The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

On A Brighter Note….

It is just about the weekend, and the weekend means fighting sports. Thus- picks! This will be shorter, because ow.

Boxing

Allan Green vs. Andre Ward

This seems to be considered a real fight by a lot of people, which is… odd. It’s not that Green is a bad fighter; it’s just that it’s hard to figure who he’s exactly beaten to end up in the position of being taken seriously as a threat here. Rubin Williams? Jaidon Codrington? Tarvis “Don’t Call Me Travis” Simms? His most memorable career moment- not counting faked injuries and failed negotiations- is probably his HBO fight with Edison Miranda in which he was knocked down twice in the 10th and lost a clear decision. He claims he was ill at the time of the fight; Andre Ward by contrast just claims a victory over Miranda, and not one he counts as the most impressive of his career. That Green is in this Super Six tournament is more a function of injuries to Jermain Taylor and promotional entanglements which kept other potential options (Lucien Bute) out than of anything in particular he’s done to justify his inclusion on the merits.

Green’s major assets are his speed and his power, which has its good and bad points for matching up with Ward. I don’t for a second believe that Green is faster than Ward, and I expect Ward to beat him to the punch over and over, controlling the fight with a jab. Green will not be used to that and it may completely unravel him; speed merchants don’t take well to being undercut. The power is where Green is going to have to get work done. He’s not a murderous puncher by any means, but he is a solid banger and Ward has a reputation for being moderately chinny having been put down before and stunned a few times by Johnny Journeyman types. Green is going to have to tap Ward hard at some point, at the very least to back him up and make him play a lot of defense and at best to put him down or get him out of there. If he can’t get to Ward’s chin or he can’t crack it when he gets there he’s just going to get pounded on continuously, wheel-of-samsara-style.

And… that’s it. One of the things about fights like this is, there’s little to really break down- they’re very similar fighters trained in the same basic style with the same basic strong and weak points; there’s no clash of styles to analyze, and neither guy has any particularly outstanding quirks or flaws or technical hitches (other than Green’s weird occasional habit of staring at his shoes between punches. Yes, really) to get into. They’re even a slim inch apart in height and have the exact same listed reach. They’re really, really similar on every level except that Ward has been a lot better in a shorter career, has done better against common opponents (Miranda, Williams, Jerson Ravelo, etc.), has won titles and an Olympic Gold medal where Green has won neither, and has proven he can beat guys at the world class level which Green has not. Ward should win a decision here, clear and unanimous and probably not all that close.

UFC

I’m not going to make undercard picks or a call on the TUF winner this time. Does it really matter? I didn’t hate this season of TUF or anything, but this seemed like the least promising crop of guys they’ve ever had. I’m willing to bet no more than 2 guys are left in the UFC in a year.

Lightweight bout: Spencer Fisher vs. Dennis Siver

Could be fun. Even though Siver is coming off of losing a mostly-kickboxing battle with Ross Pearson and Fisher is coming off of getting brutally out-wrestled and pounded by Joe Stevenson, I actually think a ground fight might be to Fisher’s benefit here. Siver’s cardio ran out in his last fight and his kick-tastic style leaves takedown openings; Fisher’s wrestling isn’t bad when he’s not facing a wrestler-by-trade. If he can take Siver down early and force him to work on the ground he could take the early rounds from top position, wear down Siver’s endurance and nullify his best weapons. Now, whether Fisher will do that is another question entirely- UFC clearly booked this on the televised portion of a Spike card expecting fireworks, and given Fisher’s general attitude and approach I expect that’s what they’ll get. I still like Fisher though; he’s tougher, he’ll last longer in a fight between two guys who aren’t overwhelming punchers, and he’s smart enough to be able to figure out Siver’s more or less predictable style and get inside behind the kicks where he can do some real damage. Frankly, I’d like to see Pearson vs. Fisher if Fisher can win impressively here. Decision.

Middleweight bout: Chris Leben vs. Aaron Simpson

Ye Olde Showcase Fighte. Aaron Simpson is really good on his feet, has a solid chin and excellent survival instincts, and he’s got superior wrestling credentials. He’s about the worst possible matchup for a unidimensional banger like Leben who’s 4-5 over the last 4 years. Simpson KO2.

Light Heavyweight bout: Matt Hamill vs. Keith Jardine

They say history repeats as farce; apparently last week’s main event is about to do so as well. Keith Jardine’s issue isn’t exactly the same as Chuck Liddell’s of course: Liddell is a shot fighter who’s taken so much neurological damage that his brain goes dark on the first good shot, while Jardine is just a guy with a bad chin that’s been cracked 5 times overall and twice on the bounce. Still, the parallels are there in that both Liddell and Jardine can still execute the technical aspects to the game of throwing strikes and going for takedowns and would probably still be top fighters if headgear were legal- but since neither man can take a shot, neither man can get anything done consistently against top opposition. Matt Hamill and Rich Franklin have some similarities as well in both being solid, dependable white-bread hard-working fighters at a fairly similar level of ability whose best attributes are sheer toughness and bloody-minded persistence.

And if you think that means I’m also going to pick Hamill to defeat Jardine here, well, you’re…absolutely right, actually. I have no doubt at all that Jardine is technically the far superior striker here, and while Hamill can probably get him down if he wants him down Jardine is also very good at getting back up and posing some danger off of his back; if this were a pure skills competition it wouldn’t be a competition. But Hamill has two things which make him a huge problem for a Jardine type: he’s powerful, and he’s almost impossible to get rid of. I don’t believe that Jardine can knock Hamill out or tap him, which makes his road to victory a decision- but that means Hamill has 15 minutes to land the one good shot it’s going to take to get rid of the Dean. It has to be an open question as to Jardine’s mental state as well: he’s on three straight losses, two in a row by hideous knockout, the last one to a prospect; he has to think there’s a pretty good chance that another KO loss will get him cut or banished to the far lower depths of the undercard. Does he fight tentative as a result? Does he do everything possible to smother Hamill and avoid exchanges? Only he knows for sure, and even he may not know until he actually gets into the cage. Either way, I think it’s a matter of time. Hamill KO1, though this could end up as a complete replay of the Jardine/Ryan Bader fight.

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June 19, 2010 - Posted by | Boxing, MMA

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