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The Year 2000 previews

So how did we do? Here are our previous previews of bouts, we try to only review competitive fights.

Here they are

Paul Ingle vs. Mbulelo Botile Result: Botile KO 12 over Ingle This should be a fun fight to watch. We have a precise punching Botile whose only loss came after he broke the jaw of Tim Austin, against England version of the human windmill. Ingle has the heart and work rate but I am going to have to go with the speed and countering ability of Botile. The one factor which could come into play is Botile being dragged into the later rounds and getting outworked by Ingle whose hometown crowd could sway the judges with their cheers in any close rounds. But even if it does go into the late rounds I think Botile could win on cuts. Overall Botile has shown me more ability to adapt while Ingle has outworked and forced his opponents to fight his style. Look for Botile to come out with a steady jab and build points behind it while beating Ingle to the punch. Around the 6th Botile will slow down while looking for his second wind and for Ingle to give his countrymen hope by sweeping 3 rounds only to see them go to waste after he is put down in the 10th. Still feeling the effects of the knockdown Ingle comes out in the 11th and is quickly pushed into the ropes and worked over by Botile until the referee comes in and rescues the champ who is on his feet but in no condition to continue.

Felix Trinidad vs. Fernando Vargas Result: Trinidad TKO 12 over Vargas I am not afraid to say that I really do not know who will win this fight? Usually I do not find it difficult to set a scenario for one boxer to win. But with these two equally matched boxers who have advantages in more than one area over the other I can see this ending 5 different ways. I will say without a doubt that this will be a exciting fight! The styles and more over the personalities of the fighters dictate this to be an explosive bout. After reviewing tapes (too many times!) I will have to pick Fernando Vargas to win this fights by a small margin. The reason is pretty simple, I think he can knock Trinidad down at least once and that one point will be crucial in a close fight, also Vargas has shown of late that he is capable of throwing over 90 punches a round. His higher activity rate and more consistent body punching should provide the tiny edge he need, also Vargas seems more capeable of going to a "Plan B". Trinidad on the other hand does have the one punch power to turn the fight at a instant as he did against David Reid and has shown the ability to swell opponents facial tissue from the first round on. But it is essential for Trinidad to get off to a fast start or else he could find himself having to take risks in the mid and late rounds against a very good counterpuncher. I see the opening rounds favoring Vargas as probes with his jab while maintaining distance and avoiding the early rushes of Trinidad. Vargas will circle and dart inside of the power of Trinidad when given the chance to work his body. A good boxer can elude Trinidad (as shown by Delahoya) and make him pay with selective shots, the key is not to stay inside of Trinidad's range for too long. Vargas is intelligent enough to pull this off. After 4 rounds Trinidad will begin to find the range and land much more consistently, from here on in it will be a classic fight! Vargas has the chin to take the punches of Trinidad and his fighting spirit will not allow him to take the shot and wait for a opening, he will retaliate immediately forcing great exchanges. Trinidad should get the better of these and pull even on the cards through the 8th round. The key however will be that while Trinidad is landing blows to the head of Vargas, it will be Vargas who punctuates every exchange with a blow to the body. This will soften Trinidad up for a late round knockdown as his hands come down to protect his ribs and liver. Rounds 9 and 10 should see a bit less action but sustained 15 second flurries from both fighters trying to sway the judges, I think the power of Trinidad's punches here will win the favor of the judges as they do more damage and the eyes of Vargas begin to swell alarmingly. Through ten I see a even fight before Vargas lands the big shot in the 11th to put Tito down, a follow up could produce a second but Trinidad is smart enough to tie up and survive the round. A toe to toe final round as we saw in Mosley vs. Delahoya should ensue the exciting 11th. Here Vargas should be the fresher fighter of the two showing more handspeed to push Trinidad to a corner and win the round on all scorecards. Give me Vargas on points, he should win by 2 points on all cards.
Ricky Hatton (20-0) vs. Jon Thaxton (18-5) Result: Hatton W12 over Thaxton Jon Thaxton the Norwich based, switch hitter will start as the underdog when he challenges Manchester’s hot prospect Ricky Hatton in a bid to capture the celebrated Lonsdale belt The title has been vacated by previous Thaxton conqueror Jason Rowland as he pursues his ‘World Title ambitions. That was a closely contested tussle until after an accidental clash of heads Thaxton was cut badly on the forehead and on medical advice the fight was stopped. Following the fight Thaxton’s career was plunged into crisis when he tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing drug Nanodrol. Thaxton was duly banned by the British Board of Boxing Control but fiercely maintained his innocense. On appeal his ban was reduced and, once served, has found him back in the position of challenging for honors. Hattons skills are well documented. Trained by Billy Graham, his punching power, balance and mobility are outstanding. Consequently his rise to genuine contender status has been speedy. His body punching is particularly affective with many recent opponents slowed by winding shots to the ribs before their eventual stoppage. In some of his recent outings however he has shown a worrying propensity to be hit, particularly by right hand counters. Thaxton must have been buoyed by the sight of Hatton continually swallowing both lefts and rights when he watched Hatton’s last fight against the Swiss based Italian Giuseppe Lauri on Sept 23, which left the Manchester fighter bloodied before his ultimately inevitable victory. No doubt, Hatton will tighten his defense to face Thaxton whose unorthodox style poses a stiff examination of the Mancunian’s skills and potential. However, Hatton is supremely confident and in this case it seems well founded. This fight makes for an excellent domestic tear up in which, following close opening rounds the body punching of Hatton will take it's toll leaving Thaxton disappointed to be stopped in round 10. That said, I’ve been wrong on countless occasions and what is boxing if not one big surprise. THIS PREVIEW WAS WRITTEN BY Gareth Welch Our lead English correspondent)

Mike Tyson vs. Andrew Golota Result: Tyson TKO 2 over Golota Good Lord, this event official blurs the line between wrestling and boxing! This fight should be held on a dock or alley. I still maintain that at the highest level (or in this case maybe the lowest) of sport the mental aspect is just as important as the physical. So what happens when two men who's actions have branded them mental midgets get in the ring together? I am at a loss and can give you 10 different scenarios and outcomes to this fight. Right now I think Golota is the better boxer of the two while Tyson still maintains that powerful hook and handspeed. I have always maintained Golota boxes the way a Mexican heavyweight would. In the end I think his better boxing ability will win over the one punch at a time salvos of Tyson. Look for Tyson to come out early with the looping punches which Golota should be able to pick off or step away from while looking to counter with straight punches up the middle. Golota has one other advantage right now as I see it. His trainer Al Certo is old school and if Golota shows any signs of losing it mentally Certo should step in and set him straight... hitting him with the spitbucket if need be. Golota is a very competent boxer (especially for a heavyweight) and will routinely avoid the Tyson rushes and only launch counter attacks when Tyson is obviously off balance. In the other instances look for Golota to jab and tie up if Tyson does manage to land or get too close. Around the 5th round Tyson (who also has a good corner man, but chooses to ignore him) will see that he can not land the big hook and try to dig to the body, but by then be winded himself. Fighting 3 cupcakes is no way to prepare for a battle tested Golota. Both men tire down the stretch and do more holding than hitting. In the end the more accurate Golota should be rewarded with a decision won more by his feet than fists. Tyson might be lucky to win 4 rounds..... but with these two men's track record why bother making predications!
Paulie Ayala vs. Johnny Tapia Result: Ayala W 12 over Tapia The last time these two warriors met Ayala came out the winner of a hotly disputed (both in and out of the ring)12 Round decision win. In that fight Tapia fought the worst fight possible for him and the on best suited for Ayala and still came within a breath of pulling the win out. For that reason and the face first title defenses of Ayala in his last couple of bouts I think we will see Tapia win. Tapia will be on his feet once again darting in and out unleashing precise punches to the head and body of a game but outmaneuvered Ayala. The one thing I do have to rely on is that a notoriously emotional Tapia stays in control in the ring and not get suckered into trench warfare with Ayala. I, unlike most, think the weight might work in favor of the aging Tapia who has felt the strain of making weight. This probably robbed him of some of his stamina and speed which is crucial in the lower weight classes. I think the need of Tapia to avenge the loss to Ayala (and Top Rank boss Bob Arum in Tapia's mind) will keep his temper under control long enough (about the 10th round on Tapia might stand and trade) to build up the points in the middle rounds and walk away with a fairly large points win of 3 or more points. Not bad when you consider the opposition of Ayala...... and maybe Arum's judges if you are a conspiracy theorist ha ha.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Chris Byrd Result: Klitschko W 12 over Byrd Am I the only one in America who remembers that Vitaly Klitschko was far ahead of Chris Byrd on All the judges cards before he surrendered his title? Everyone else seems to have come up with revisionist history that Byrd was on the verge of knocking Vitaly out. I remember the problems that the slow of hand but huge Klitschko gave Byrd during this bout. Now poor Byrd (who I must admit to liking) has to face a faster and probably harder hitting version of the man who would have beaten him if he had stayed on his feet for a couple more rounds. Early on Byrd will once again try to make the bigger man look lumbering and foolish but find this Klitschko far more accurate. More importantly he will see that this big man knows how to throw combinations. You are not going to beat Byrd with one punch! You have to throw 3 or 4 punch combinations and hope you catch Byrd weaving when he should be bobbing. That is what Ibeabuchi did and what Wladimir will also accomplish. The first 4 to 5 rounds will see Klitschko trying to find the elusive Byrd in the middle of the ring but winning rounds on more punches landed and maybe even a flash knockdown. The jab alone should win Wladimir rounds as Byrd can only land the occasional punch while moving backwards. From the 6th round on Byrd will have to open up to retain his title and in return find Wladimir more accurate with his punches than expected. Byrd will begin looping his punches to get around the wingspan of the big Ukrainian and probably suffer a second knockdown, finish the fight on his feet but hopelessly behind on all cards. Wladimir wins this one by 6 or 7 points.
Tony Ayala vs. Ramon "Yori Boy" Campas Result: Campas TKO 9 over Campas This is a intriguing match until you consider that Campas is the walking definition of the term "shot fighter". The question is if a severely shopworn Campas can hold off a rejuvenated Ayala? Can Ayala stand up to a fighter who will not back peddle from the opening bell and stand and trade in certain stanzas? This has the potential to be a war as Campas can not get out of the way of punches and Ayala will try to impress the ESPN2 fans with a offensive barrage and thus forgo his defense which has been quite good in his comeback. There was a time when the punches of both Ayala and Campas did not just land... they detonated! But now Campas has fallen into sparing partner syndrome and even his punching power seems to have lessened with his unwillingness to seek openings for them. After putting up a good show for the first 3 rounds gradually Campas surcomes to the body shots of Ayala, around the 5th Ayala will really start to tee off on Campas who takes the blows well but swells up badly. Around the 9th the doctor will step in to stop the action packed fight.
Kostya Tszyu vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Result: Tszyu TKO 6 over Chavez God I am hoping for a last minute injury to cancel this fight! If not I fear Chavez's legendary chin will have him in for a prolonged beating. Tszyu punches hard enough to hurt you every time but not hard enough to knock you out with just one punch. I can not see Chavez dealing with the speed, power or precision of Tszyu who is really coming into his own now and incorporated some good defense to go along with his already impressive offense. The only chance I see for Chavez is to cut or cause swelling along the eyes of Tszyu, I don't see this happening as Chavez has been reduced to a one punch at a time boxer. Look for Tszyu to allow the advancing Chavez to come into his punching zone and tee off. After each thudding blow that lands flush look for Tszyu to put his hands high and block whatever slow counter Chavez has to offer. Repeat last scenario for 6 to 7 rounds before the Chavez corner throws in the towel. I am afraid that Chavez's last fight will be just as sad as Joe Louis' and the two Sugar Ray's were before him.
Evander Holyfield vs. John Ruiz Result: Holyfield W 12 over Ruiz While I think Ruiz is a bit underrated because of his 1 round demolition at the fists of David Tua, I do not think he has what it takes to beat even a declining Evander Holyfield. What Evander showed in the Lewis fight is that he still had all his weapons but he could not utilize them against the larger and skilled Lewis. Ruiz does not have the upper body strength to keep a fit and charging Holyfiled off him even if Evander's handspeed has lost zip. Look for Evander to be rewarded by the judges for the cleaner punches and also for throwing more punches. Final analyses shows that Ruiz has shown he can be hurt and Evander should be able to take anything Ruiz can throw. In the end Evander walks away with a easy 12 round decision win.
Joe Calzaghe vs. Omar Sheika Result: Calzaghe TKO 5 over Sheika Too bad most of the American public only got to see Calzaghe in his worst performance. But if you have a friend who is a Sheika fan and saw Calzaghe's last fight you might be able to make some money here. Calzaghe is just too skilled and punches hard enough to get the respect of Sheika. Look for Sheika to come out bombing and by the 5th round to be thoroughly frustrated by the defense and good countering of Calzaghe. Sheika is made to order for Calzaghe and I could see a mid to late round stoppage if Calzaghe is anywhere near the 100% he claims to be. Calzaghe is the class of the weak super middleweight division and this clear win will re-establish that fact.
Naseem Hamed vs. Augie Sanchez Result: Hamed KO 4 over Sanchez Augie has good handspeed and might trouble the Yemeni prodigy for 3 rounds or so. But look for Hamed and Emanuel Steward to figure out the strategy and find the holes in Sanchez's defense by the 4th round. After that Hamed will exploit them to get to Augie's questionable chin. I could even see Hamed going down in the first 3 rounds but Augie does not have the seasoning to take advantage of the one chance he will have and pay for it down the road. I see Hamed taking over around the 5th and a stoppage of the game but outgunned Sanchez by the 8th or 9th round.
Antonio Diaz vs. Mickey Ward Result: Diaz W 10 over Ward Wow this one shapes up to be a war, with two very similar styles. I think Ward is just a bit overrated after his win against Reggie Green (which he pulled out in the last minute) and Shea Neary. Diaz on the other hand has been thrown in against very good competition that does not really suit his style and still managed to win. Ward on the other hand does suit his style perfectly as he will stand in front of him and trade. Look for Diaz to slowly wear down Ward over 12 hard fought and entertaining rounds. Diaz comes on late to sweep the last 4 rounds and gain a decision win.
Diego Corrales vs. Angel Manfredy Result: Corrlaes TKO 3 over Manfredy Manfredy just does not get any breaks, he is the Oba Carr of the lightweight level. Here he is again going for a title against a boxer who seems to be reaching his prime in his division. Before Angel lost to Floyd Mayweather and Stevie Johnston who seemed to be peaking at the time of their meeting. Add to this that Manfredy will have to loose some weight which could weaken him and I see another hard fought but losing effort. Corrales will not have to chase Manfredy down which suits him just fine, look for Corrales to take the occasional step back, but only to open up punching distance. Manfredy will find himself in need of a jab to disturb the rhythm of Diego. The problem is that Manfredy has never really shown himself to have a great jab. I envision Diego winning most exchanges and keeping Manfredy at the end of his punches. When Manfredy does land he will not have the power to push Diego off his gameplan or into any serious trouble. Corrales slips into a nice rhythm by the 5th round and find the straight ahead style of Manfredy just right for his straighter punches. Corrales cruises to a decision win without too much trouble in this one.
Sven Ottke vs. Charles Brewer Result: Ottke W 12 over Brewer This Ottke kid while boring for most is talented and underrated. Brewer since he lost to Ottke has not been active, and when he has fought it has been against the kind of opposition that Vaughn Bean would even say no to. Meanwhile Ottke has been effective against good boxers that pressed him in the same offensive manner as Brewer has. Even if Brewer is not effected by the layoff I see Ottke as being just a bit too fast and slippery for the likeable Brewer. Ottke using angles will once again have Brewer chasing and falling into his pity pat punches from awkward angles. I thin Brewer might go down in this fight but finishing on his feet but way down on the scorecards.
Corrie Sanders vs. Hasim Rahman Result: Rahman TKO 7 over Sanders Maybe I am alone in thinking that Rahman is still a viable contender? Sure he lost to Tua (by foul on my opinion because of the late blow and then not given any time to recover) and Maskaev (A case of trying to please the fans instead of wining) but he was winning both fights and showed good movement, a steady jab and boxing ability. Sanders is a bit of a mystery but stopping Al Cole in one round is impressive. Still I think Sanders does not have the hand or footspeed to catch or for that matter run from Rahman if that might be needed. From what I have seen of Sanders he is a average heavy with slightly better than average power, however he lacks accuracy which should be his undoing in this fight. Rahman should tattoo Sanders early and often until he goes into survival mode or gets stopped by a Rahman flurry. Either way I am picking Rahman.
Derrick Jefferson vs. Oleg Maskaev Result: Maskaev TKO 4 over Jefferson It seems like everyone has fallen in love with Maskaev after one victory over Hasim Rahman who was trying to impress HBO instead of fight a smart fight. Even with the wrong strategy Rahman was beating Maskaev who I think is a good but by no means a top 10 heavyweight. Derrick Jefferson should prove too fast and let’s hope too smart for the plodding Maskaev who makes David Izon (Jefferson last opponent) look like Carl Lewis. I think Maskaev will find Jefferson has learned from his last fight and not tire himself out trying to throw nothing but knockout punches. Maskaev will try to stretch the fight into the later rounds since he knows Jefferson has a tendency to fade. A good strategy I agree but in doing so he will take too much early punishment and not be able to carry out his gameplan in the late rounds. Look for a mid round stoppage by Jefferson or easy decision win.
Oscar Delahyoa vs. Shane Mosley RESULT: Mosley W 12 over Dleahoya This is a tough one to pick! Usually it is easy to get a good read on who has the best chance to win, but not since Chavez and Whitaker got together back in 93 have I had this hard of a time picking a winner. I am not sure what to think of Shane as a welterweight yet. He has only had two fights at welterweight against opponents made for his style. So Shane will get his first real taste of what welterweights power is like in this fight, you do not want to learn on the fly against the best the division has to offer. On the other hand you can never tell which Oscar will show up? Will it be the knock out artist or the slick boxer? If Oscar the slugger shows up he will loose. If the boxer/puncher we saw against Trinidad for 9 rounds shows up he will win. No matter which Oscar shows up we know Mosley will be coming straight at Oscar looking to unleash fast combination and ending every flurry with a hook to the body. If Oscar can work off his jab and slide from side to side he should be able to withstand the early barrage of speed and power that Shane likes to inflict. After 3 rounds of catching the majority of Shane's punches on his gloves I see Oscar starting to open up. Oscar will realizes that Mosley has the speed but not the power to hurt him. Working behind a stiff jab, Oscar will begin to time Mosley's forward rushes and lay short left hooks and straight right hands to the head of Shane. Around the 6th round I see Mosley starting to take more chances as the scorecards even up and leave himself open for counters. Around the 7th round Mosley should begin to wear down from Oscar holding his head down in the clinches and mugging him in the clinches. Shane has never been down in his amateur or pro career and if he does get in trouble he should be able to escape Delahoya, who has shown himself to be a inaccurate finisher. Shane will catch a second wind in the 9th or 10th round. Learning from his mistake with Trinidad, Oscar will keep punching throughout the last 3 rounds and catch Shane with a big hook to halt the new found momentum of Mosley. Shane will have his moments but the inability to hurt Oscar will be the deciding factor. The more obvious and telling blows throughout the fight should favor Oscar and sit well with the judges who award him a unanimous decision win. I hate it when my brain overides my heart in picking a fight. I want and will be rooting for Shane to win this fight.
Fernando Vargas (18-0) vs. Ike Quartey (34-1-1) RESULT: Vargas W 12 over Quartey Wow is it already time for Ike's every year and a half fight? This is a great fight that should feature good two way action early. I think the knock on Ike is that he does not fight often enough of late, and that his chin has let him down late in fights. Both will come back to haunt him in this fight. I think the fight will be very good early until Vargas starts to time the stiff jab of Ike and begin to slip and counter it with left hooks to the head and body. Ike is strong as a bull and should have some early success while Vargas goes about studying his foe and probing with a good jab of his own. I think Ike faded badly in his fights at welterweight because of the strains of making weight more than any stamina problem. This won't be case in this fight..... it will be the case of the constant pressure of Vargas wearing him down. Vargas will do to Ike what Ike did to boxers at the welterweight level. The Handspeed advantage is about even in this fight but Vargas does seem to throw the straighter shots especially late in bouts when Ike tends to loop his punches more. I see Vargas comming on strong from the 6th round on to create a good points margin victory. Ike as has been the case in many of his fights will again fade late allowing his opponent to take the offensive and score the cleaner blows. A even fight early turns lopsided at the end and Vargas walks away with a unanimous decision win.
Lennox Lewis (35-1-1) vs. Michael Grant (31-0) RESULT: Lewis KO 2 over Grant Experience or youth? That is the question. Which do you favor? I prefer experience in most cases, not only is Lewis facing youth but pretty unseasoned youth at that. When Floyd Mayweather and Fernando Vargas won the titles they had obvious physical advantages, Grant has small advantages if any. What Grant does have is guts which he showed in the Golota fight (getting of the canvas twice) and also the patience to stick with a game plan that was not working until the late rounds. In this fight I think his only chance is NOT to show patience and jump on Lewis early. Shannon Briggs did it and was successful with it until his stamina problems set in like they always do. If (this is a big if) Grant can rock Lewis early and stop him from controlling the pace allowing himself to work his way inside as the fight wears on Grant has a chance. I can not see this happening to the very poised Lewis and his even more poised cornerman Emanuel Steward. Add to this that Grant prefers to counterpunch and does not open up offensively until pressed by his opponent and you have a recipe for disaster. Grant in this fight must do things he has not had to do yet in his career. Fighting a champ is not the time to experiment! I do not think it will be a total blow out, but Lewis behind his jab and occasional right hand down the middle should win most rounds. The poor defense of Grant should also have Lewis landing the bigger and more noticeable punches of the rounds which usually impresses the judges more than accuracy. Give me Lewis by a wide decision win or late stoppage.
Diego Corrales vs. Derrick Gainer The Result: Diego Corrales TKO 3 over Derrick Gainer Gainer is very good but just a notch below the world championship level in my opinion and his chin is still a concern for me. Stylistically Corrales is all wrong for Gainer who will not enjoy the power or reach advantage he is used to at this weight. With the physical advantages gone it will come down to who is the better boxer...... Corrales is my pick for that. Corrales has beaten better opponents of late than Gainer has ever faced and has been more active to boot. Look for Gainer to come out strong trying to force the action before he gets tagged in the 3rd and forced to hold on for the rest of the round. From there it is all Corrales as his now retreating foe slowly fades and creeps back into range of Corrales' right hand. TKO 8 sounds about right.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Goyo Vargas The Result: Floyd Mayweather W 12 over Goyo Vargas This is not going to be the easy fight many think it is. In fact if this fight had taken place 8 months ago when it was supposed to Goyo would have had a chance to upset the super talented Mayweather. Add to this the outside the ring distractions for Floyd and it could be trouble. Still I am afraid that Goyo's body which should be at lightweight at this stage of his career was bullied into this fight by the lure of a title. Look for Goyo to come out and take the early onslaught of Floyd, then win 3 rounds from the 3rd through 8th before his weight straightened body starts to loose it's energy and speed. Mayweather will take over from the 8th round on and maybe score a late TKO if Goyo swells up. Still this is the 4th best challenge at this weight for Mayweather besides Freitas, Corrales and Casamayor.
Paulie Ayala vs. Johnny Bredahl The Result: Paulie Ayala W 12 over Johnny Bredahl Paulie Ayala and Johnny Bredahl have many things in common. Both are relatively "old" bantams, Ayala is 29, Bredahl is 31. Neither has shown any signs of decline, though. Both had long, distinguished amateur careers behind them, Bredahl winning a European bronze medal and participating in the 1988 Olympics, while Ayala was only one fight away from going to the 1992 Olympics. And both have only one defeat on their records, both unlucky stoppage losses in WBC title shots on away turf. Ayala lost on cuts to Joichiro Tatsuyoshi in Tokyo while Bredahl lost against Wayne McCullough in Dublin on one of the most bizarre title fight decisions in modern times, being disqualified in the eighth by a Mexican referee for "fighting too defensively". One thing they don't have in common, though, is former opponents that could have given us a direct comparison. This is strange, actually, as both have made their way through the bantamweight elite for many years. Paulie Ayala's best win by far is of course the decision over Johnny Tapia in 1999's fight of the year. Otherwise, Ayala really doesn't have too many name opponents on his record, Ricardo Medina (W10), David Vasquez (W10), Famosito Gomez (W12) and Saohin Sorthanikul (W12 in Ayalas latest defence) being some of the names to ring a bell. Johnny Bredahl, on the other hand, has never beaten anybody of Tapias level. But he has beaten several rated opponents, like Genaro Garcia (TKO2), Paul Lloyd (TKO1), Laureano Ramirez (TKO8), Cruz Carbajal (W8), Rolando Pascua (KO1), Patrick Quka (TKO5), Willie Salazar (W8), Javier Campanario (KO5) and Alexander Yagupov (W12 twice). Going name by name and result by result on the records, I would actually have to make Bredahl the favourite. But several circumstances point the other way. First of all, Bredahl has had trouble with several opponents, only scraping home very close decisions over Cruz Carbajal and South African Sandile Sobandla and having difficulties with Laureano Ramirez. This indicates that if Bredahl can't dominate a fight he gets into trouble, sometimes losing his stride. And I don't think that Ayala will let Bredahl dominate this one. Also, Bredahl can be a bit fragile under pressure, and Ayala is certainly going to give him pressure. Furthermore, the site will be a major factor. In Las Vegas, Ayala will feel on home turf, while Bredahl might be intimidated by the circumstances, despite his experience. And Ayala is the champion, which will give him confidence. So while Bredahl on a good day is one of the most beautiful fighters in the world to watch, and while he can overwhelm even good opponents in a way that looks if he came from another planet, I don't think we are going to see the best of Bredahl in Las Vegas. The pressure will be too much, especially the constant pressure of Ayala, and unless somebody lands the big one, I envision Ayala wearing down Bredahl for a late rounds stoppage. Review written by Henry Rasmussen
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Felix Trinidad vs. David Reid The Result: Felix Trinidad W 12 over David Reid Both men should be applauded for taking a risky fight at this stage of their careers. Although Trinidad is coming up in weight when he stands side by side with Reid he looks to be the bigger man. How will fighting outside, perhaps in the cold effect the slow starting Trinidad? Will the big fight atmosphere get to Reid? Will Trinidad carry his power up into the jr. middleweight division? In the end I have to fall back to the one thing I always rely on in even fights...... speed over power! In this case Reid has the faster hands and better reflexes. We have seen how fast feet can keep Trinidad at the end of punches. Felix Could not cut off the ring against Oscar DeLahoya and I do not think he can do it against Reid either. On the other hand Felix has a very good straight right hand which Reid has been hit with on many occasions. Can Reid stand up to the big right hand of Felix? I think he can, Reid has been down like Trinidad but he has never had that glazed look over his eyes and always recovered well. Boxing outdoors might help Reid whose left eye begins to droop (some say) because of the heat from the ringside lights. This will be a far from easy fight for Reid, unlike Oscar when Reid flurries he stays put to long to admire his work or get off that extra punch. Reid at some point will get care- less and be hurt (as he has in past fights), but he will be saved by the bell or hold on long enough to clear his head. This should dissuade Reid from doing any clowning around the rest of the fight. I think a stalking Trinidad will walk into a big right hand by Reid and taste the canvas around the 8th round. In a close fight that can be all the difference. The hand speed is key to this fight and Reid circling to his left should be able to stay away from Trinidad and score the obvious blows to win the decision. I don't think Felix can get to Reid's body enough to slow him down for a late charge, even if he does it will be at a big price. Picking a young boxer like Reid who we must remember has only had 14 fights does worry me. Especially against a veteran like Trinidad. Still the reflexes of Reid are at their height right now and I think those along with the sound advice of his corner should carry the day. Look for Reid to win the early and late rounds because of the slow start of Felix at the beginning and frustration in the later rounds. Trinidad will pressure Reid in the mid rounds, around 5 through 9 and take those rounds but back off when Reid drops him for a quick count. The knockdown from Reid will probably be a counter right hand while sliding along the ropes. No controversy here as Reid wins a unanimous decision by 2 or 3 points on every card.
Naseem Hamed vs. Vuyani Bungu The Result: Naseem Hamed KO 3 over Vuyani Bungu Anyone else notice that since Hamed has ditched trainer Bredan Ingle (just previous to the McCullough bout Hamed told Ingle he had to go) he has struggled to look good in his fights? It is sad since most Americans never got to see the best and most fierce Hamed. Hamed has continued to win but they have been ugly affairs. Bungu in his last bout came away with a close points over Danny Romero which saw him come back late to pull out a controversial affair. If you look at the losses of Bungu (against Freddie Norwood and Frans Badenhorst) you will see that he could not solve defensive puzzles put before him. Even Romero had him chasing for a while. Look for the same to happen again, it is nearly impossible to find good sparring partners to imitate the moves of Hamed. Bungu while efficient of offense depends on wearing his opponents down which he will find hard to do with a focused Hamed. Naseem knows he must be more impressive than in his last bout and will take more chances than usual against the slowing Bungu. Hamed should be able to get away with it after the first 4 rounds. Even if Bungu does tag him he does not have the power to hurt anyone at this higher weight. Bungu is solid and I don't see The Prince stopping him. This is not good for Hamed but he should win a lopsided points verdict and look good doing so. Which will be the first time since he left Ingle. I see a 6 to 7 points win in favor of Hamed on all cards.
Erik Morales vs. Marco Antonio Barrera THE RESULT: Erik Morales W 12 over Marco Barrera Wow! Other than Tszyu vs. Gatti I can not think of another fight that guarantees a fight of the year nominations before the match even takes place. Not since Chavez vs. Ramirez have we seen a match-up of Mexican fighters like this one. It is a grudge match pitting the Mexico City based Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Tijuana based Erik Morales. Both have not been shy in stating the distaste for the other. While Barrera had the hot career start and early HBO dates but his star was tarnished by two losses to Junior Jones (second loss is debatable), now Erik Morales has taken his spot as HBO's darling and the tag of "The next Julio Cesar Chavez" with his action packed offensive style. This is the toughest test for Morales and a win over Barrera who is once again riding a wining streak will place him in my top 5 pound for pound. While Barrera has been out of sight of late fighting on Las Vegas cards that are only seen by viewers of KCAL in Los Angeles he has been posting decent results against good fighters. Morales on the other hand has been given national exposure on his HBO dates and has pretty much dominated if not destroyed his opposition. I think people are writing Barrera off a bit too soon much as they did to Kostya Tszyu after his lone loss. I told everyone who would listen then and now that Tszyu would be back and I have been doing the same with Barrera. Much like Tszyu, Barrera has been fighting smarter since his loss and I think this will be the difference. I am in the minority in this one, but I am going with a Barrera who I think is just a bit too strong in the upper body for Morales. The calling card of Barrera is accuracy, while many others point to his body shots which are great I think it is the placement of the shots along with his economy of punches that set him apart from many others. Morales has never had to take the kind of shots Barrera will dish out and I think it will take away from his offense. The opposition of Morales after wining the title has been rather soft in the power department with the exception of Junior Jones who everyone knew was going to fade after 4 rounds. Morales will not go meekly into the night to be sure and in the middle rounds will rally to pull the fight close on the scorecards, the difference will be the late rounds. In the championship rounds I think Barrera will have the edge as the physically stronger man who will have done more body work than his opponent. Morales will be going for the head of Barrera late and loose on the scorecards for his low connect percentage while Barrera counters with a weakened but still effective hook. I am going with Barrera by 2 points or 3 max on the scorecards in a early fight of the year candidate in 2000.
Bernard Hopkins vs. Antwun Echols THE RESULT: Hopkins W12 over Echols When is Hopkins going to turn old overnight? That is the question anyone who backs Hopkins must ask himself. The next question should be "even if he has slowed down can any of the current middleweight beat a Hopkins operating at even 80 percent"? I believe Joppy could, but that is it. At no other weight class (now that Ricardo Lopez has moved up in weight) is the drop in skill between champ and challengers more defined than at middleweight. Echols simply does not have the ring savvy to get Hopkins out of his rhythm or hit Hopkins with any kind of sustained attack that would leave Hopkins in trouble. This is not even taking into account that Echols is coming of a 1 year layoff not having fought since January. So the early rounds that he could have won will now be taking up by shaking off his ring rust. Echols is 22-2-1 with 22 knockouts...... impressive you say? Then think about this. If a primed Roy Jones can not knock Bernard Hopkins out than what chance does Echols have? How many fights has Echols won by decision........zero. Need I say more. Hopkins by 9 rounds maybe even a late stoppage.
Jorge Elicier Julio vs. Johnny Tapia THE RESULT: Tapia W12 over Julio Was the close loss to Paulie Ayala a one time thing where Tapia just used the wrong tactics or is Tapia a shot fighter. I tend to think Tapia simply fought the wrong fight....... and still nearly won the fight against a younger stronger man. Julio is a tough customer to be sure but his skills lay in coming at the other fighter and roughing them up and in his last couple of fights he has loaded up way too much on his punches. This plays directly into Tapia's hands who is a counter puncher that takes advantage of his opponents mistakes. Jorge is not known as a fast starter and by the time he does get into some kind of rhythm Tapia will have timed him and easily avoid any kind of punches Julio hopes to land. Frustration on Julio's part will have him loading up more and more and getting behind on the scorecards more and more. I see Tapia by 6 rounds.
Derrick Jefferson vs. David Izon THE RESULT: David Izon KO 10 over Derrick Jefferson Man did I become a Jefferson fan when he knocked but Maurice Harris in what was the 1999 fight of the year. But I also saw the flaws that Izon can take advantage off to win. Jefferson looked tired and was rocked by the smaller man who played into Jefferson's strengths and fought Jefferson's style of fight. What happens when he runs into a veteran like Izon who will not play into his style? I want Jefferson to win because of the heart he showed and the way he showed how thrilling boxing can be at the heavyweight level when someone gives his all, but my head says go with Izon. Ultimately that is what I will have to do. While Izon has not looked very good in his last two fights I think it was because Izon fight to the level of his opposition which was mediocre. I think Izon circles away from the left hook of Jefferson and pick him apart with his jab while throwing more combinations in the later rounds to take the decision as Jefferson tires Jefferson is just not fast or experienced (against good fighters) enough to take advantage of the mistakes Izon will make. Izon is just the more fluid and a bit faster of hand for Jefferson to look good against. Jefferson should be commended for taking on a really tough challenge after his big win over Harris but my choice is Izon by 4 points. Still I will be rooting for Jefferson.
These previews were written by Boxing Wise founder and sometime writer Marty Mulcahey unless otherwise noted.

Marty Mulcahey