Spence Jr to finally get a crack at Brook?

Errol Spence Jr has waited a long time for this opportunity, but the signs are looking positive for him to finally get a crack at Kell Brook and the IBF welterweight belt.

Brook’s the king of facing his mandatories, but many questioned whether ”The Special One” would take on this hungry young lion of a mandatory, especially after what GGG did to him in London not so long ago.

Well, as you can see from the above, the Sheffield fighter is more than happy to face ”The Truth”, and the young Desota resident has no issues with coming over to the UK for his first World title shot.

Many in the boxing vicinity are convinced that Spence Jr is going to be the next big star in boxing, so a convincing win over Brook would go some way to proving those people right. The American is without doubt a very talented fighter, but there are still the usual question marks surrounding a young talent who has yet to face the top guys in his weight class. Can he take a shot? What’s his stamina like? How does he deal with adversity? These are just to name a few. We’ll definitely find out more about him.

There’s also a lot of interest as to how Brook looks after suffering from a broken eye socket at the hands of the vicious ”Triple G”. How will he react to getting hit the first time? Will he have flashbacks from that night at the O2 arena? Will his weight be a bigger problem now after the move up in weight in his last fight? Again, so many questions.

Things will become a lot clearer in the coming days, as to whether this fight will actually be confirmed, but if it is, it’s arguably the best matchup in the welterweight division. In fact, this writer believes that Brook-Spence Jr IS the best matchup to be made at 147 right now. Others will say Garcia-Thurman, but hey, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

Brook’s opportunity to truly declare himself ‘Special K’

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You’re kidding, right? No way! Is this a joke?!

No, it’s no joke. Kell ‘Special K’ Brook will face Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin at London’s O2 arena.

Brook, 30, is going to take on arguably the most feared fighter in boxing on September 10. He is going to trade leather with ‘GGG’ at 160 pounds; the division where the 34-year-old has been knocking out opponents left, right and centre. There’s no catchweight.

‘Special K’ is in his prime and unbeaten. He has campaigned at 147 pounds for many years. He’s a very good boxer with skill and power, however, despite being the current holder of the IBF welterweight strap, he has yet to truly prove himself in that weight class. To stake a claim to be the best in your division, you have to beat those who pose a serious threat to you. As of yet, Brook has not done this. The biggest name he has fought to date is, Shawn Porter. That was the toughest challenge of his career, and he passed the test, but there are other fighters in the division – like Errol Spence Jr, Keith Thurman, Jessie Vargas and Danny Garcia – who would bring something different to the table, in terms of style and power. They too are unbeaten, yet the 30-year-old has decided to move up in weight and face a far more formidable opponent, who is also in his prime. It was an offer he could not refuse. 

Despite his talents and looking indestructible, so far, Golovkin’s rĂ©sumĂ© is thin and like Brook, he has not yet faced a number of fighters in his division – such as Billy Joe Saunders, Chris Eubank Jr and Daniel Jacobs – who could inflict the first defeat of his professional career. As you may be aware, there was a lot of hype surrounding a potential mega-fight between ‘GGG’ and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. That failed to materialise, resulting in Alvarez vacating the WBC middleweight title. There is even the possibility of the Kazakh moving up in weight himself and testing the waters at super-middleweight. Anyhow, that’s for another day.

Many fans of the sport are very confident that Golovkin will defeat Brook, and for good reason, but in spite of this, there are still question marks surrounding this fight.

Brook is a big welterweight and reportedly walks around at 178 pounds. If he can carry the weight well, with his power, things could get very interesting. Golovkin has to cross the pond and fight in the UK. British crowds are very different to American crowds. How will he deal with the hostile atmosphere? He has many fans over here, but the majority of fans on the night will be cheering for the Sheffield star. The occasion could get to ‘GGG’. He could have an off-night. The Kazakh cannot afford to have an off-night, period.

This could turn out to be Golovkin’s toughest test to date. If this proves to be the case, it would not look good on him. If he was to lose, it would be unthinkable. He would lose all of his belts, his reputation would be in tatters and many people would take a pop at him for losing to, essentially, a welterweight. ‘GGG’ has everything to lose, Brook has everything to gain.

The odds are stacked against ‘Special K’, no doubt about it, nonetheless, if he was to defeat Golovkin, it would be considered to be one of the greatest upsets in the history of boxing.

 

 

 

 

 

How does Caparello conquer the Krusher?

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No man is perfect, therefore every man is beatable, but on August 2nd at the Revel Resort in Atlantic city, New Jersey, unbeaten southpaw, Blake Caparello, faces an extremely difficult and daunting assignment. The 27-year-old challenger from down under challenges WBO light heavyweight belt-holder, Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev – a one man wrecking machine who has demolished all comers. The Russian powerhouse is regarded by many in the boxing vicinity as the best fighter in the light heavyweight division today and many simply believe that Caparello is out of his depth; another victim who will disposed of with relative ease.

When you dissect Caparello’s record (19-0-1, 6 KO’s), you will come to the conclusion that he is no puncher with just six knockouts to his name. However, the Australian believes that people should not judge his power by those stats because he feels that he has the power to stop and really hurt his opponents.
Caparello defeated Allan Green (who has mixed it with the likes of Andre Ward, Glen Johnson and Mikkel Kessler), over 12 rounds back in October last year. He then ventured outside of his native Australia for the first time in his career in January, defeating Kosovan, Elvir Muriqi, on points over 10 rounds, but when Caparello steps in to the ring on August 2nd he faces a man who’s sole purpose as a fighter is to seek and destroy anyone who dares challenge him.

Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KO’s), has won his last eight contests inside the distance in dominating fashion. His most notable victory came against Welshman, Nathan Cleverly, in August 2013. Cleverly was defending the WBO crown, but Kovalev, 31, tore up the script on the night. His persistence and hammer blows were too much for ‘Clev’ to handle. The Russian demonstrated that it would take something extraordinary to deter him and with that win announced himself on the world stage. Kovalev has gone on to defend the WBO title twice, beating Ukrainian, Ismayl Sillah, in two rounds in November and American, Cedric Agnew, in 7 rounds in March.

So what will it take from Caparello to defeat Kovalev? You would think that he would need to demonstrate many things inside the ring to win. The Russian has shown that he can take a shot in order to land one or several of his own and he can figure out what it is his opponent is trying to do, so Caparello needs to stick to a game plan and remain focused throughout the contest. He stands a chance of winning if he fights his type of fight. The Australian could well offset Kovalev’s rhythm with timing and movement and this could lead to the Russian becoming frustrated. Caparello will also have to try his best to not take too many solid shots to head and body.
There is a chance that Kovalev may have a bad night at the office and this could lead to him not having things go his way.

There is no doubt about it, though, Blake Caparello has one hell of a fight on his hands keeping Sergey Kovalev at bay. The Russian is a force of destruction, hell-bent on inflicting some serious damage upon the Australian.

May the best man win!

Ortiz and Collazo set for Brooklyn battle!

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On January 30, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, hosts the eagerly anticipated matchup between southpaws ‘Vicious’ Victor Ortiz and Luis Collazo who will battle it out for the WBA International title.

The former welterweight world title-holders will let their fists do the talking this Thursday, in what is a high-stakes fight for both fighters. Defeat for either man does not mean that they will consider retirement, but in the context of working towards another world title shot, it would be damaging.

Ortiz (29-4-2, 22KO’s), was the WBC welterweight champion after a unanimous points victory over Andre Berto in April 2011, but has since lost two in a row. Floyd Mayweather Jr knocked the Kansas native out in four rounds in September 2011 to get his hands on the WBC strap, and Josesito Lopez upset the odds to beat Ortiz (who suffered a broken jaw during the contest), in nine rounds in June 2012. That was Ortiz’ last outing, so he comes in to this fight with Collazo after a 19-month layoff.

Collazo (34-5, 17KO’s), held the WBA World welterweight title from April 2005 to May 2006, before dropping a close unanimous points decision to Ricky Hatton. The Brooklyn native went on to lose a wide points decision to ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley (for the interim WBC welterweight title), in February 2007 and a close points decision to Andre Berto (for the WBC welterweight title), in January 2009. Since the loss to Berto, Collazo, 32, has resurrected his career with five wins in six fights – which includes claiming the WBA International welterweight title in his last fight. He comes in to this Ortiz fight as the in-form fighter.

Ortiz turns 27 this Friday, so victory over Collazo would be the perfect perfect birthday present, but not only that, it would boost his confidence and reignite his career after two successive defeats – as previously mentioned.
This is no easy fight for either of these fighters, but both feel in tremendous shape and both are hungry to win, so there should be no excuses whoever loses and boxing fans should be in for a real treat come fight night.

Ortiz has a fan-friendly style as he is aggressive and has punching power, but he is vulnerable too. Many in the boxing world question Ortiz’ heart, but if asked to go to war on January 30, I am sure he is more than up to the task.
Collazo is a resilient fighter who has been involved in his fair share of battles. He is certainly no easy pushover, so if Ortiz is too eager or not mentally focused, Collazo can take advantage.

The winner of this contest will be the one who craves victory the most, the one who is prepared to dig in that bit more when the going gets tough, the one who believes in his own strengths more than anything else.

A look back at 2013 and a look ahead to 2014!

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Last year, a number of fighters emerged from relative obscurity to set the world scene alight – and domestically too. There were also several high profile fighters who enjoyed great success throughout the year. I’d like to take a look back at 2013 and the fighters who shot to fame in their own right, also looking ahead to what 2014 presents for them and other fighters too.

Floyd Mayweather Jr – the man is just simply just too good for anyone. We’ve seen what he’s done and achieved in the past and we saw how he handled Mexican, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, last September. He will continue to amaze us all until he retires. He’s the greatest fighter of this generation.

Gennady Golovkin is a perfect example of a fighter who has got people talking all over the world. He’s a star in the making – four fights in 2013 – four wins inside the distance. Golovkin now needs the big fights to be made sooner rather than later, and needs to beat the big names in his division to raise his stock even more.
A potential huge matchup is Golovkin versus Sergio Martinez – the current WBC middleweight title-holder. To my knowledge, there’s nothing stopping them from meeting, unless Martinez is looking elsewhere. We know that Miguel Cotto could fight the Argentinian this year, but that could fall through. Even if Martinez-Cotto is made, a potential Golovkin-Martinez showdown could happen later in 2014. Martin Murray could be a future opponent for ‘GGG’. There’s nothing stopping those two from meeting, either.

Callum Smith has made some real noise in the UK. He’s really burst on to the scene, achieving six first round wins in a row in 2013, looking devastating in the process. When Smith did step up in class (last September against Patrick Mendy), he obliterated his African opponent inside a round. I expect another busy year for Smith. Callum’s brother, Paul Smith Jr, currently holds the British 168.lb title, but he could vacate this year. If he does, I don’t see any reason why Callum can’t challenge for it. A potential huge British showdown with Rocky Fielding could materialize. Both are from Liverpool, unbeaten and promoted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport. Fielding’s the current commonwealth 168.lb title-holder, so if that fight was to be made, it’s possible the vacant British belt and commonwealth belt would be up for grabs.

Shawn Porter became a world champion at the first time of asking in December, upsetting the odds to dethrone the defending champion, Devon Alexander, to claim the IBF welterweight title. There were many in the boxing world who felt that Porter did not have the tools to beat Alexander, but he proved those people wrong; including this writer. Porter looks set to face his mandatory challenger, Kell Brook, later this year, but he may take a voluntary defence beforehand. Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, has stated recently that he’s looking at matching Porter with Keith Thurman next, in what would be a first title defence for Porter. Now wouldn’t that be something!

Darren Barker achieved his lifelong dream and became a world champion, beating the defending champion, Daniel Geale, last August to claim the IBF middleweight title. Despite all of Barker’s injury problems in the past, and being knocked down during the world title fight with Geale, he lifted himself off the canvas to claim a points win. In Barker’s first defence of the IBF strap in December. he was beaten in two rounds by Germany’s Felix Sturm, dislocating his hip during the contest. Barker announced his retirement from boxing some weeks later and I wish him all the best for the future.

Adonis Stevenson looked devastating when claiming the WBC and Ring Magazine light heavyweight belts in June last year. He really announced himself on the world stage, thumping the defending champion, Chad Dawson, in only 76 seconds of the first round. Not only that, Stevenson had jumped up in weight from super middleweight to tackle Dawson. ‘Superman’ continued to soar, claiming three more wins to round 2013 off in style. A potential mouth-watering unification title fight with Russian, Sergey Kovalev, could happen later this year. It’s a fight every fan wants to see, and it could well end with a devastating knockout as both are serious punchers. There’s no reason why this can’t happen, either.
Stevenson has expressed his desire to face Carl Froch and Bernard Hopkins, but I have my doubts whether Stevenson will face either fighter. I do not see Froch moving up to light heavyweight, nor do I see Hopkins jumping at the chance to get in the ring with Stevenson. Jean Pascal recently saw off Lucian Bute in a mega showdown in Canada. It’s possible Stevenson and Pascal will meet later this year, as Pascal claimed the ‘Diamond’ belt to get in line for a world title shot. Both Stevenson and Pascal were born in Haiti and now reside in Canada, so there’s something there to entice the fans.

Sergey Kovalev goes by the alias, ‘Krusher’. When you see him fight, you know why. The Russian is a monstrous puncher; just ask Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev crushed the Welshman in four rounds last August, picking up the WBO light heavyweight belt with the win. Kovalev went on to defend his belt in November against Ukrainian, Ismayl Sillah. I wish any opponent all the best if they step in the ring to face Kovalev – seriously! Again, I see no reason why Kovalev-Stevenson can’t happen later this year. It’s a matchup that excites the fans.

Keith Thurman has impressed practically every fight fan so far. He has shown he has the tools to become a real force in the sport. Thurman’s not yet faced the bigger names in the welterweight division, and the cold war may surely get in the way of that, but there’s nothing getting in the way of him facing current WBA World welterweight champ, Marcos Rene Maidana, this year. Thurman currently holds the interim version of the WBA World belt, so as of now that fight makes sense to make. Of course, if Maidana rematches Adrien Broner and loses, then Broner-Thurman becomes a massive fight which fight fans would love to see it.

Ruslan Provodnikov has won the hearts of many fans since his fight with Timothy Bradley last March. Provodnikov, known as the ‘Siberian Rocky’, is a beast and he gave Bradley all he could handle when they fought for the WBO welterweight title, losing narrowly on points. Since then, Provodnikov claimed his first world title, beating Mike Alvarado for the WBO light welterweight belt last October. Provodnikov is relentless and he looks like he really enjoys inflicting pain upon his opponents. A real humdinger of a fight would be Provodnikov versus Brandon Rios. Now that would be an epic war to say the least! Rios has stated recently that he’s moving back down to 140.lbs, and with Provodnikov not tied with either TOP Rank or Golden Boy Promotions, there’s a real possibility that fight could happen. A rematch with Bradley is also possible for Provodnikov. I also would love to see Provodnikov face Danny Garcia. That would really be a great fight.

Danny Garcia used to be considered not all that good by a majority of fight fans, and also considered underrated too, but not any more. Garcia has beaten the likes of Kendall Holt, Erik Morales, Amir Khan and Zab Judah, but victory over puncher, Lucas Martin Matthysse, in September was arguably his career-best win. Garcia was the underdog going in to the fight, but proved his doubters wrong and demonstrated his solid boxing ability throughout the fight.

What’s in store for Garcia this year? Well, at 140.lbs there’s Ruslan Provodnikov, and as already mentioned – Lamont Peterson. I don’t see Garcia giving up his WBC and WBA Super World 140.lb belts that easily, so these fights could take place. There was talk of Garcia moving up in weight from 140.lbs to 147.lbs. If that happens, I think a great first fight at the weight would be against Paulie Malignaggi. I think it would be a great fight stylistically and one the fans would most definitely tune in to see.
Garcia-Maidana, Garcia-Broner, Garcia-Thurman? You never know, these fights could be made. Of course, there’s a potential showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr, but I don’t see that happening.

George Groves won over those who doubted him prior to his challenge for the IBF and WBA World super middleweight belts against Carl Froch in November. Groves put down Froch HARD during the first round of the bout and continued to bombard him with solid right hands throughout, but he was controversially stopped during the ninth round. Groves badly wants a rematch with Froch and no-one can blame him. but Froch wants none of it. Promoter, Eddie Hearn, believes the rematch can happen this year, but fans aren’t so sure. Groves is currently a free agent and could well leave Matchroom Sport and sign with a top American promoter. A possible fight with current super middleweight title-holder, Robert Stieglitz, could be made this year. It’s certainly a fight that Groves can win.

Guillermo Rigondeaux was sublime as an amateur boxer and he continues to show his class in the pro ranks. 2013 was a standout year for the Cuban. Victory over Nonito Donaire – who was the WBO super bantamweight title-holder going in to the fight – was the standout performance and victory of 2013 in my opinion. Rigondeaux went on to outclass Joseph Akbeko in December to round off the year in style, keeping hold of the WBO and WBA Super World super bantamweight titles. I don’t know what’s next for the Cuban, though, as he’s in a league of his own. Also, he’s not a big draw, which is crazy to say, but he doesn’t draw in the crowds and he doesn’t speak a word of English. Perhaps what Rigondeaux needs to do is travel outside of America. He could travel to Northern Ireland and face Carl Frampton, or even to England to face Scott Quigg. It would only benefit Rigondeaux surely, but it remains to be seen if all parties can come to an agreement for those fights to happen.

Erislandy Lara is a slick Cuban southpaw, but he struggled with Mexican brawler, Alfredo Angulo, last June. However, Lara inflicted enough damage to stop Angulo in 10 rounds, claiming the interim World light middleweight title with the win.
Lara completely schooled Austin Trout – a very capable southpaw – over 12 rounds in December. The cuban was at his absolute best in what was surely Lara’s career-best win. After that performance, many in the boxing world came out and said that they believe Lara would be Floyd Mayweather Jr’s toughest test right now. It’s an interesting matchup for sure and I’d be happy to see it if it’s made. Another potential fight for Lara is against Mexican, Saul ‘Canelo Alvarez. That can certainly be made and it’s a fight I favour Lara to win in style.

Miguel ‘Mikey’ Garcia had a stellar 2013, announcing himself on the world stage to become a world champion in two weight-classes – featherweight and super featherweight. Garcia has shown what he’s truly capable of with victories over Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez and Roman Martinez. There are many who feel that Garcia is vulnerable, though, but they can’t deny that he is a real talent! Garcia is set to defend his WBO super featherweight title against Mexican, Juan Carlos Burgos, on January 25, but it’s likely that he will move up in weight to lightweight in the near future. First things first of course, Garcia must get past Burgos, but a potential huge fight between Garcia and Yuriorkis Gamboa at 135.lbs would delight fans if it was to be made.

2014 presents a huge opportunity for many fighters, both internationally and domestically.

Terence Crawford could make that step from challenger to world champion, if he beats WBO lightweight title-holder, Ricky Burns, on March 1. This will be Crawford’s breaking out party in my opinion. It’s a step up in class for Crawford for sure, but it’s no easy test for Burns, either. I think Crawford will present more problems than Raymundo Beltran did for the Scot.

Kell Brook looks set to face Shawn Porter for the IBF 147.lb strap as I’ve already mentioned. Fingers crossed that fight happens. It would be a golden opportunity for Brook. He’s had a nightmare with world title challenges being cancelled in the past, but this could be his time.

Vasyl Lomachenko is due to fight for a world title in only his second pro fight – which if he was to win – would be an incredible achievement. He challenges tough Mexican, Orlando Salido, for the WBO featherweight title on March 1. Lomachenko is a gifted southpaw who demonstrated his ability in overwhelming Mexican, Jose Ramirez, in October and I firmly believe that Lomachenko will beat Salido.

Special mentions to Kal Yafai, Mitchell Smith and Chris Jenkins.

I think Yafai is a real talent and one to watch. He’s had some bad luck with injuries in the past, but I pray that’s all behind him. I think Yafai picks up his first domestic title early this year (with the English belt), and could possibly go on to fight Paul Butler (holder of the British and commonwealth super flyweight belts), later in the year. That fight would certainly produce fireworks!

Smith claimed his first domestic title in September, picking up the Southern Area super featherweight title with victory over Norfolk’s Scott Moises.
Smith is vastly improving and has all the tools to go far in the sport. He’s due to fight Welshman, Mark Evans, on February 22, which is a good step up in class for both. Evans is talented and unbeaten in ten and he’ll come to London intent on beating Smith, so I expect Smith to be at his best and to shine in that contest.

Jenkins burst on to the domestic scene last July, claiming the light welterweight Prizefighter trophy. He showed his class throughout that competition and is no longer Wales’ best kept secret. I’m certain he will challenge for major titles in the near future. Jenkins is next due to fight on February 1 in Wales, but an opponent has not yet been announced.

Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell have impressed many already in a short space of time, but it’s very early days for both. There are many tough challenges ahead for them both. They’ve shined already in the pro ranks, but it won’t get any easier.

So this was a look back at 2013 and what could be in store for us this year.

I’m confident 2014 will be bigger and better than 2013.

Paulie Malignaggi vs Zab Judah undercard previews

Whenever someone mentions the Zab Judah-Paulie Malignaggi fight to me, you know what enters my head straight away? ‘No sleep til Brooklyn’!!! – which is a song by the Beastie Boys. You ask why? Well, both men are from Brooklyn and their vacant NABF welterweight title fight, which is billed as ‘The Battle of Brooklyn’, takes place this weekend on December 7. There is a title on the line, but in all honesty it’s all about bragging rights and pride!

That’s the headline fight of the night and there is a great undercard to look forward to as well!

Co-featuring is the much anticipated light middleweight contest between southpaws Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara, who will battle it out for the vacant WBA World light middleweight belt.

Trout is 28 years of age and was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, whilst Lara is 30 and was born in Cuba, but now resides in Miami, Florida. Trout’s record stands at 26-1-0, 14 KO’s, compared to Lara’s 18-1-2, 12 KO’s.

Trout tasted defeat for the first time in his career in April, dropping a 12 round decision to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Trout hit the deck for the first time in his career at the start of the 7th round, but he did give Alvarez problems throughout the contest with his judgement, jab and left hand. It was a very controversial decision in my eyes, especially with two scorecards being so wide in favour of Alvarez.
The Mexican kept hold of the WBC light middleweight title and added the WBA Super World light middleweight title with the win.

Lara claimed the interim WBA World light middleweight strap in June, after picking himself off the canvas twice to stop tough Mexican Alfredo Angulo in 10 rounds. That proved to be a very difficult test for Lara (who had never been down before in his career), as Angulo was relentless in his attacks. However, Lara landed numerous clean shots which eventually took its toll on the Mexican, forcing Angulo to turn his back on the action which resulted in the referee stopping the fight.
Lara showed a champions heart in that fight and showed his quality as a fighter to finish the job inside the distance.

This is a very solid matchup between two top fighters and it’s very tough to call a winner. I think it’s going to be a very cagey, tactical affair too – especially early on. Lara has advantages in reach and hand speed and he’s more elusive than Trout as well. Trout’s a well capable boxer, though, and he’s going to be very switched on for this fight, but I think Lara may well outwork him for the most part of the contest.

My Prediction: Lara via close UD

Devon Alexander vs Shawn Porter

Devon Alexander ‘The Great’ (25-1-0, 14 KO’s), returns and he is set to defend the IBF welterweight title against unbeaten prospect, Shawn ‘Showtime’ Porter.

In May, Alexander fought Lee Purdy who was a late replacement for the injured Kell Brook. Purdy failed to make weight for the clash meaning there was no title on the line. Despite injuring his left hand in the 1st round, Alexander, 26, still managed to outclass the Brit forcing Purdy’s corner to stop the fight after the 7th round.

Porter (22-0-1, 14 KO’s), is from Akron, Ohio. This is the first time the 26-year-old will be challenging for a world title. This is a big step up for Porter. It’s a massive opportunity to show us whether or not he can mix it with one of the best fighters in the welterweight division. Alexander has beaten the likes of Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse, so a win here for Porter would be something special. Porter will make a name for himself with victory and it would put him on the map and in line for bigger fights in the 147lb division.

Many in the boxing world expect Alexander to prove he is levels above Porter, so it’s up to Porter to show us we are wrong.

My prediction: Alexander via wide UD

Sakio Bika vs Anthony Dirrell

Anthony ‘The Dog’ Dirrell steps up in class when he challenges Australian Sakio ‘The Scorpion’ Bika for the WBC super middleweight title.

Bika (32-5-2, 21 KO’s), is a vastly experienced fighter and has been in with the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Lucian Bute and Andre Ward in the past. The 34-year-old has tons of heart, is tough and rugged, but he is not one of the better fighters of the super middleweight division and is no spring chicken anymore.
Bika claimed the vacant WBC super middleweight belt in June after a wild, action-filled brawl with Mexican Marco Antonio Periban that went 12 rounds.

Dirrell (26-0-0, 22 KO’s), a talented southpaw from Flint, Michigan, is aiming to claim a world title at the first attempt and this opportunity to become a world champion marks a remarkable journey for the 29-year-old.
Dirrell battled non hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2006 and last year he was involved in a horrific motorcycle accident. That forced him out of action for the whole of 2012. He is without doubt a true fighter in every sense of the word.

I’m picking Dirrell here. I think he will for the most part control the pace of this fight and will show us his talent and toughness too. He will also demonstrate that he has fast hands and sits down on his shots well also. Dirrell can be hit though and he may well have to come through some patchy moments in order to hear the final bell.

My Prediction: Dirrell via wide UD

‘Superman’ still flying high!

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Colisee de Quebec, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

What a year it’s been for Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson. Four times the ‘man of steel’ has fought in 2013 and four times he’s won.
On November 30, not only did he deny challenger, Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew, from claiming a world title, he ruined his birthday too. Stevenson has now successfully defended the WBC and Ring Magazine light heavyweight belts for a second time.

Stevenson, now 23(20)-1-0, was in control for as long as the fight lasted.
The 36-year-old controlled center ring throughout, showing great defensive qualities with his movement and reflexes. When Stevenson landed, Bellew felt his power. It was clear to see that Bellew, 31, was sticking to a gameplan, but he did not not have much success landing punches. He did, however, manage to make the champion miss at times with his own movement, but Stevenson just bided his time.

Bellew, who slips to 20(12)-2-1, showed Stevenson much respect, knowing that the champion has dynamite in those fists of his. At the end of the 3rd, Bellew showed signs of frustration as he went back to his corner, but at the start of the 4th he came out with more purpose.
The Liverpudlian wanted to show Stevenson what he was made of as the two threw bombs. Stevenson actually crashed to the canvas during the 4th round, but feet got tangled prior to him falling over.

In the 6th, Stevenson nailed Bellew with a left hand which sent the Scouser to the canvas. Bellew was able to rise to his feet and told the referee he wanted to continue. In the same round, Bellew was wobbled from another left hand and on shaky legs, giving the referee no option but to intervene and wave off the fight.

Bellew will be devastated after this defeat and will take time out to think about where to go next. For Stevenson, he showed he was a class above Bellew and that he’s more than just a puncher. He may now have just sealed his status as fighter of the year too. He’s in form and on top of the world right now, but there is one opponent that many fans believe would beat him; Russian knockout artist, Sergey Kovalev, the WBO light heavyweight champion.
Kovalev defended his belt on the same night knocking out, Ismayl Sillakh, brutally in two rounds. Kovalev’s a true punching monster and if a matchup with Stevenson is made, we would find out who the true ‘man of steel’ is at 175lbs. Let’s hope we see it!

Bellew set to collide with ‘Superman’!

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Colisee de Quebec, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Morning, noon and night, for the past 12 weeks, Liverpool’s Tony ‘The Bomber’ Bellew has been thinking non-stop about Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson; the WBC and Ring magazine light heavyweight world champion.

Bellew (20-1-1, 12 KO’s), craves those titles so much, he is willing to do whatever it takes to get his hands on them. The 30-year-old can expect a frosty reception in Quebec on November 30, but he is not fazed one bit about his surroundings or his opponent; he certainly means business. Bellew refuses to believe the hype surrounding ‘The man of steel’ and believes he’s going to beat Stevenson up and man handle him on his way to victory.

Stevenson (22-1-0, 19 KO’s), is flying high in 2013. The Haiti-born, Quebec native has fought three times this year and won each time; looking mightily impressive in the process. The 36-year-old southpaw is a fearsome puncher (just ask Chad Dawson), but he’s also got boxing ability and a boxing brain. Stevenson’s a hungry champion and supremely confident also, fully intent on knocking Bellew out cold.

There would be no better way for Bellew to celebrate his 31st birthday then to celebrate it as a world champion, but he’s a big underdog in this matchup. Bellew does, however, have advantages in size, reach and height, so we will see whether everything can come together on the night to cause the upset.

Garcia picks himself off the canvas to knock out Martinez!

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American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA – Sat, Nov 9, 2013

Puerto Rican, Rocky Martinez, is no longer the WBO super featherweight champ; that belt now belongs to Mikey Garcia. The Californian remains unbeaten and has now claimed a world title in two weight classes.

It looked as though we were going to witness a gruelling battle between the pair, after Garcia was dropped during the 2nd round from a Martinez right hand counter; but this was not to be. Instead, it proved to be more demanding for the Puerto Rican. Garcia picked himself off the canvas, regained his composure; looking calm and collected, and took control of the fight.

Garcia, 25, expected the best Rocky Martinez to show up on the night, but he demonstrated how excellent an offensive technician he is to beat the Puerto Rican in stunning fashion in the 8th round. Garcia, who is now the first fighter to knock down and stop Martinez, knew it was a very good punch when he landed the body shot and had a feeling that Martinez wouldn’t get up.

Martinez, 30, who slips to 27(16)-2-2 following this defeat, knew he was fighting a high-quality opponent and knew that when he knocked Garcia down he wasn’t hurt. Martinez also felt Garcia’s power from the very first punch and despite showing dogged determination, was thoroughly outboxed and picked apart throughout.

The Puerto Rican shipped many solid shots, but showed a good chin as always and heart to keep plugging away. After Garcia landed that brutal body shot, Martinez was just unable to recover and was counted out.

Garcia will surely now rise up the pound-for-pound rankings after an impressive victory against a well respected opponent.