Antonio Tarver Waits For His Next Fight

Tarver vs BANKs delayed

Update: The fight with Johnathon Banks as part of the Golden Boy Live card set for September 29th is now pushed off, because Antonio Tarver broke his thumb. According to Tarver, “The injury actually happened 2½ weeks ago, and I’ve been trying my hardest to work through it. Finally my doctor ordered an X-ray, and we found out it was a fracture.”

Tarver’s History

Antonio Tarver is most known for his stunning 2004 Vegas knockout of Roy Jones Jr – back when Jones was considered to be the best in the world. And then, if it wasn’t clear enough, Tarver beat Jones a year later. It can certainly be argued as to whether or not Tarver’s victories were because of Tarver’s talent, or the rapid collapse of Jones after he so thoroughly dominated the 90′s.

The problem with Tarver’s career, however, is that he tapered off with big losses to Glen Johnson, Bernard Hopkins, and Chad Dawson (consecutive). The Hopkins loss can be excused, because no one was beating Hopkins back then, however, Tarver never really recovered from the back to back losses to Dawson. Those consecutive losses essentially pushed Tarver out of the discussion for any sort of mention in who the best boxers might be. The true tipping point for Tarver, unfortunately involved much more murky circumstances: After fighting Lateef Kayode to a draw in June 2012, it was changed to a no decision because Tarver tested positive for the anabolic steroid drostanolone. That led to a suspension which caused Tarver not to fight until 17 months later, when he got a shot at journeyman Mike Sheppard as a heavyweight. Tarver knocked out Sheppard in the fourth round for the victory.

Tarver’s Future

“This fight with Banks will tell me if I have the ability at 45 to truly make a run and conceivably fight for the heavyweight championship of the world. My quest starts with a tough fight. Banks is a guy raised in the sport. He can box. He has skills. But it’s a challenge I got to step up to. I want this type of fight. I need to realize if I can do it. I believe I can. This fight is a step closer for me.”

Unfortunately, Tarver is going to have to wait a bit to resume his quest to be a champion. At least until his thumb heals. For better or for worse, Tarver is continuing a trend that we’ve seen of many boxers: Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr, and many others – former stars who can’t seem to walk away, and always desire that one final shot at glory. I don’t know if Tarver’s knockout of Sheppard if really indicative of anything. But if he can pull together a couple more victories, maybe he can indeed get that final shot.

In the meantime, Tarver will have to enjoy watching his son, Antonio Tarver Jr, make his professional debut at age 26 with a four round fight. Tarver Jr’s fight will serve as the undercard for the 10 round bout between junior featherweight Joseph Diaz (11-0, 7 KOs), and Mexico’s Raul Hidalgo (22-11, 16 KOs) to be televised on Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes.

Roy Jones Jr. vs. Hany Atiyo

FIGHT LOCATION & DATE:

Basket-Hall in Krasnodar, Russia: September 26th

jones jr VS aTIYO PREVIEW

Remember Roy Jones Jr? At age 45 and a career record of (58-8 41 KO), this man is doing his best Bernard Hopkins impersonation, continuing along with his career as he fades into obscurity. Jones was considered the best fighter of the 90′s, faltered a bit in the 2000′s, lost to Hopkins in 2010, and then Lebedev in 2011, but since then has won 4 in a row. The question is, do we care that Jones Jr is still fighting?

The answer is yes – otherwise we wouldn’t be writing a preview. Jokes aside, Roy is a hall of fame level fighter, and it is always fascinating to see once great fighters hold onto their careers, and continuing to fight as they fade into forgotten land. Even if it means fighting Hany Atiyo in Russia.

The question then becomes, who exactly is this Atiyo guy? Let’s ask Roy Jones: “I know the guy I’m fighting is supposed to be a strong puncher, but not the most skillful guy. I know he will try to jump on me and try to get me out of there. It’s cool though. I know what to expect.”

There isn’t much really known about Atiyo, except that his nickname is “The Egyptian Hurricane”, and that he is coming off a loss to Joey Vegas back in June of 2013. At 30 years old, he holds a record of 14-2 and 10 KO’s.

Roy Jones Jr Profile

What is there to say about Roy that we don’t already know? A spectacular career, for the most part, and now heading into retirement. Roy wants one last hurrah, and has made it clear that he is looking beyond this fight for a crack at Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. Wlodarczyk is a much tougher opponent than Atiyo, and is defending his belt the day after Jones’ fight. Regardless, Jones really is a shell of his former self, and is fighting across the globe for a number of reasons, likely ranging from money, holding onto fame, being able to continue his rap career, and giving international fans a chance to see a former legend.

No one doubts Jones’ remarkable career. But at this point, it just seems like he is trying to salvage and even regain some of the fame and recognition that he had before his career collapsed with 2 consecutive losses to Tarver. I’ve always felt that Jone’s made a mistake by granting Tarver a rematch. Had he just jumped straight to Trinidad or another big name (Tyson was even mentioned at one point), he could have retained his 1-0 record against Tarver, and continue on as the best boxer in the game. Sure, his win over Tarver was somewhat disputed (the swollen eye didn’t help), but granting that rematch seriously derailed his career.

Hany Atiyo Profile

Atiyo only became known after his loss to Joseph Lubega, aka Joey Vegas, in which he was handily beaten by TKO in the 11th round. At 30 years old, and considered to be a strong puncher, there isn’t much else known about Atiyo, except for the fact that Jones is expecting to win.

It’s hard to speculate where Jones will end up in this fight. I am betting that he handpicked Atiyo because he wants to build up a streak and get a shot at Wlodarczyk, which means Atiyo probably isn’t much of a threat. 

Prediction

Jones KO’s Atiyo in 9th round.

 

Will Mayweather fight Pacquiao in 2015?

News has once again surfaced that negotiations are underway for one of the most anticipated bouts of the past decade, Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Manny Pacquiao. Unfortunately, for many boxing enthusiasts it might be too late to see two of the best pound for pound fighters in their prime.

There is no doubt that this would be a truly entertaining fight to watch and would be the most anticipated fight in 2015. The real question is, will it actually live up its expectations or will sports fans feel disappointed?

Manny Pacquiao Profile

It is not unreasonable for many critics to say that Pacquiao has lost some of the edge that he had during the first round of negotiations in 2009. Since talks of this epic fight had begun 5 years ago, he lost two major matches. Though it should be pointed out that the loss to Timothy Bradley was widely viewed as a controversial split decision. His KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez was far from controversial and may have signaled a decline in Pacquiao’s prowess in the ring. This, compounded with his announcement of his plans to retire in 2016 to focus on politics in his native Philippines, has only given his critics more ammunition to believe that his skill level in the ring has diminished.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Profile

Mayweather has begun to show signs of his age as well. The biggest indicator was in his highly contested victory over Marcos Maidana. The first couple rounds made it seem as though Mayweather was a shell of his former self with Maidana landing some decisive blows including one that caused Mayweather to be cut for one of the first times in his career. He rebounded well, but questions remain how much more does he have left in his engines. And even though Floyd is technically the best active fighter, he is simply not on the same level as he was in 2010.

2015 Showdown

Seeing an epic clash of two of the most talked about fighters in the world is something that would still be of high interest to boxing fans everywhere. It would be a classic, much anticipated match between two of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, who’s fighting styles are as different as their personalities.

There are many lingering doubts whether this match will actually happen. Especially after Mayweather stated that he would never do business with Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank, who represents Pacquiao. Money has always been an issue, but with a reported $300 million on the table, the two parties might find common ground.

For the sake of the sport and its loyal fans, I hope that they will be able to get past their egos and give sports fans everywhere, the fight that they deserve.

Adrian Broner vs Emmanuel Taylor Preview

FIGHT LOCATION & DATE:

US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, September 6

Broner VS Taylor PREVIEW

This fight is interesting, because both fighters have a tremendous amount to gain. Adrian “The Problem” Broner (28-1 22 KO’s) came off a big time loss last year to Marcos Maidana, and needs this victory to get his career back on track, and regain the status he had as a former 3 time division champion. Emmanuel Taylor (18-2 12 KO’s), on the other hand, needs this victory to enter the upper echelon of boxers and get a crack at one of the big dogs down the line. So basically, there’s a lot riding on this fight for both boxers.

Adrian Broner profile

Broner looked pretty convincing in his last fight’s dismantling of Carlos Molina. His punching prowess, size (relative to Taylor), and even determination are definitely to be reckoned with. The issue with Broner has never been skillset – no one doubts that he can hang with any boxer in the ring. Broner has had more issues with keeping it all together. His Maidana fight is the obvious large blemish on his record, and in terms of sheer skill, Broner shouldn’t have lost. Aside from an early knockdown in round 2, Broner was starting to take control of the fight until another late knockdown in round 8.

Leave it to Oscar De La Hoya to put this fight into perspective for Adrian Broner: “Adrien Broner is a top-level talent who always elevates his game on the biggest stages, and there is never a bigger stage than in front of your hometown fans…But with speed, power and a golden opportunity, Emmanuel Taylor is a tough test. This is a life-changing fight for him, which makes him particularly dangerous.”

I think De La Hoya is being a tad bit exaggerated here. Sure, Taylor is a tough fighter, but Broner is clearly superior in terms of skills, and as long as he isn’t distracted, he should be able to make work of Taylor. Also, he is fighting in his hometown, which will definitely give him the boost and motivation he needs.

Emmanuel Taylor profile

Taylor is no pushover, that we know. The issue for him is that skills-wise, he is outmatched. As good as Taylor is, Broner is slightly better. One lurking issue which hasn’t received much attention is the fact that Taylor had a fight on July 18, after he defeated Karim Mayfield on Friday Night Lights. This means that Taylor will only have two months to rest and train for Broner. On top of that, the Mayfield fight wasn’t even a wash. Taylor looked slow at times, and didn’t dismantle Mayfield the way that he probably should have. That is why I am not at all bullish on his Broner fight.

Taylor does know that he has a huge opportunity here: “This is the biggest fight of my career, and I won’t let it get away from me. All of those hours in the gym were for a moment like this, and I can’t wait to show the world what I can do in the ring.”

The biggest indicator of Taylor’s weakness might be by looking at his Algieri fight, in which he lost. Now I’m not knocking Algieri, because he did beat Provodnikov, however, Taylor really struggled to keep up with the faster Algieri. Broner can bring speed – assuming he realizes the urgency. That means, in my opinion, that Taylor won’t be able to keep up with Broner.

Broner vs Taylor Prediction

Broner will knock out Taylor in the 8th round.

Feel free to check out our past previews and predictions in the Ringside boxing blog archive.

 

Golovkin vs Rubio Preview

FIGHT LOCATION & DATE:

StubHub Center, Carson, California: October 18

Golovkin vs Rubio PREVIEW

There is a lot on the line for the upcoming fight between Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin (29-0, 27 KO’s) and Marco Antonio Rubio (59-6-1, 51 KOs). The winner will get to face Miguel Cotto for a shot at the WBC title. Talk about opportunity. This fight represents the biggest shot at true stardom and respect in the boxing world: a fight against proven veteran and champion Miguel Cotto.

The notion of facing Cotto is even more interesting from Golovkin’s perspective, because there were always murmurs of Cotto not wanting to face Golovkin. After Golovkin beat down Geale, it seemed fair that he would get a shot at Cotto, but Cotto and his handlers, namely Freddie Roach, said that Golovkin just wasn’t a big enough name to be worthy to face Cotto. Now that the WBC has officially ordered Cotto to defend his middleweight championship belt against the winner of Golovkin/Rubio, Cotto and his camp have no choice in the matter. (Considering that they were likely anticipating a Canelo fight somewhere down the line, this order from the WBC makes that a bit more difficult).

Gennady Golovkin Profile

As we covered in a prior preview, Golovkin is a hugely impressive puncher, with an absurdly high knockout rate of over 90%, including 13 consecutive WBA defenses. Golovkin has significant punching prowess that really hasn’t been tested yet, and he has not looked vulnerable. It’s no surprise that Cotto has not wanted to face him (yet), though to be fair, Golovkin does need to go through the ranks and earn his stripes before he gets to face an A list boxer such as Cotto.

The only knock on Golovkin has been that his opponents have been considered somewhat subpar. Geale was a fair fight, but beyond that, Golovkin has not faced anyone who put his unbeaten record at risk. Does this say more about Golovkin’s skill or more about his shoddy opponents? I’d side with the former. Golovkin simply hasn’t gotten the fights that he wants or deserved. It would not be unfair to say that bigger fighters have been ducking Golovkin. For a boxer with such punching prowess who hasn’t really been tested yet, (after 30 victories), it’s understandable why he has been unable to net a big fight. This goes without saying that this Rubio fight is going to be easy work for Golovkin.

Marco Antonio Rubio Profile

With 59 wins, Rubio has some experience in the ring. But don’t be fooled by his record – if you thought that Golovkin’s opponents have been weak, you’ll probably roll your eyes after seeing who Rubio has faced. Rubio’s last 6 victories were over opponents who have a combined 36 losses. Yikes. The two biggest fighters whom Rubio has faced: Kelly Pavlik in 2009 and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in 2012 both resulted in losses. Beyond that, none of Rubio’s opponents bear any semblance to a big name fighter. At 5’10, Rubio is just about with Golovkin’s 5’11 frame, and both have a 70″ reach. In terms of punching prowess, Rubio simply doesn’t have the same amount as Golovkin – I don’t see how he come close to a knockout or outlasting the bruising amount of jabs that Golovkin will land.

Golovkin Rubio Prediction

Golovkin is poised to knock Rubio out, the question is what round. He might start off slow, but his last few victories were knockouts in rounds: 3, 7, 8, 3, 3, 7, 5, 3, 1. I’m guessing that Golovkin knocks out Rubio in the 4th round.

 

Amir Khan’s Next Fight

Amir Khan has a fight scheduled for December 2014, but his opponent is still up in the air. Khan has built up a nice string of three solid consecutive victories in his last three bouts against Luis Collazo, Julio Diaz, and Carlos Molina. Khan was hoping for this next fight to be his big payday after he burst into superstardom. Depending on the schedules of other fighters, Khan might need to wait. Below are five names that have been linked with Khan’s December bout.

Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao has been linked with many potential opponents since his Timothy Bradley win back in April. And though he has a fight scheduled with the less heralded Chris Algieri, rumors persist that Khan is in the cards. Initially, a Pacquiao-Khan fight was nixed, because the fighters are close friends and trained under the same coaches. Interestingly, though, Khan recently changed his tune, and exclaimed: “Would I fight Manny? Of course I would. If it was the right offer and the right place, yes, I think that could happen. You always have to keep an open mind about these things.”

From Manny’s perspective, I’d have to take the unlikely approach and say that a Khan fight makes more sense than Algieri. Algieri is an increasingly unknown fighter, in the sense that his limits have not been tapped. He outlasted a much stronger and of course higher ranked opponent in Ruslan Provodnikov, but took home the win due to a combination of stamina and sustained punching barrage, and didn’t need a knockout. Does Manny want to risk going against this type of fighter? Though Khan is a tough opponent, he’s more of a known quantity and is a bigger name, and therefore offers more reward than Algieri. Maybe Manny will change his mind.

Kell Brook

After Brook defeated Shawn Porter, the floodgates opened. The table was set for a fight against the higher ranked and more well known Amir Khan. Both fighter’s camps seem to agree that a fight between the two is what the public wants. The question now, it seems, is whether they can meet each-other’s financial demands. While we don’t know specifics, this quote from Brook gives us some idea: ”I think that fight will grow and grow and now there is a reason to make the fight happen…Of course, the terms change, which will make it more difficult to make the fight. But if everyone is sensible, there is so much money in the fight, it’s one that has got to be made.”

While it is unclear where the money issues lay, I would presume that Khan is asking for a lot more money than Brook, considering that he is a much bigger name in the international boxing world. It would be a huge fight for England though, since both boxers are British.

Robert Guerrero

Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero took off an entire year after his Mayweather defeat, but returned with a solid (though bruising) victory over Yoshihiro Kamegai back in June. Five months is definitely enough time for Guerrero to return to the ring, and I think this fight might be the most evenly matched in terms of name recognition and skillset. In fact, I think the odds might actually be even for this bout, and career-wise, would be equally beneficial for both fighters. Guerrero might be the front runner here.

Floyd Mayweather

This is the sexy name that has been bandied about for over a year now, but the popular reason for a Khan-Mayweather fight not happening has been Khan’s religious observance of the Ramadan holiday. Khan had been reluctant to commit to the September time-slot to face Mayweather, since he would be weakened by not eating during Ramadan.

There are two likely outcomes in which Khan could face Mayweather sooner than later. Khan can hope that Mayweather emerges unscathed from his Maidana rematch, (or at least lightly bruised), in which Mayweather would be able to return to the ring quickly and agree to fight Khan in January or February. The more likely scenario is that after Khan’s December bout, he will strike an agreement to face Mayweather a few months after that. Should Khan and Mayweather win their upcoming fights, that might be the biggest name draw that boxing fans could hope for. (Assuming Mayweather/Pacquiao never happens).

Marco Huck vs Mirko Larghetti Preview & Recap

FIGHT LOCATION & DATE:

Gerry Weber Stadium, Halle/Westphalia, Germany: August 30

Huck VS. Larghetti PREVIEW

“I will make spaghetti out of Larghetti”.

Let’s just say that there is no love lost between these two fighters. Originally scheduled for March 29th, this fight was pushed back after Marco Huck (37-2-1, 26 KOs) broke his thumb during training. Larghetti (21-0, 13 KOs) wasn’t happy about the pushback, and even said so publicly: I was ready back then and I am even more ready now…Hopefully, Huck is more careful with his hands this time. I want to show him and the boxing fans that I am a better fighter and the man to put an end to his title reign.”

I think Larghetti is forgetting that he’s the underdog here, and considering that this is his first professional fight outside of Italy, he should be grateful that he’s getting a crack at Huck, who has defended his WBO Cruiserweight belt successfully 12 times in a row, with the last fight being a bruising takedown of Firat Arslan.

Marco Huck Profile

Huck is only 29 years old, and has 37 victories which includes 12 defenses. Impressive numbers for a boxer who is not really considered a star yet. One thing holding back Huck from stardom was his missed opportunity against Alexander Povetkin, for the WBA heavyweight belt. That’s not to say it was a bad fight; Huck actually looked good against Povetkin, and as the fight wore on, he kept a consistent right hand going which seemed to make up for his slow start. Huck’s jabs are nothing to scoff at, and the power he packs in them nearly knocked out Povetkin, a heavyweight. Back in the cruiserweight division, I think Huck is just too much to handle. The question is, how will he deal with the unknown Larghetti?

Mirko Larghetti Profile

Larghetti, as Huck reminded us, is getting his first shot at a title: “This will be Larghetti’s first and last world title fight. When I am done with him he will wish not ever having shared the ring with me.”

The question is, who is Larghetti, and does the world beyond Italy know if his skills can carry over? I’ve always maintained a skeptical eye on boxers who emerge from nowhere with glistening undefeated records. That was until the unknown, undefeated Chris Algieri outlasted Ruslan Provodnikov, and as a result will get a once in a lifetime shot at Manny Pacquiáo. That is why I and many other critics will have to give Larghetti a serious look.

Larghetti’s most recent fight was a quick one: he knocked down Attila Palko twice in round 2. But looking at his overall history shows mostly 6 round fights. Can he last 12 rounds with a bruiser like Huck? I really don’t think so.

huck vs larghetti PREDICTION

Even though I was hesitant to dismiss a no-name, undefeated fighter such as Larghetti, I really don’t think he stands a chance here. And considering that the current record for title defenses is Johnny Nelson’s 13 defenses from 1999-2005, I realize that Huck is going for that record. Having said that, it becomes increasingly clear that Larghetti is simply a body to be knocked down in order for Huck to take the record. I’m not saying that Huck doesn’t deserve the record, but let’s not be fooled by the undefeated Mirko Larghetti.

He might start off slow, but Huck will knock out Larghetti in round 5.

Huck Larghetti Recap

The fight is over, and the results are in: Marco Huck defeated Mirko Larghetti in what may or may not have been a knockout in the closing seconds. Huck started off strong, Larghetti bounced back in the middle rounds, but overall Huck was the clear victor. He seemed to have knocked down Larghetti at the end of the 12th, but it may have been after the bell. Officially, the fight finished without a knockout, and went to the scorecard, and Huck scored 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110. He now retains the WBO Cruiserweight belt.

More importantly, Huck has tied Johnny Nelson’s record of 13 consecutive title defenses. Interestingly enough, Nelson was in attendance, and didn’t seem to enjoy the fight, and was seen shaking his head in disgust as the fight finished. I’m guessing he was shaking his head at the whole idea of fighting Larghetti, someone who wasn’t considered to be much of a threat. Nelson even claimed that at age 47, and having been retired since 2005, he himself could beat Huck, if given 6 months of training. I doubt that Nelson would actually go through with that threat, but that would certainly be something fascinating – Huck having to go through the grizzled Nelson in order to capture his record of 13 consecutive title defenses.

Mayweather vs Maidana Rematch

FIGHT LOCATION & DATE:

MGM Grand Hotel & Casino – September 13th, 2014

Mayweather VS. Maidana II Discussions

Floyd Mayweather is doing something that is considered uncommon for a world champion: he is granting an instant rematch to someone he just defeated. Marcos Maidana lost a closer than expected 12 round majority decision back on May 3rd, to Mayweather, but for whatever reason, is getting another shot at Mayweather’s closet full of WBC Welterweight belts.

The question is, why would Mayweather agree to this fight? If Maidana came a lot closer than people expected, why risk losing to him in a 2nd bout? He already defeated him by MD the first time.

The obvious, yet unconvincing answer, is that because Maidana put up the best effort that Mayweather has seen in some time (probably since Demarcus Corley in 2004 or Zab Judah in 2006), Mayweather wants the biggest challenge available. Also, because there are ostensibly no other fighters of Maidana’s caliber available, Mayweather can claim that he is fighting the best.

Another answer might simply be that because the Mayweather fight was awfully close – perhaps too close according to some people, Mayweather wants to quiet his critics with a second win over Maidana.

Mayweather himself said that the fans want a Maidana rematch. To be honest, I think more fans would prefer a Pacquiao fight, but because of a combination of politics, drug testing, and money division, that won’t happen anytime soon, unfortunately.

Assuming that the Mayweather vs Maidana rematch will go on as expected this coming Fall, Mayweather is certainly the favorite coming into this rematch.

Mayweather vs Maidana recap

The May 3rd fight was exciting because in the early rounds, Mayweather looked beatable. Maidana pushed Mayweather to the ropes a few times, and looked awfully close to landing a big right hand knockout punch, but never connected the way he wanted against the defensive Mayweather. Ultimately, Mayweather defeated Maidana the same way he has against many opponents: staying consistent, finding a rhythm, and landing more and more punches as the fight bore on.

One takeaway from the fight is that Mayweather isn’t as young he used to be. A 37 year old Mayweather might have more trouble than his younger self, in terms of being able to dance a bit in the ring and move positions more fluidly.

Mayweather vs Maidana II Prediction

I don’t see any reason for Mayweather to lose this fight. The only Achilles Heel that Mayweather possesses is his age, which is currently 37, against the in-his-prime 30 year old Maidana. The problem is, Mayweather hasn’t really shown signs of age, and his less than stellar performance against Maidana may be testament to Maidana and less to Mayweather’s advanced age.

I expect this fight to go 12 rounds, but this time, end in an unanimous decision in favor of Mayweather.

Yoan Pablo Hernandez vs. Firat Arslan

FIGHT LOCATION & DATE:

Messehalle, Thüringen, Germany: August 16th

HERNANDEZ VS. ARSLAN PREVIEW

If you’re confused by this fight, don’t be. Sure, Firat Arslan (33-6, 21 KO’s) is 43 years old and has lost 2 out of his last 4 fights, but he’s still a popular fighter in Germany. That is precisely why he will get a crack at current IBF cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (28-1, 14 KO’s), a boxer whose entire professional career has been fought in Germany. Most will say this won’t even count as a title defense for Hernandez, since Arslan is not ranked in anyone’s top 10 list. The question is, who does this fight look worse for, the IBF or Hernandez?

I’m guessing that the IBF simply figured that Arslan’s big name status in Germany, fighting someone who Germans are familiar with, would be reason enough to grant Arslan yet another shot at a world title. Unfortunately for other fighters out there, Arslan does not in any way deserve a shot at the belt.

Firat Arslan Profile

Anyone who thought that Arslan could make a late career comeback was quieted when Arslan lost to Marco Huck in the 6th round just 6 months ago. The only other fight we can look to is Arslan’s completely meaningless victory over journeyman Tamas Bajzath (9-11-1, 5 KO’s) in an 8 round decision. It seems that the IBF is more about politics. To be fair, I wasn’t able to even watch the Bajzath fight, since it wasn’t syndicated anywhere. So to properly talk about where Firat Arslan stands, as a competitor, I can only look to the Huck fight, which was not pretty for Arslan.

The truth is, Arslan didn’t look half bad early on against Huck. But when a 43 year old fights a 29 year old, stamina becomes a very real issue. (Although, Robert Guerrero is proof that age is not a disqualifier). Sure, Arslan’s slow, methodical, and heavy punches seemed to lay into Huck, but the sheer quantity of Huck’s onslaught was too much for Arslan, and by the 6th round he was done. As for how Arslan will hold up against Hernandez, unless he scores a miraculous early knockout, there’s really no evidence that he can eek out a victory.

Yoan Pablo Hernandez Profile

Hernandez has had a pretty solid career thus far, and has won 14 consecutive fights, all in Germany. The truth is though, that his opponents have not been top notch, and YPH has not really dominated the way a champion should. In fact, his last few fights were not all too convincing. This has led to speculation that should Hernandez have to face someone dangerous such as Lebedev, Usyk, or even Huck, he’d get flattened. That doesn’t sound like much of a champion.

The other issue with Hernandez is his injury. He was supposed to fight Kolodziej  in March, but he got sick with gastritis and therefore couldn’t train properly. Maybe he was ducking Kolodziej? Hard to say, but Arslan is a lower level competitor.

Prediction

The only way that Hernandez loses this fight is if the injury bug catches him again. Since that probably won’t happen, I predict Hernandez wins by UD in 12.

Golovkin vs Geale Preview

FIGHT LOCATION & DATE:

Madison Square Garden, NYC: July 26, 2014

Golovkin vs geale BOXING ODDS:

Golovkin (1:14) vs Geale (9:1)

Golovkin VS Geale PREVIEW

Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin (29-0, 26 KO’s) will fight the Australian Daniel ‘Real Deal’ Geale (30-2, 16 KO’s) in Madison Square Garden for what many are calling a one-sided bout, with the heavily favorited Golovkin having huge odds in Vegas.

You wouldn’t know it from their pre-bout quotes. Golovkin seemed to be overly respectful to Geale: “I’m happy to be fighting at Madison Square Garden once again. Fighting in front of the great fans in New York City for the third time is an honor for me and I will train hard to defend my titles in style by giving the fans an exciting show. Daniel Geale has a lot of world championship experience, is a big international name and I look forward to this challenge.”

Geale was slightly more confident in his remarks: “I’m pleased to be making my way back to HBO against Gennady Golovkin, a fighter who everyone thinks is invincible,” said Geale. “A victory will get me back to where I want to be. The people of Australia believe in me and that’s what drives me, my countrymen. I want to show them they have a great champion. On July 26th the world will see me back on top.”

This fight is important for one reason that I can speculate on: the winner will likely get a crack at Miguel Cotto or Sergio Martinez, which means a big paycheck and a chance at global stardom.

Golovkin Profile

If there is one thing about Golovkin, it is that he throws punches. But not casual punches- Golovkin’s hits his opponents really hard, and this is evidenced by one statistic: a 90% knockout rate. With 26 knockouts in his 29 fights, he holds the highest KO ratio among all middleweight champions. He’s defended his WBA title 11 consecutive times, and doesn’t look vulnerable in any way, shape, or form.

The one knock on Golovkin might be that he lacks speed, but to be fair, he more than makes up for it with both power and timing. That’s why he hasn’t really been tested yet in his career (although Macklin was a tough opponent). And don’t forget- Golovkin’s career doesn’t just span 29 professional fights; he’s got about 375 total fights in his career and has never been knocked down. That’s probably because he possesses the extremely underrated ability to maintain his balance at all times. As for Geale being able to be the first person to knock Golovkin off his feet? No way in hell.

Geale Profile

The jury is still out on Geale. Though he is a big underdog, he’s a formidable opponent. Critics will point to his losses to Mundine (in 2009) and Barker (2013) as proof that he’s not ready for prime time. I can definitely defend Geale’s lost to Mundine by saying that he’s improved a lot since then, and got revenge against him in January of last year. The Barker fight, on the other hand, was a heartbreaker for Geale. He lost the IBF Middleweight Title in a 12 round split decision. His comeback fight against Garth Wood was convincing, and I think Geale is as ready as he’s ever going to be in going up against Golovnik.

The only real chance that Geale has is if Golovnik is caught off guard because Geale probably has the strongest right hand that Golovnik has seen thus far. Also, Geale can hope that Golovnik might get distracted by rumors that he will get a shot at Miguel Cotto or Sergio Martinez after a victory here. But otherwise, Geale is not at all expected to win here.

Prediction

Golovkin will win in 10 rounds by KO.

golovnik vs geale poster

Credit: HBO