Andre Berto-Jesus Soto Karass – Knockout Kings II

Former WBC welterweight champion, Andre Berto, comes up against a tough and experienced veteran in Mexican, Jesus Soto Karass, on July 27. This is the headline bout of the night at the AT&T center in San Antonio, Texas. The winner will claim the vacant NABF welterweight title, but potential lucrative title fights could arise for the winner in the near future.

Berto (28-2-0, 22 KO’s), comes from Winter Haven, Florida. He claimed the vacant WBC welterweight title in June 2008 after overpowering Mexican, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, over 7 rounds. He made a successful first defense of the title against the skillful and savvy, Steve Forbes, in September 2008, and went on to defend the title four more times. The 29-year-old beat Luis Collazo (UD 12), Juan Urango (UD 12), Carlos Quintana (TKO 8), and Freddy Hernandez (TKO 1).

Before he met ‘Vicious’ Victor Ortiz in April 2011, Berto was unbeaten in 27 fights and many people believed he could go on to acheive much more in the sport.

Berto-Ortiz was one hell of a fight. It was that good it was awarded fight of the year for 2011. Both men traded heavy leather throughout the contest. Ortiz had Berto down in the 1st, Berto had Ortiz down in the 2nd and both men hit the canvas once each in the 6th. Ortiz, though, was awarded the win via unanimous decision, claiming the WBC welterweight title from Berto.

Having lost the WBC title and his unbeaten record, Berto got back to winning ways in September 2011, by defeating tough Slovenian, Jan Zaveck, in 5 rounds. With that win, Berto claim the vacant IBF welterweight title. Berto then met, Robert Guerrero (after a 14-month layoff), that November, for the Interim WBC welterweight title. Guerrero set a ferocious pace throughout and had Berto down early in the 1st and 2nd rounds. Berto showed how much heart and desire he has (and not for the first time as a pro), as he stormed back in to the contest, getting off powerful shots of his own. Guerrero finished the stronger though. After 12 pulsating rounds, Guerrero was the victor on the scorecards. Berto was defeated for the second time as a pro.

Karass (27-8-3, 17 KO’s), was born in Mexico but now lives in California. The 30-year-old has established himself as a worthy challenger at welterweight. He is a rugged competitor and always gives his opponents plenty to think about. He does not back down from a fight. Karass has featured in some absorbing contests against some respected opponents throughout his career. In September 2012, Karass fought Marcos Maidana – a hard-hitting, relentless pressure fighter, for the vacant WBA International welterweight title. It was a bitter brawl that lasted 8 rounds. The contest witnessed points deductions, punches thrown after the bell, a knockdown and a dramatic late stoppage. Karass was game throughout but Maidana just had too much for him in the end, but, what it did show is that Karass is able to hold his own against one of the toughest men in the division.

Earlier this year, Karass upset the odds by defeating Selcuk Aydin on points via majority decision. He showed that he is not quite finished yet and should never be written off. Karass is the underdog again in this fight, but that only makes him more determined to win. Going into this contest with Berto, Karass has won three of his last four fights.

Berto comes in to this contest having not fought since November 2012, but he is still a heavy favourite to beat the Mexican. Karass is the more experienced fighter having boxed more rounds (271-161). He is a fearful, high-volume puncher and he will not back down if he comes under fire from Berto’s rapid assaults. Karass is also about an inch taller than Berto and has a short reach advantage. Berto, though, has advantages in speed and power (he is a lethal knockout artist when he’s in the mood, with a knockout ratio of just over 73%). Karass, though, is not feather-fisted and Berto (who has been down before), does not have the best defense. If he switches off for a moment, Karass is capable of sending him to the canvas.

Expect Karass to take the fight to Berto from the off, piling the pressure on and aiming to get Berto out of his comfort zone. Berto used the shoulder roll defense in his last fight against Robert Guerrero, but it backfired, so he may not approach this contest the same way.

As mentioned, Berto has the advantages so look for him to aim to set the tempo, work his jab and let his hands go when in range. Berto may well have a plan which could be to get Karass out of there early, so he may aim to work the body and soften Karass up and take him out. This may backfire though and it could become a tricky night for Berto.

This is what you call a must win fight for both men, especially if they have their sights set on a World title shot. A dream World title fight against P4P superstar, Floyd Mayweather Jr, could become reality for one of these fighters in 2014.

I am expecting Berto to win this fight. I have predicted him to win via TKO 5th round, but I believe this could be tougher than expected and would not be shocked to see this go the full 12 rounds.

Dereck Chisora-Malik Scott Preview

ImageDereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora and unbeaten American Malik ‘King’ Scott will headline Frank Warren’s ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ show at Wembley arena, London, England. The pair will battle it out over 10 rounds for the WBO International heavyweight title on July 20. David Haye is the only fighter to have claimed the title when he beat Chisora (TKO 5), last July.

The title is not really what these two fighters are after. It’s not a well recognized title in all honesty. The main objective of both Chisora and Scott is to win this fight which will push them towards competing on the World stage. Both these men have something to prove.

Chisora (16-4-0, 10 KO’s), is a controversial figure. The 29-year-old has done things that has sparked outrage. He’s previously bitten an opponent, kissed an opponent, slapped Vitali Klitschko, spat water at his brother Wladimir and started a press conference brawl with David Haye. He gets people talking, whether it be good or bad and people do tune in to see him. Also, controversy sells fights. Chisora does what he does because he knows people will watch and debate, but at the end of the day Chisora is a decent human being. He is respected. Many fight fans like him. He’s a throwback fighter who likes to come forward and pressure his opponents. He’s aggressive and throws combinations. He’s not the most techically gifted fighter, but when his head is screwed on right and he’s in shape he’s a tough man to beat.

Scott (35-0-1, 12 KO’s), will be in uncharted territory on July 20. Not only will the Philadelphian be facing Chisora, who, many believe is a major step-up for him, he’ll be fighting outside of his native U.S.A for the first time. The majority of the 12,500 in attendance on the night will be pro-Chisora. Wembley arena has its own unique atmosphere and the crowd will be well on top of the action. It’s not quite the O2 arena, but it’ll be interesting to see how the American deals with it all.

Scott, 32, is a good technical boxer. He has shown competence in the ring. He’s tall and has a good jab, moves well and looks quite slick. He’s fought more rounds than Chisora (215-119), but his record is padded as he just hasn’t fought any serious competition. Chisora, on the other hand, has a more distinguished career. He’s faced the likes of Robert Helenius, David Haye and Vitali Klitschko. This is a step-up for Scott.

Many people believe that Scott is a protected fighter, who has never been seriously taken out of his comfort zone. They believe that when he faces Chisora he’ll get found out. This is a classic ‘boxer vs brawler’ styles matchup. Chisora has a very aggressive, raw-like style and it’s up to Scott to tame him. Scott has only 12 knockouts from 36 contests so it remains to be seen if he is able to discourage Chisora. It’s unlikely that Scott will knock Chisora out, but this is heavyweight boxing so you never know. Chisora may well be able to unsettle Scott early on and turn it into his kind of fight. If he’s able to cut off the ring then Chisora stands a great chance of winning. He may be able to grind Scott down. If Scott is able to establish his jab early, use the ring, measure and time Chisora then he stands a great chance of winning. It also depends on who’s hungry enough to want to win.

Both men are eager to fight now. In the past, Chisora has been known to come in on fight night overweight and not mentally focused. For this fight with Scott, not only does he look in fantastic shape (arguably the best shape of his career), he’s focused and he’s hungry. He’s aiming to do a real job on Scott and wants to pack him back off to America with a first loss on his résumé. Scott is also in confident mood and believes he has the tools to win.

I just hope the fight is as good as the build up has been!

Chris Jenkins…a star has been born!

If you are a British boxing fan and you did not know who Chris Jenkins was…you do now!

Jenkins, 24, is from Garnant, Wales, and he walks out to Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” before entering the ring for each of his fights. It is one great song, and, not only does it pump him up before a fight, it pumps the crowd up too!

Prior to Kevin Mitchell & Betfair’s Prizefighter light-welterweights III show on July 6, many fight fans had never seen Jenkins fight before. Well, they certainly stood up and took note of what they saw and they were impressed! I was in attendance on the night too and I really enjoyed watching him fight!

Jenkins was placed into the Prizefighter tournament at late notice due to Enfield’s Chris Evangelou being forced to pull out of the tournament. In the build-up to Prizefighter, I was informed by Jenkins’ regular sparring partner Greg Pickin that Jenkins is an immense talent. A super fit, quick boxer, with a very high work rate who hits very hard. Well, this proved to be the case on evidence of what we saw on the night!

The Welshman set a ferocious pace in his quarter-final fight against Carshalton’s Tony Owen. Once Jenkins settled down after a frantic start, he began to get his shots off. He never allowed Owen (a southpaw), time to relax. He smothered him, bombarding Owen with an array of shots to body and head. There was an intensity to Jenkins’ work and it paid off.

In his semi-final against Rotherhithe’s Eren Arif, Jenkins opted to work behind his jab more. You could tell he respected Arif’s punching power, but when Arif threw power shots Jenkins responded in kind. The Welshman showed he is capable of boxing and moving well when required and he does thinks about what he is doing. He is not all about setting a high tempo. He has a boxing brain. Certain things that stood out to me were Jenkins’ footwork and how he is capable of measuring and timing an opponent. He proved too hot to handle for Arif.

In the final, Jenkins came up against Hackbridge’s Danny Connor. In this fight Jenkins showed his punching power and the ability to finish off an opponent when they are hurt. Connor, the more experienced of the two fighters, possesses very good boxing ability. His aim was to jab and move and time his right hand over the top of Jenkins’ jab early on. However, Jenkins applied constant pressure and did not give Connor a moments rest. A sharp right hand with just over 30 seconds of the 1st round remaining landed which stunned Connor. The Hackbridge man was sent back up against the ropes then on to the canvas. Connor did the sensible thing by staying on one knee until he rose to his feet on the count of eight. He then fought fire with fire until the bell sounded for the end of the round. At the start of round 2, both men traded leather until Jenkins landed another solid right hand which stunned Connor again. Connor staggered back onto the ropes. Jenkins then bombarded him with punches which forced Connor to his knees. Connor was then counted out.

Jenkins was now Betfair’s Prizefighter light-welterweights III champion. The Welshman announced himself in front of the sky sports cameras and in front of 1,200 fight fans at York Hall. He was ecstatic, as was his team! Not only did he claim the Prizefighter trophy, he claimed £32,000 plus £2,000 for the knockout in the final! People now know his name. Fight fans across the UK tweeted sky sports their approval. They believe they had just witnessed a star in the making. The great thing too is that he is still only 24! His record now moves to 10(5)-0-0.

Jenkins’ team (Paul Boyce Promotions), do not want to rush him. They want him to go the traditional way and that starts of with attempting to claim a Welsh or Celtic title. That is a very sensible thing to do in my opinion. Jenkins is still developing as a boxer and time is on his side. He comes across as a very pleasant person also. He showed great respect towards each opponent he faced on the night. Jenkins has now started up a twitter account! And, at the time of writing (on Thursday 11 July), he has 840 followers! I am sure he will gain many, many more followers and more fight fans will definitely turn up at his future shows.

Chris Jenkins…a star has been born!

Steve Collins Jr on verge of making pro debut!

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Steve Collins Jr, the son of the legendary Steve ‘The Celtic Warrior’ Collins – a two-time, two-weight World champion, has showcased his talent and skill throughout a successful career as a rugby player. But now, the 23-year-old is on the verge of making his pro boxing debut in Dundalk, Ireland on July 12.

People would expect big things from him because of what his Father achieved, but, although he hopes to exceed expectations, he feels that he’s under no real pressure to fill his Father’s boots. Collins Jr has had no amateur experience, so we can’t comment on how his style would fair in the pro ranks. Collins Sr, though, is confident that the British and Irish fans will take to him, because he has a style that will suit the pro game.

“He’s a terrific athlete and is definitely dedicated and a tough kid, you know, and not just in boxing,” said Collins Sr,

“He has a great career as a rugby player too and I personally feel he’s done the right thing, by going straight into the pro game. His style of boxing is right for the pros.” He added, “People are bound to expect him to fight like I did, but no, he has his own style. He’s very much a come forward boxer. He’ll come forward and crowd his opponent.”

Collins Jr is being trained by his uncle Pascal Collins and trains and spars in the Celtic warrior gym in Corduff, Dublin, Ireland. Here are his thoughts ahead of his pro debut:

“Training is going well. I’m training hard everyday, but I don’t get as much sparring as I’d like to get. Not because it’s hard, but because it’s tough to get in heavy guys who are cruiserweight or heavyweight,”

He added, “Stephen Ormond (an Irish pro boxer now campaigning at lightweight), and Gary O’Sullivan (the current WBO International middleweight champion), are always there to help me and offer me advice. They point out my many mistakes. I learn a lot from these guys. I’m always watching and observing them and trying to pick out certain things they do that will benefit the way I fight. I’m very lucky to have them around me all the time, because I have so much to learn.”

In rugby and in boxing, the individual is required to be dedicated and disciplined. To be successful, you have to possess a particular set of skills and a mental quality to separate yourself from the opposition. Collins Jr has played his part on the rugby pitch, contributing to his team’s success, but when he enters the boxing ring he is by himself. In the opposite corner is one man aiming to defeat him.

Collins Jr has trained and sparred hard, He’s taken in advice from many people ahead of his pro debut. On July 12 in Dundalk, he’ll be aiming to bring that all together to win and in the process catch the eye of those in attendance. He is well aware how tough it will be as a pro boxer, but he’s feeling very optimistic.

David Price is aiming for Revenge!

This was not supposed to happen! A rematch between David Price and Tony Thompson was not part of the plan!

There was much hype surrounding David Price ahead of his showdown with American Tony Thompson on February 23, 2012. The Liverpudlian was considered by many as Britain’s next heavyweight hope, a potential threat to the dominant Klitschko brothers due to his size and explosive one-punch knockout power.

The scene was set, with many at Liverpool’s Echo arena expecting another sensational knockout from the 6’9″ scouser. Thompson though did not read the script. He delivered a short right hand behind Price’s left ear which proved devastating. Price was sent crashing to the canvas. He rose to his feet, but his legs were like jelly and his mind was clouded. Referee Steve Gray called a halt to the contest. The thousands who were in attendance fell silent. They were in deep shock, as were the many who witnessed the fight from their homes. Thompson of course was ecstatic, but Price’s World title aspirations were left in tatters. The loss made people question Price’s chin. Has he a suspect chin, or was it a fluke shot? I will let you lot debate that amongst yourselves!

It is now a case of repeat or revenge, and Price of course is aiming to avenge the only loss of his professional career on July 6. The rematch takes place at the same venue as the first fight, Liverpool’s Echo arena. Price, now 15-0-1 with 13 KO’s, has been working with former undisputed World heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis for several weeks now. Not only has Lewis been offering words of advice to the 29-year-old, he has been working with him in the gym, fine-tuning certain areas to benefit Price for this fight and beyond. Price is lucky to have Lewis by his side. He is a legend in the boxing World, who himself had to bounce back from two defeats to recapture the World title.

Price knows that this is make or break for him. He is focused and determined to get back to winning ways. If he wins then he is back on that World title shot footpath. Thompson was considered a step up in class for the Liverpudlian last February, but it was a fight in which Price was expected to win. Price now knows that the 41-year-old is no easy pushover. If Price was to lose again, it would not only hurt him deep inside even more, it would question whether he has the tools required to reach that World level platform. Thompson upset the odds once before and he is capable of doing the same again. ‘The Tiger’ has plans of his own also. He challenged Wladimir Klitschko twice before for World titles and is on a mission to make it third time lucky if he gets the opportunity. Thompson is not taking Price lightly this time around, and he knows that he has to be 100% focused on the job in hand.

This is heavyweight boxing and anything can happen, just like the first fight proved. One punch can end a fight. Well, it is almost upon us now. Will we witness Tony Thompson repeat what he did in their first encounter, or will David Price gain revenge…

Gavin shows his class in win over Vassell!

ImageIt was unfortunate that one of these fighters had to lose their unbeaten record, but the fans were calling for this fight to be made. It was of course a fight that both fighters were interested in. They wanted to prove that they are the current best in Britain at 147lbs.

Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin (16-0-0, 12 KO’s), is now the British and Commonwealth welterweight champion after defeating Denton Vassell in 7 rounds. The 27-year-old Southpaw, who had claimed the British title last November, was just too sharp from the get-go. He was at his meticulous best and was able to find his rhythm from the 1st round. He boxed superbly from the outside and landed plenty of eye-catching shots throughout the contest. Gavin beat Vassell to the punch more often than not. It was a very good technical performance from the Brummie.

Vassell, now 20-1-0, 10 KO’s, claimed the Commonwealth title in 2010 and was aiming to claim the British title from Gavin. Many fans believed he’d be too strong for Gavin on the night. However, Vassell was just unable to find a way to deal with the talented Southpaw. The 28-year-old Lancastrian was the naturally bigger and arguably stronger fighter, but he couldn’t find a way in close to inflict damage that could have altered the outcome of the fight. Gavin was also able to tie Vassell up effectively when required.

The reason why the fight was stopped was due to Vassell having a suspected broken jaw. Gavin’s left hand was the main culprit of this. Who knows what would have happened if Vassell had not suffered the injury.

With all respect to Vassell, I believe this showed us that Gavin is a class above him. He’s now ready to move on to challenge for European honours. Once Vassell finds out the true extent of the injury, he will aim to bounce back stronger. One defeat does not mean the end of the road.