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”Ā 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 starĀ 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.

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!

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.

Slick Saunders ready to battle a forcible foe in Ryder!

ImageBilly Joe Saunders (18-0-0, 10 KO’s), makes his second defense of the BBBofC British middleweight title and fifth defense of his Commonwealth middleweight title on September 21, when he faces mandatory challenger, John Ryder (15-0-0, 9 KO’s), at the Copper Box Arena, Hackney Wick, London.

Saunders, 24, and Ryder, 25, headline a stacked show at the Copper Box this Saturday. This matchup pits together two unbeaten British talents who are each at a particular juncture in their careers, but who are aiming to prove that they are the cream of the crop in the British middleweight division.

As mentioned, Saunders, a 2008 Olympian, is aiming to defend the British strap for a second time which he first claimed in December 2012, seeing off Nick Blackwell in what proved to be a difficult assignment over 12 rounds. The Hatfield pro also has his sights set on becoming the first boxer from the traveller community to win a British Lonsdale belt outright.Ā Islington’s Ryder missed out on fighting for the Southern Area and English middleweight titles, so his dream of fighting for the British title has now become a reality.Ā ‘The Gorilla’, which is Ryder’s alias, is the underdog going in to this fight. HeĀ has won 9 of his 15 pro fights inside the distance and will be aiming to get stuck in to Saunders as soon as the bell sounds for the first round. Ryder’s best win to date came in December 2012 when he defeated Northern Ireland’s, Eamonn O’Kane, via stoppage in the 8th round. That fight was billed as a British middleweight title eliminator.

Many people are picking Saunders to claim a routine points victory over Ryder. Saunders is a class act who can box on the back foot extremely well and on the front foot too. He also has good power, but it has been noted that he has suffered with hand injuries in the past. Saunders hasn’t stopped an opponent since September 2009, (Jarrod Fletcher), but don’t let this fool you. Saunders has exceptional timing and he is more than capable of hurting whoever he faces with a well timed shot.

Ryder is a come forward pressure fighter, who uses a lot of head movement. He is a thinking fighter too and does not always go looking for the knockout.Ā I believe he is getting stronger with each passing fight and I believe he isĀ being somewhat underestimated ahead of this showdown. The majority of fans and experts believe that he has his work cut out in getting the better of Saunders.Ā Some say this title shot has come a little too early for Ryder, but if the opportunity to fight for a major title comes knocking on your door, you welcome it with both hands.

Saunders is widely recognized on the British scene whereas Ryder is aiming to make a name for himself. A win here for Ryder will do his career wonders. A defeat for Saunders would be a major setback. Big things are expected of Saunders. All the pressure is on him to perform and it’s up to Ryder to show us what he has in his locker.

I expect Saunders to use plenty of movement, to pepper Ryder with his jab and to select his shots intelligently. Ryder has got to cut off the ring and make Saunders work. If he’s able to cut the ring off then he can target Saunders’ body to slow him down.

The smart money is on Saunders to win this fight via unanimous decision, but I believe Ryder has what it takes to cause an upset!

BARKER CONFIDENT HE CAN DEAL WITH GEALE, BUT THE AUSSIE SHOULD NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED!

ImageThe boxing season returns on August 17 as Britain’s, Darren “Dazzling” Barker, challenges Australia’s, Daniel “Real Deal” Geale, for the IBF middleweight title. The pair are set to clash at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Barker and Geale have been on a collision course since 2002 when they both won Gold medals at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, albeit in different weight classes. They both have solid amateur backgrounds and World-class experience as pros and are at a point in their careers where a win on August 17 would set them up for more big fights on the World stage. They understand what a win would do for their career and how a loss would affect them. They each have tons of heart and a desire to succeed, which will make this fight very exciting and the occasion overall very special.

Barker (25-1-0, 16 KO’s), is aiming to dethrone Geale who claimed the IBF 160lb strap back in May 2011. Of course, Barker has fought on the World stage once before, when he challenged Argentina’s, Sergio Martinez, for the WBC ‘Diamond’ middleweight title in October 2011. Barker was knocked down and counted out during the 11th round of that title fight, but only after providing plenty of problems for Martinez. There was no shame in losing to the Argentine. who, at 38 years of age, is still widely regarded as the King of the middleweight division. Since that loss, Barker has been in fine form, beating Welshman, Kerry Hope, in four rounds and Italian, Simone Rotolo, in four rounds also.

If “Dazzling” Darren is successful and defeats Geale, he will join four other British fighters (Randy Turpin, Alan Minter, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank), who have each claimed a World middleweight title.

It would be an amazing achievement and a special story for Barker if he was to beat the Australian. Now, at the age of 31, Barker has had to battle through the kind of injuries and devastating setbacks that would have broken lesser men. Mentally, the Barnet man is in a very good place and is extremely focused ahead of his big night. Barker is dedicating this fight to his Brother, Gary Barker (R.I.P), who he tragically lost seven years ago. This is a fight that he is ready to give his absolute all for in order to win and it would mean everything to him and his family if he came out victorious.

Geale (29-1-0, 15 KO’s), claimed the IBF middleweight title after beating Germany’s, Sebastian Sylvester, in 2011. After two successful defenses of the belt, he added the WBA ‘Super’ World title in September 2012, when he beat another German, Felix Sturm. In his last outing in January, Geale fought fellow Countryman, Anthony Mundine, to claim the IBF belt for a fifth successive time. Geale’s one and only defeat as a pro was against Mundine back in 2009, so it was a case of sweet revenge.

At 32 years of age, Geale is still very ambitious and has many more goals he wants to achieve. He is confident in his own ability, but he knows what he is up against when he faces a hungry Darren Barker on August 17. Geale is certainly not looking past Barker, but he does feel that he is being underestimated by many critics and fans. Let us not forget that Geale traveled to Germany on those two occasions when he beat Sylvester and Sturm, so he knows what it takes to win on foreign soil. Geale believes Barker is going to provide a stern test, but this is what he wants – he wants to be pushed hard.

This is a real pick-em sort of fight and it will certainly come down to who wants it the most that will win. With their styles, I am expecting fireworks, but the first round or two may be a bit cagey. It is tough to make a prediction for this, but my head says Geale and my heart says Barker.

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-volumeĀ 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.Ā 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,Ā 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.

GOLOVKIN IS THE REAL DEAL!

ImageKazakhstan’s Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin remains the WBA World and IBO middleweight champion after producing a composed, educated and calculating performance against Matthew Macklin in Connecticut on June 29. The way in which ‘GGG’ finished off Macklin was simply stunning to behold!

Golovkin, 31, now moves to 27(24)-0-0. He was punch-perfect throughout the contest against Macklin. He landed a precise left hook to the body midway through the 3rd round which sent Macklin crashing to the canvas. The Anglo-Irish fighter was clearly in some pain and discomfort. Macklin could not recover and get to his feet. Referee Eddie Cotton counted him out and stopped the fight with 1:22 of the 3rd round having elapsed.

‘GGG’ was making some noise before he fought Macklin, but many people did not class him as a legitimate threat. They felt that he had not beaten anyone of significance to justify the ‘hype’. He had won his last 13 fights by stoppage or knockout, which included devastating wins over Grzegorz Proska (TKO 5), Gabriel Rosado (TKO 7), and Nobuhiro Ishida (KO 3). Those were solid wins in their own right, but now, after demolishing Macklin in 3 rounds, he has silenced the critics…for now.Ā Macklin was seen as a worthy challenger who would test Golovkin and ask some questions of him. However, this proved to be not the case. After disposing of Macklin so effortlessly, he made a big statement. No matter what you think of Macklin as an all-round fighter, nobody has beaten him in such devastating fashion. This was the third time that Macklin had come up short in a bid to become a World champion.

Is Golovkin the best middleweight in the World? It’s arguable that he is, but many people want to see him fight Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez, who currently claims the #1 spot at 160. That’s a fight that must happen and I’d pick Golovkin right now to beat Martinez. The timing’s perfect for it to happen in Golovkin’s case, because Martinez is on the slide. ‘Maravilla’ has an awkward style to cope with but Golovkin’s all wrong for him in my opinion. Would Martinez want any of ‘GGG’? That remains to be seen. Golovkin’s power is definitely up there on the P4P list in my opinion, and I’m confident he’ll be a contender for the P4P throne once Floyd Mayweather Jr retires.

So what next for Golovkin? Well, as mentioned, a potential huge fight against WBC champ Martinez at 160 could be made. Golovkin-Julio Chavez Jr could also happen. Chavez Jr is a big guy who boils down to fight at 160. He can take some solid shots and he gave Martinez a fright when they met in 2012. It would be interesting to see how Golovkin fairs against him. Could Golovkin become the first Man to stop or knockout Chavez Jr? That would be a massive statement! Golovkin could move down to 154 and fight Saul Alvarez, or at 160 if Alvarez decides to move up. Golovkin may decide to move up to 168 and fight the likes of Carl Froch and Andre Ward. Those two opponents would provide a stern challenge and they would most certainly fancy their chances of beating Golovkin.Ā There are many options for ‘GGG’ and it’s the perfect time to put him in some big fights.

What impresses me the most is the way Golovkin goes about his work. He’s smart, assured and clinical. He’s nice and loose and fluid too and he doesn’t like to rush his work. He’s great to watch and I’m positive we’ll see much more from him in the future.