knockout punch to the body, but Herrera wilted way sooner than I predicted. Kudos to Showtime for putting on such an excellent, action-packed card.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Juan Diaz vs. Fernando Garcia

Arena Theater, Houston, TX, March 19
TV: UniMas
By Peter Lim

Diaz (40-4, 19 KOs) returns after a an 18-month layoff due to a rotator cuff injury and Garcia (30-7-2, 18 KOs) appears to be one of those journeyman opponents who poses minimal risk but can hang in there long enough for Diaz to look good against while sanding off the ring rust. That's exactly how it'll play out.

The rust will be evident as Diaz struggles to find the rhythm for his signature punch-per-second offense and allows Garcia to win a round or two in the first half of the fight. But his combinations become more fluid as the fight progresses and he dominates the second half to win a comfortable 10-round decision.

The good: Diaz can still transform himself into the Energizer Bunny.
The bad: He got nailed too often and too easily. Hopefully, it was just ring rust.

Mike Alvarado vs. Saul Coral

Arena Theater, Houston TX, March 19
TV: UniMas
By Peter Lim

The big question mark about Alvarado (34-4, 23 KOs) is how much he still has in his tank after losing four of his last five fights, all of which were brutal blood-and-guts wars. But Coral (19-6, 10 KOs) is simply not a high enough caliber fighter to answer that question, given the dismal level of his previous opponents. The Denver native will manhandle his grossly over-matched opponent with ease no matter how shopworn or rusty he is after his 14-month layoff.

The disparity in class will be painfully obvious from the outset. Regardless of whether he chooses to box or brawl, Alvarado lands the first and last punches of each exchange. Although he can end the fight at his pleasure any moment, he opts to carry Coral for a few rounds before stopping him in the fourth round.

Good first step back for Alvarado. But he needs a better opponent in his next fight if he wants to be taken seriously.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Luis Ortiz vs. Tony Thompson

DC Armory, Washington, DC, March 5
By Peter Lim

Don't be fooled by Ortiz's neanderthal physique. While he looks like a caveman and often fights like one, there are more cerebral dimensions to his game than just clubbing the daylights out of his opponents. The Cuban southpaw is adept at fighting from a distance or up close and personal and utilizing creative angles while punching in educated combinations. Built like a tank and with a tree trunk for a neck, Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) is deceivingly agile and fleet footed.

Thompson (40-6, 27 KOs) might be a step down from Ortiz last opponent Bryant Jennings, but he nevertheless represents a seasoned heavyweight gatekeeper against whom Ortiz can showcase his entire arsenal. The 44-year-old veteran might trouble Ortiz for a round or two with his pesky jab and one-twos but it won't take long for Ortiz to figure him out, bully him on the inside and stop him in six rounds.

Another spot on prediction.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Scott Quigg vs. Carl Framptom

Manchester Arena, England, Feb. 27
TV: Showtime, Sky
By Peter Lim

This title unification bout between two undefeated British Isles boxers is truly a toss-up. Frampton is the better boxer, but not by much. Quigg has the higher KO percentage, but not by much. While Quigg has had more fights, Frampton has fought a caliber of opponents, but not by much.

Frampton (21-0, 14 KOs) pulls ahead early but Quigg turns up the pressure in the middle rounds to land the more noteworthy shots. Frampton rallies back in the championship rounds but Quigg (31-0-2, 23 KOs) holds his own to eke out a controversial split decision.

What kind of fight plan did Quigg have that he only started throwing punches in the second half of the fight?

Leo Santa Cruz vs. Kiko Martinez

Honda Center, Anaheim, CA, Feb. 27
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

Martinez was previously stopped by Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg, both of whom would be slight underdogs if matched against Santa Cruz. Granted, styles make fights, but there's nothing too mysterious or cagey about Martinez's one-dimensional chug-forward style. Unless Martinez has some trick up his sleeve that we've never seen before, he will be custom-made for Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz (31-0-1, 17 KOs) can essentially do what Martinez does with more finesse and firepower. He willingly engages the Spaniard and effortlessly outguns the Spaniard in the exchanges up close and personal. Martinez (35-6, 26 KOs) knows no other way to fight and valiantly attempts to out-brawl the Californian only to be met with pinpoint punches upstairs and down. Santa Cruz's debilitating shots take a cumulative toll causing Martinez to wilt in the seventh round.

Martinez was more relentless and resilient than expected but so was Santa Cruz.

Terrence Crawford vs. Henry Lundy

Madison Square Garden, New York, Feb. 27
By Peter Lim

This is a convenient stay-busy fight for Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs) to raise his profile and boost his bargaining power for a big payday in the talent-rich 140-pound division. Lundy (26-5-1, 13 KOs) may be a decent gatekeeper type fighter but talent wise, he falls several notches below Crawford. While Lundy has had his limitations exposed in his five losses, Crawford, at this juncture of his career, has shown limitless potential and early signs of greatness. Crawford quickly figures Lundy out and systematically picks him apart en route to a seventh round TKO in a one-sided mismatch.

Crawford looked tentative and vulnerable in spots but showed how strong a finisher he can be.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sergey Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal II

Bell Center, Montreal, Quebec, Jan 30
By Peter Lim

In a rematch, it is the loser of the first fight that always makes more changes to his game plan the winner. In Pascal's case, he will try to emulate and improve on what brought him the most success against Kovalev 10 months ago - staying low and lunging the Russian from awkward angles at opportune moments.

Both men fought on the same card in July but their respective bouts took much more of a toll on Pascal's chin, and perhaps his psyche, than it did Kovalev's. Kovalev had a casual stroll in the park stopping Nadjib Mohammedi in three rounds while Pascal absorbed horrendous punishment in his life and death struggle against Yunieski Gonzalez, so Kovalev enters the ring the fresher and less gun shy of the two.

Despite Pascal's adjustments, he will be less of a mystery to Kovalev in the rematch. The Russian assassin has the propensity to shoot straight punches at difficult targets, high or low, with precision and power. When Pascal's noggin is out of reach, he pummels the torso and, since he seldom over-commits to his punches, evades most of Pascal's counter flurries. Kovalev methodically chisels at cracks in Pascal's armor and those cracks quickly deteriorate into full-blown openings that Kovalev seizes upon to blast Pascal away in the fifth round.

My premonition would have been spot on if not for two things: Pascal's torpedo-proof chin and Kovalev's intention, revealed post fight, to let Pascal off the hook in order to prolong the pain.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Danny Garcia vs. Robert Guerrero

Staples Center, Los Angeles, Jan. 23
TV: Fox
By Peter Lim

Numerous blood-and-gut wars have taken their toll on both fighters and neither has looked as sharp or hungry as they were in their recent heydays. Perhaps it's a matter of them needing quality, high-profile opponents to ignite the fire in their bellies. But while Garcia has remained sturdy albeit unspectacular in recent bouts, Guerrero looked like a shot fighter in the gift of his split decision win over light-punching Aaron Martinez seven months ago.

Even if Guerrero can somehow recapture his past form that delivered signature victories over Andre Berto and Michael Katsidis, he nevertheless still falls short of pulling off a minor upset against Garcia. A more composite and multi-dimensional fighter, Garcia makes the better, more prudent mid-fight adjustments of the two to win a comfortable-to-lopsided decision.

Just what I needed; a spot-on prediction after a horrific three-fight losing streak.
Guerrero has a very specific skill set but once you figure it out, he lacks the ability to adjust or modify his game plan.

Sammy Vasquez vs. Aaron Martinez

Staples Center, Los Angeles, Jan. 23
TV: Fox
By Peter Lim

What makes this matchup so intriguing is that both fighters have posted impressive wins in their last bouts over opponents with the same attributes they will face against each other. A southpaw, Vasquez stopped tough guy Jose Lopez who had previously gone the distance against Victor Postol and Humberto Soto. On the same token, Martinez upset southpaw and former titleholder Devon Alexander in his last fight; prior to that, he dropped and almost stopped Robert Guerrero, also a southpaw and former titleholder, before being robbed of the decision.

But Martinez's success against accomplished southpaws ends with Vasquez. Vasquez's ability to both box and brawl, coupled with Martinez's lack of knockout power will be the determining factors in this fight. Vasquez dictates the action from the outside and when Martinez tries to crowd him, he willingly engages Martinez in the trenches and dominates the exchanges. Martinez will be a battered and beaten fighter by the late rounds, more from the accumulation of punishment than from any single punch or combination, and the referee mercifully calls a halt to the contest in the eighth round.

When one fighter is a better boxer and harder puncher than the other fighter, the outcome is almost always a no-brainer.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Deontay Wilder vs. Artur Szpilka

Barclay's Center, Brooklyn, NY, Jan. 16
TV: Showtime
By Peter Lim

Given how vulnerable Wilder has looked against very ordinary opponents, Szpilka is very much a live underdog, especially since Wilder is venturing into uncomfortable southpaw territory. And given Szpilka's sloppy defense that was exposed in his loss to Bryant Jennings, and the fact that both men can crack, the winner simply boils down to who lands the first clean power punch.

Despite his imposing height and reach, Wilder allows crude and limited brawlers to close the distance with alarming ease. Eric Molina and Johann Duhaupas were handpicked, run-of-the-mill right-handed opponents who did just that.

Wilder's negligible mileage as a pro against southpaws coupled with his tendency to hold his gloves low will ultimately be his Achilles' heel. A Szpilka right hook finds Wilder's chin over his low-hanging left in the fourth round dropping the lanky titleholder for the first time in his career. A follow-up barrage stops Wilder for an early candidate for the 2016 Upset of the Year.

What I predicted to be a potential Upset of the Year turned out to be an early nominee for Knockout of the Year.