The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

This Weekend’s Fights

Big fight come and big fights go, but the sport never really takes a holiday. This week’s notable fights:

– Thursday evening sees a legit cruiserweight title match on Versus, as Steve Cunningham takes on Tomasz Adamek. Both men have been beltholders before at various weights, and with former champion David Haye moving up to heavyweight this fight will determine the new top dog in the division. As he’s fought overseas for much of his career I don’t have the handle on Cunningham that I should, but from what I’ve seen, as much as it pains me to say so, I expect him to outbox Adamek in this one. He’s better defensively and has quicker hands, and it probably a more natural cruiserweight. In any case, it should be an excellent fight.

– Telefutura’s got an Urbano Antillon fight on Friday, a nice look at a fine fighter flying somewhat below the radar in the lightweight range. He’s more or less being showcased against Juan Ramon Cruz, loser of 4 of his last 6 including 2 in a row to Fernando Trejo and Miguel Huerta. Fun for hardcores.

– Saturday has two big time broadcasts and one lesser show. Showtime, after the pullout of Miguel Torres due to illness from a rubber match with Kendall Holt, responds by matching Holt on short notice against Demetrius Hopkins. It’s a good replacement and an interesting matchup, or at least more so than the fight itself which is likely, unfortunately, to suck. Hopkins has only 11 KOs in his 28 wins, and is best remembered as the recipient of a gift decision over Steve Forbes; Holt, while immensely talented, is prone to falling into the habit of being a counterpuncher only and ignoring his own power. Throw in some personal issues  of late for Nard’s nephew and the short notice and there’s a pretty good chance this one could end up being 12 rounds of mistimed jabs. At least they’re not showing the Yuri Foreman fight on the undercard.

Over on Versus, there’s a less heralded card featuring James Toney against Fres Oquendo. Against all odds, I expect this to be decent; Oquendo/Chris Byrd once upon a time was shockingly entertaining and competitive, and while both Fres and Toney are washed up often that makes fighters more hittable and less able to stall with defense. You can probably book a Toney win here, as he seems to be inevitably drawn towards David Haye in a role-reversal replay of his own 2003 contest with Evander Holyfield. Undercard here is full of prospects led by Andre Ward in jobber squashes, which may or may not be shown.

And finally, the biggest show of the weekend is HBO’s broadcast featuring a Pacquiao/DLH replay as the opener and…ugh…Wladimir Klitschko against Hasim Rahman in the main. 5-8 years ago there would have been a lot to say about this fight, but by now Rahman has amply proven that he’s no longer able to compete consistently on the worldclass level. The last time he looked good in the ring may have been in 2005 when he faced Monte Barrett, and that’s being generous; since then it’s been draws and no contests against what’s left of James Toney, meaningless victories over the likes of Taurus Sykes and Dicky Ryan (whoever that is), and being knocked out again by Oleg Maskaev. He’s 36 years old, has battled weight issues, was never known for his chin or his defense and now he’ll be going in there against a version of Klitschko who is as confident and polished as he’s ever been or is likely to be in the future. While Klitschko will probably always have chin issues and thus there’s a chance Rahman could throw the miracle punch as he did against Lennox Lewis, the odds of it happening are astronomically long this time, and he’s almost certainly going to get knocked out with little ceremony. Klitschko likes to take his time and warm up, so let’s say…7th round.

Nothing here is as high profile as last week’s event, but for the serious fight fan there’s a lot to be interested in.


December 11, 2008 - Posted by | Boxing |

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