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.