So how did we do? Here are our previous previews of bouts, we try to only review competitive fights.
Fernando Vargas vs. Winky Wright THE RESULT: Vargas W 12 over Wright Well here is my pick for the first man to go the distance against the ferocious one. Wright is one of those slick southpaws no one really wants to face and is almost impossible to look good against. People have questioned Reid because he has struggled but when you look at the opponents of Vargas they were tailor made for his style. Wright is not and will give Vargas trouble before wearing down late. I see Wright taking the first 3 rounds before Vargas starts to time his punches and cut off the ring. Wright has not been pushed to limit since he fought Harry Simon and it will show in this fight, as he starts to labor around the 10th round but hangs tough to stay on his feet. With first 3 round clearly going to Wright and the last 3 rounds clearIy going to Vargas it leaves 6 close rounds in the middle that the judges have to make tough choices. I see the judges scoring in favor of the advancing Vargas in the 6 close rounds......... end result is a 1 or 2 point victory on every card for Vargas. Though many will maintain Wright won the fight.
Michael Grant vs. Andrew Golota THE RESULT: Grant TKO 10 over Golota If Golota were not such a head case I would pick him to win this fight because at this stage of their careers he is more skilled than Grant. He has also shown that he can defeat larger foes to go along with a real solid jab. Still his one round collapse against Lewis and both of his D.Q losses to Bowe along with the biting Samson Po'hua when he was hurt makes one wonder? Golota has turned himself into a moving target of late and boxed very well behind a stiff jab and good body work. In that same period of time Grant seems to have stagnated, looking less than thrilling in wins over Amadin and Savarese. Still I think boxing is 90 percent mental so I have to go with Grant in this one. The key to this fight is Grant keeping Golota at long range and using his jab effectively. I think he can do this and push Golota away if that fails. This will be a tough fight for Grant until the 6th when he rocks Golota with a hard uppercut that will put the tough Pole in a shell for the rest of the fight. This will not be a easy fight and Grant who does not really open up with his arsenal until he is hit with a solid punch. Grant (who seems to have a very good chin) will get hit plenty by Golota and this should bring out a aggressive side that will impress his critics and future foes alike. I am going with Grant by late TKO around the 9th round in a fight of the year candidate. That is saying something since I am definitely not a fan of heavyweight boxing!
Stevie Johnston vs. Billy Schwer THE RESULT: Johnston W 12 over Schwer Schwer by has looked magnificent of late against good but not great opposition. Still the word I get from fans in England is that he will most likely fall just short in this bout against the best lightweight in the world. I agree. If he were fighting Spadafora or Steffano Zoff I would tip him as the winner since he has scored some good wins of late and is a very good pressure fighter in his own right. His work rate has improved much since Americans last saw Schwer in a loss to Rafael Ruelas. Look for much the same fight as we saw with Manfredy and Johnston, a hard pressing Schwer chasing Johnston trying to find a opening. If Schwer is not cut he will last the distance and loose by 2 or 3 points but have a better showing than Manfredy. Too bad Schwer did not have the experience he has now when he fought Ruelas or else I believe he could have beaten that version of Ruelas... that is how much he has improved.
Junior Jones vs. Tracy Patterson THE RESULT: Jones W 12 over Patterson Two veterans going after each other in this bout. Most will look at the last few fights of both and see that Jones has won more of his last few bouts while Patterson has lost more of his last few bouts. I think the key is Jones' weakness to getting tagged and hurt by less than powerful punchers, Jones should have lost to Richard Evatt in his last fight but pulled off a miracle K.O late in the bout. Patterson while visibly slowing down has lost to the better caliber of fighter and has frankly looked better in his losses than Jones has in his wins. I will go with Patterson by mid to late round knock out in a action packed bout since both men are slowing down and can no longer get out of the way of punches, the difference is that Tracy Patterson can still take a punch better than Jones.
Vinny Pazienza vs. Dana Rosenblatt THE RESULT: Rosenblatt W 12 over Pazienza We should all be mad at "Rosensplatt" for losing to Vinny the first time! It meant we had to watch Vinny (yes I admit he is fun to watch at times..... but he had his shot and he should make room for the young guns) for 3 years on ESPN when could have seen young fighters featured. All the questions seem to be about Dana. Will he be able to mentally overcome the kayo loss to Vinny? Will he again fade late as he did in other fights when Vinny usually makes his statement? Can he take a punch? Then again most think Vinny lost his last fight which is probably why this fight was made before Vinny gets older or gets beaten. Rosenblatt was wining the first fight and doing so behind a great jab which had Pazienza's eyes almost swollen shut before he landed a punch with both eyes closed. I will go with the theory that lightning does not strike twice in the same place and give Dana the benefit of the doubt. I am picking Rosenblatt to ride his jab to a 3 point victory although he will have to get on his bike for the last 2 rounds and avoid the late charge of Vinny.
Shane Mosley vs. Wilfredo Rivera THE RESULT: Mosley TKO 10 over Rivera Rivera is the perfect foil for Mosley as he moves up to the welterweight level. He has name recognition and made his name of losses to Pernel Whitaker. Rivera has also faced Oscar DeLaHoya and Rivera will be a good measuring stick, if Shane beats Rivera worse than Oscar did look for Shane to mention it at every available opportunity. Rivera is good fighter but let's face it not of championship timber. Mosley has the speed and more importantly the variety of punches that will be needed to beat Rivera. Mosley will also not have to worry about a big punch in the return fire sure to come from Rivera at times. Look for Mosley to take a round or two in order to test the water before opening up and letting his hands go. Rivera not a offensive dynamo will look to counter and have success for the first two rounds, from there it will be all down hill for Rivera. Mosley will begin to throw the combination punches he was knows for in his early defenses at lightweight, slowly Rivera will weaken. By the 6th round Rivera will be resigned to his fate and do just enough to last out the remaining rounds on his feet. I am going with Mosley to win by 8 rounds in this expected 10 round fight.
Axel Schulz vs. Wladimir Klitschko THE RESULT: Klitschko TKO 8 over Schulz Axel Schulz vs. Wladimir Klitschko - Ironically the Klitschko brother I thought had the most talent, Wladimir has a loss on his record while Vitali has a belt around his waist. Screw the records I still believe Wladimir is the better of the two and remember his loss came more from fatigue than his opponents punches. Still it is a excuse and he lost. Schulz much like Rivera has made his name in close losses and I do not like picking fighters like that to win high profile fights. Schulz lost to Botha and Moorer in close fights and in my opinion beat George Foreman, still it was not counted as such. In those losses Schulz did not show the fire needed to step up his pace and win a victory in the championship rounds. Wladimir has two advantages. 1. he has been active and number 2 is that he is the much bigger puncher. Speed wise Schulz holds a very slight advantage but not enough to pull out the fight. I look for Wladimir to batter Schulz and dominate the fight from the 5th round on. Look for a replay of Grant vs. Savarese in this bout both in style and final points tally.
Naseem Hamed vs. Cesar Soto THE RESULT: Hamed W 12 over Soto Naseem Hamed vs. Cesar Soto - Soto is no slouch but does not possess the one thing needed to defeat Hamed......speed. The chin of Soto is good enough to stand up to Hamed and I think this fight will go the distance. No one can properly prepare for Hamed since it is impossible to find any sparring partner to simulate Hamed in the gym. Overall Hamed is better in every facet except for the chin department. Hamed will get in good work slowing Soto down before doing any fancy footwork or taunting in the ring. Steward will keep Hamed in check until the 5th or 6th round allowing any danger to pass, then let Hamed please the large Arab audience sure to pack the Joe Louis Arena. Soto should steal a round or two late in the fight after Hamed has settled into a lazy grove but no more. I think Hamed wins the fight 9 rounds to 3.
Sven Ottke vs. Thomas Tate THE RESULT: Ottke W 11 over Tate Sven Ottke vs. Thomas Tate - First let me say I am glad Tate is getting another shot at the title, I think the good news ends there for Tate. Thomas did not look good in his last win over Merqui Sosa where a slow stationary fighter gave Tate all he could handle before Sosa wilted in the late rounds. Then again a garden snail could spin out of the corner against Tate at this stage of his career. Ottke is the exact opposite of Sosa, while he is awful to watch his slap and move style does win him fights. Ottke is a cutey who plays angles to set up light punches that do not do damage but pile up the points. The speed advantage plus his vast amateur experience should give Ottke enough angles to make Tate miss and frustrate him. Tate may take the first round or two before Ottke starts to time Tate and figure out his tendencies. After round 3 at the latest Tate will chase with less and less success and fall into counter punches and traps. I will take Ottke 8 rounds to 3.
Norwood vs. Marquez THE RESULT: Norwood W 12 over Marquez Freddy Norwood vs. Juan Manuel Marquez - Marquez had better perform well and win the title as many people have hyped Marquez for his skills and denigrated Naseem Hamed for ducking him. That being said I think Marquez does have what it takes to beat Norwood. Freddy is a good fighter but I think his chin is suspect and he has been rocked by some less than powerful men. Focus also seems to be on the side of Marquez as reports (from Pedro Fernandez at fighters.com) has it that Norwood is not happy with his promoter or events surrounding this fight. Even a focused Norwood would find it hard to escape the power punching Marquez for 12 rounds however. Still this is not easy fight and I see it coming down to the last couple of rounds with a knockout in favor of Marquez giving him the title. Marquez has been made to look bad by movers and boxers which fits the bill of Norwood. If Norwood gets on his bike and Marquez can not cut off the ring it will be a long night for the Mexican. Look for the body work of Marquez to pay of late and give him a late round kayo win, I will say the 10th. The scorecards will show Marquez behind on the cards at the time of the stoppage 6 rounds to 4.
Trinidad vs. DeLahoya THE RESULT: Trinidad W12 over Delahoya The problem with Oscar is that he yet to put together a complete fight in any of his fights against opponents of equal skill and size. In every fight there seems to a lull in his aggression or he hesitates which allows his opponents to exploit momentary openings. Against a ready and primed Trinidad this will be costly. If Trinidad is allowed to set the pace and keep Oscar moving backwards, Oscar will loose. Not by knockout in my opinion but by swelling or a bad cut suffered by Oscar. I think Oscar will open strong but get hurt in the second or third round and go into a shell for the next 6 or seven rounds, looking to counterpunch. Oscar will of course rally late as he has in the past, unlike his other foes I believe Felix has the late round power to keep Oscar at bay and even score a late knockdown to solidify his lead. I know people do not think Felix can win a decision....I think they are wrong. In fact I think the judges will bend over backwards looking to give Felix the occasional round and the scoring in the end will be fair. Can Oscar win? Certainly, if he comes out strong and establishes a jab that Felix can not work around and keep him off balance. The key is a crisp jab by Oscar, if he establishes a strong jab early I think he will win. But with the unfocused offense that Oscar has shown of late I do not think he has the patience to win behind the jab. I am betting against Oscar being able to do this. DeLahoya has shown himself to be a prideful fighter and while trying to push some kind of opening to please his fans and himself he will get caught. Everyone talks of the knockdown factor but I think it favors Trinidad. When Felix has been knocked down he has gotten back up and come back stronger, not so with Oscar. After Ike Quartey retaliated with a knockdown of his own in the 6th round of their fight Oscar went into a shell for nearly 4 rounds. The same has been true with other fighters who have dented Oscar, without confidence Oscar is half the fighter he is with it. Trinidad with his big punch and stalking style will take the initiative and confidence of Delahoya. With that he will also walk away with a points win or TKO win due to swelling or cut. Either way I am going with Felix Trinidad after stating for the last 3 years to people who asked me that I believed Oscar would defeat Trinidad.
These previews were written by Boxing Wise founder and sometime writer Marty Mulcahey unless otherwise noted.