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!

ALVARADO-PROVODNIKOV – EXPECT BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS!

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On October 19, Denver hosts its first World title fight since September 2000 when “Mile High” Mike Alvarado aims to defend the interim WBO junior welterweight title in his hometown at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Denver, Colorado. Standing in his way of sealing victory on this special occasion is Russian, Ruslan Provodnikov, who dubs himself the “Siberian Rocky”.

Alvarado (34-1-0, 23 KO’s) versus Provodnikov (22-2-0, 15 KO’s), has all the ingredients to be an explosive encounter and it could be a serious contender for the 2013 fight of the year; we are just waiting to see whether it lives up to the hype that’s surrounding it.

Both fighters enter this fight after arguably their career best performances earlier this year, which were both brutal battles.

Alvarado, 33, avenged an October 2012 loss to Brandon Rios in March by defeating “Bam Bam” after 12 enthralling rounds to claim the belt he now possesses. Provodnikov, 29, inflicted a great deal of punishment upon Timothy Bradley during their WBO welterweight title fight, also in March, but despite pushing “Desert Storm” all the way (and knocking him down in the 12th round), the Russian lost a unanimous decision.

If a fighter employs the right tactics during a fight against a dangerous opponent (Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse and Timothy Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez being two recent examples), a fighter will reap the benefits.

To my eyes, Alvarado is technically more gifted than his Russian foe and if “Mile High” sticks to a gameplan he could well outbox Provodnikov over 12 rounds. Alvarado can also give it some when required and he may just test Provodnikov’s resolve at critical points during the fight.
But, those gruelling affairs Alvarado had with Rios may have taken their toll on him, leaving dinner served on a plate for the “Siberian Rocky” to devour. However, is Provodnikov as dangerous as the Bradley fight suggests, because if Alvarado does stick to his boxing will he come unstuck. The Russian is predominantly a slugger, but he may need to show us a bit more to his game on the night.

My Prediction:

For me, Provodnikov needs to stay as busy as possible throughout the contest, keeping the pressure on constantly and not allowing Alvarado to get into any sort of rhythm. Both fighters have shown they have tons of heart in previous fights, and I expect both to show a great deal of heart when they collide. This may come down who wants to win the most. I don’t expect either fighter to give in one bit, but I expect the Man with the right tactics to get the job done. It’s a tough fight to call, it really is, but I’m picking Alvarado to beat Provodnikov via unanimous decision.

A win here for either Alvarado or Provodnikov and their stock would rise, putting them in a better position to challenge the cream of the crop in the division.

CAMPBELL OVERWHELMS HEPPER IN ONE!

ImageHull’s, Luke Campbell MBE, made it back to back 1st round wins after he overwhelmed Darlington’s, Neil Hepper, in one round at London’s O2 arena on October 5.

Campbell, now 2(2)-0-0, made his pro debut in July in his home city of Hull and he made another statement at the O2 arena. He started a bit too eager early doors and was tagged a few times, but it did not take him long to find his range. Campbell, 26, landed a left hand to Hepper’s body which sent him down on to the canvas, but replays showed that although the shot landed both boxers feet became tangled. This caused Hepper to lose his balance and go over, but he was absolutely fine to continue after receiving a standing eight count.

Not long after that, Campbell landed a vicious right hand to Hepper’s temple which scrambled his senses. Campbell followed up with a venomous left hand to the solar plexus which took everything out of Hepper, causing him to hit the canvas in some distress. The Darlington man was unable to beat the count and the referee waved off the fight with 1:59 of the round having elapsed. With that defeat, Hepper slips to 5(0)-3-0.

Campbell most certainly has a vicious streak in him, but he also has great boxing ability and has now claimed two impressive 1st round victories. It’s to get carried away, but a dose of reality is needed. He blew away two opponents in no time at all, but you can’t help but be impressed. You can only beat what’s put in front of you and that was only his second pro fight. Campbell has shown great accuracy and gets full range on his punches. He has long arms and he’s got power in both hands. He gets in and out of range very well, but we saw him become a little too eager very early on and was clipped a few times. That’s no real problem, though, because it’s good for him to get hit. He’s able to dish it out but he needs to take a few too. He got the job done at the end of the day and there’s always things to work on back in the gym when you look back over a fight.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist looks a very switched on individual, highly confident and smart. He believes he is competing in the most exciting weight division (lightweight) in Britain, with plenty of good fighters out there for him to face over time. He’s taking it one fight at a time and learning as he goes.

Campbell wants to excite the fans and that’s exactly what he’s doing.

CRAWFORD CRUISES PAST KLIMOV!

ImageTerence “Bud” Crawford improved to 22(16)-0-0 on October 5, after dominating Russian, Andrey Klimov, over 10 rounds at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

Crawford, 26, demonstrated superior reflexes, hand speed and footwork from the off, countering Klimov with a variety of shots to head and body. It was a very relaxed and controlled start from Omaha native; the pace suited him as the 31-year-old Russian was unable to land anything of significance. During the 2nd round, Crawford switched to a southpaw stance, which was a clear sign of how confident he felt. Klimov, who was unbeaten going in to the fight, was reluctant to throw anything, but you could clearly see that he was struggling. Crawford still fought as a southpaw during the 4th, which his corner may have instructed him to do as that stance caused Klimov so many problems. “Bud” stepped it up a gear gradually and also stepped in with his punches more too. There was a bemused look on the Russian’s face as he went back to his corner after the 4th round had ended.

Klimov’s slow hands and feet were apparent and he wasn’t committing at all. A few fans were booing as you sensed they wanted more urgency from Crawford, but you got the impression that he did not want to take many risks. Crawford still controlled the contest throughout, though, claiming center ring and beating Klimov to the punch. The Russian was beginning to show signs of frustration. There was more intent coming from Crawford in the 7th, as he was going through the gears. His left hand landed to Klimov’s body often, which was a shot that hurt Klimov most. You got the sense that Crawford would get the job done, but he then seemed to take his foot off the gas late in the fight. Crawford coasted the final round and was awarded a comprehensive points decision, with all three judges’ scoring the contest in his favour 100-90. Klimov slipped to 16(8)-1-0 after this defeat.

Some critics say that Crawford may not have gained many fans after this performance, but to me he displayed sound technical boxing ability. He has many weapons in his armoury that will pose many fighters problems. He may not have learnt much (if anything), from facing Klimov, but it’s clear he needs to step up in class and face better opposition at lightweight. He is a very talented boxer.

If Crawford is to face WBO lightweight champion, Ricky Burns, in the near future, my money would be on Crawford to win. I hope that fight happens because it’s a very good matchup.

THE PRIDE OF PUERTO RICO, MIGUEL COTTO, RETURNS!

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MIGUEL COTTO, returns to the ring on October 5, which will see the Puerto Rican star take on Delvin Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic in a 12 round, non-title fight at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

Cotto 37(30)-4-0, is back with Top Rank Boxing, who initially managed his career. Cotto is now also under the tutelage of Freddie Roach and together they plan to rejuvenate the Puerto Rican’s career; starting with victory over a fighter who aims to wreck their plans.

Outside of the ring, Cotto, 32, is a humble, family man and inside of it he wears his heart on sleeve; a true warrior who we have watched give his all in many memorable fights over the years. He is a legend in many people’s eyes and he has an allegiance of fans all over the World.

This fight against Rodriguez is viewed as a big event, because of who Cotto is and because people are interested in seeing how the Puerto Rican performs. Many feel that Cotto is on the slide, but many feel that he has got something left in the tank.

Cotto has fought for major honours at light-welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight in every fight he has fought in since May 2004. He has had a stellar career and is a former three-weight World champion. He has beaten some big-name fighters in Paulie Malignaggi (UD 12), in ’06, Zab Judah (TKO 11), in ’07, Shane Mosley (UD 12), in ’07 and Antonio Margarito (RTD 9), in a rematch in 2011.

The Puerto Rican has four losses on his résumé too, which came against Antonio Margarito (TKO 11), in ’08, Manny Pacquiao (TKO 12), in ’09, Floyd Mayweather Jr (UD 12), in 2012 and Austin Trout (UD 12), also in 2012. As you can see, Cotto has only lost to fighters at the very top of the spectrum.

Rodriguez 28(16)-6-3, is aiming to spoil Cotto’s return and in the process make a name for himself. A win could ignite his own career. Timing is a word that pops up every so often in boxing; for Rodriguez, the timing of this fight could be perfect for him.

Unfortunately for Rodriguez, 33, he will never become a serious threat at the very top, but he is an honest, hardy competitor. He has lost to the likes of Jesse Feliciano (TKO 8), in ’07, Isaac Hlatshwayo (SD 12), in ’09, Rafal Jackiewicz (UD 12), in ’09, Ashley Theophane (MD 10), in 2010 and Austin Trout (UD 12) in 2012. Whenever Rodriguez has stepped up in class, he has come up short.

Prediction:

Now, this is not a prime Cotto coming into this fight, but on paper, he beats Rodriguez all day long. However, we know that fights are not won on paper.
Cotto is not a natural light middleweight (which I believe is the weight that this fight is being fought at), whilst Rodriguez is a natural 154lber.
In the past, Cotto has done very well against taller opponents and against opponents of Rodriguez’s calibre, so I expect Cotto to come at Rodriguez.

Rodriguez will need space to work, because if the fight is fought at close quarters that is Cotto’s territory.
I do not think Rodriguez has the power or skillset to really trouble Cotto, but again, this is not a prime Cotto we are talking about here.
I do think though that Cotto’s left hook will be a key weapon in this fight, so look for him to slip Rodriguez’s right hand when he throws it; landing left hooks to the body. If Cotto lands it at will, I can see him beating Rodriguez inside the distance.

The safe bet here is for Cotto to win via unanimous decision and that’s what I’m going for.

Cotto UD

The Prodigal Son Returns!

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HBO main event: Chavez Jr vs Vera

StubHub Center, Carson, California, USA – 10 rounds

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, returns to the ring this Saturday night after over a year out of action. The 27-year-old Mexican faces experienced journeyman, Brian Vera, in what should be an action-packed fight.

Chavez Jr (46-1-1, 32 KO’s), took on Argentinian, Sergio Martinez, last September attempting to defend his WBC middleweight title. We witnessed a dramatic and enthralling finale to that fight that will live long in the memory.
Dominated over 11 rounds, face bruised and bleeding from the nose, the Mexican somehow found a way to land a left hook followed by another in the 12th round to put Martinez down.
The Argentinian, though, managed to lift himself off the canvas; winning a lopsided unanimous decision to reclaim the WBC middleweight title.

Vera (23-6, 14 KO’s), has momentum going into this contest as he has fought twice this year and won; beating Ukranian, Serhiy Dzinziruk (TKO 7) and Lithuanian, Donatas Bondorovas (RTD 7).
The 31-year-old Texan is considered by many as a live underdog, due to his high-volume punching style and because he is not easily discouraged. He is a fighter that Chavez Jr should not be overlooking.

Before his fight with Martinez, Chavez Jr looked weight drained and it affected him during the fight. He has also had weight issues ahead of this fight, which was originally scheduled to be fought at the middleweight limit of 160lbs. It is now being fought at a catchweight of 173lbs. If Chavez Jr is rusty or his conditioning is not up to scratch against Vera, it could be a difficult night for the Mexican.

Prediction:

I think it will be a dangerous move for Vera if he decides to go toe-to-toe with Chavez Jr. I think Vera’s best shot at winning is to get in range, get his shots off quickly then get out of range; using lateral movement to keep Chavez Jr off-balance. Chavez Jr will walk forward and aim to cut the ring off, unloading power shots to the body in an attempt to draw Vera’s hands down so he can unload upstairs.

This is a 10 round contest so I think the safe bet is Chavez Jr to win on points, but I’m going for the Mexican to win by 7th round stoppage.

“Superman” looks to keep his momentum going!

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On June 8, 2013, it took Adonis “Superman” Stevenson just 76 seconds to announce himself on the World stage; landing a devastating left hand to rip the WBC light heavyweight title from “Bad” Chad Dawson’s clutches. This Saturday night, Stevenson aims to produce the goods once again as he attempts to keep the lineal championship with victory over Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud.

Stevenson, 21(18)-1-0, made his pro debut in 2006 at the age of 29. It was a late start in to boxing but he has most certainly made up for lost time. After 13 straight wins, Stevenson suffered the first and only loss of his career to date at the hands of journeyman Darnell Boone; who knocked Stevenson out in two rounds. “Superman” wiped the dust off his cape to record six straight wins inside the distance, with two of those wins coming by way of knockout. Stevenson then avenged the defeat to Boone in March earlier this year; crushing him in six rounds.

A move up from super middleweight to light heavyweight to face Dawson for the WBC 175lb title had some people questioning Stevenson’s ability to carry his power up the weights. The southpaw, though, went from relative obscurity to champion of the world in stunning fashion; proving that he really has dynamite in his left hand. That win sent shock waves through the light heavyweight division. The manner in which the 36-year-old native of Haiti beat the former WBC champ was frightening and impressive. Stevenson now faces Tavoris Cloud in only his second fight at light heavyweight.

Cloud, 24(19)1-0, claimed the vacant IBF 175lb strap back in 2009 after outworking a durable Clinton Woods over 12 absorbing rounds. Cloud retained the IBF belt twelve months later, seeing off the battle-hardened Glen Johnson with victory coming via unanimous decision. Just four months after beating Johnson, the 31-year-old Tallahassee, Florida-native, came up against Columbian knockout artist, Fulgencio Zuniga. The Columbian was down but not out on two occasions during the contest, but was able to hear the final bell. He was, however, well beaten on points.

Cloud successfully defended the IBF crown for the third time in June 2011, stopping Yusaf Mack in 8 rounds. In Cloud’s fourth defense, his opponent; Spaniard, Gabriel Campillo, was on the receiving end of a controversial points defeat. Many who had observed the action believed that Campillo should have been awarded the win.

Cloud and Jean Pascal were then pencilled in to face each other last August, but Pascal withdrew due to a hand injury. Bernard Hopkins stepped in and took on Cloud at a later date which came on March 9 earlier this year. Cloud really did meet his match on this occasion. Hopkins was far too crafty and sharp over the 12 rounds and he now has possession of the IBF light heavyweight title.

Adonis Stevenson-Tavoris Cloud has the makings to be an incredibly exciting matchup. Stevenson has now proven that he can bang at 175lbs. He has said that he wasn’t surprised that he knocked out Chad Dawson, because power is power and he’s a power puncher. Stevenson, though, may need to showcase his all-round skills on the night if the fight becomes a tactical affair.

Cloud has proven over the years that he has punching power too. It’ll be interesting to see how Stevenson’s chin holds up if Cloud lands clean. Cloud can also box and fights aggressively and he has a very good chin, but if Stevenson lands something concrete on the button Cloud may crumble.

Cloud has fought at a higher level to Stevenson, but boxing’s all about timing and Cloud may just come up against a fighter who has reached his peak.

“Superman” returns and he is intent on proving he is “The Man of Steel”; but “Thunder” could strike!

Saunders retains titles but pushed to the wire by Ryder!

Saturday 21 September 2013 – Copper Box Arena, Hackney Wick, London

saundersBilly Joe Saunders is still the holder of the British and Commonwealth middleweight belts, but only after being pushed to the wire by mandatory challenger, John Ryder!

At the start of the contest, both fighters took to the center of the ring working behind their jabs. With Ryder’s style, he’s not all that easy to hit clean, but Saunders had the edge in hand speed and he scored with shots and was slightly the more aggressive throughout the round. In the 2nd, both started fast and traded blows, but Saunders was again doing that little bit more and getting off first more often than not. Saunders edged the first two rounds on my scorecard, but in the 3rd, when a clinch occurred, it suited Ryder. He was able to get through Saunders’ guard with uppercuts and landed to the body. It was clear to me that Saunders preferred to establish distance between himself and Ryder, but when in close Ryder’s work was more telling. Ryder also slipped punches well and made the champion miss often. Both fighters were a bit more patient in the 4th, working behind their jabs, but Saunders was that bit busier again.

Ryder aimed to cut off the ring more in the 5th, not wanting to allow Saunders any space to work to get his shots off. However, he wasn’t throwing enough and Saunders was able to get out of trouble without shipping anything, keeping on his toes and getting off first with both hands. Saunders again kept on his toes early in the 6th, but Ryder landed a sharp uppercut when they clinched and planted some solid hooks when they exchanged.

You got the feeling that this was simmering nicely as it entered the second half of the fight.

Saunders was off first at the start of the 7th, as the tempo was slightly raised by both fighters. However, Saunders looked quite ragged with his mouth wide open and it looked like it could turn in to Ryder’s type of fight. In the 8th, though, Saunders used the ring and stuck to his boxing, getting off first with his punches. This was now becoming a very back and forth type of fight. Ryder was now in new territory, as he had never gone 9 rounds before in his career. He targeted Saunders’ body with left hands, but Saunders won the round on work rate. Ryder became an easier target to hit in the 10th, but I got the impression that both fighters were becoming increasingly tired and missing more. The 11th round witnessed a lot of clinching, but Ryder planted some nice hooks during the round to edge it. In the final round, Ryder was very aggressive and bullied Saunders, landing clean uppercuts. Saunders was very mobile throughout the entire fight and it was clear that he was exhausted. They both embraced after the final bell which was great to see. The three judges at ringside scored the contest 115-114, 115-113, 115-113 to Saunders.

Saunders, 24, improved to 19(10)-0-0 whilst Ryder, 25, slipped to 15(9)-1-0, with this the first loss of his career.

Despite Ryder winning the 12th round, and many rounds being tightly contested, my scorecard ended up 115-113 in favour of Saunders. I believe that there was no injustice about the decision and I believe the right fighter won. Would I like to see a rematch? Without a shadow of a doubt. Do I believe a rematch will happen? Unfortunately, no.

Saunders is now one win away from claiming the Lonsdale belt outright. Ryder can take heart from his performance and I have no doubt that he will be a British champion in the near future.

Mathews produces the goods once again!

Image‘Dirty’ Derry Mathews produced the goods once again at the Liverpool Olympia on September 21, stopping challenger, Curtis Woodhouse, in 4 rounds to retain the Commonwealth lightweight belt for the second time.

Woodhouse, 33, has come a long way since switching sports from football to boxing. He gave Frankie Gavin all he could handle over 12 rounds in 2011, and claimed the vacant English light welterweight title last year. He lost controversially in his first defense of that title, but, after impressing in two fights at lightweight, he was offered the opportunity to face Mathews for the Commonwealth strap. It was always going to be a tough assignment for Woodhouse, but he had every confidence in himself that he had the tools to upset the odds, Mathews, 29, being the vastly experienced, tough fighter he is, was as focused as ever going into this contest. He also has one punch knockout power, which proved evident on the night.

Woodhouse looked to box his way in close to Mathews early on, seeking openings to upload shots to the body. Mathews, though, started brightly, standing his ground and boxing exceptionally well behind a solid jab. He also picked his shots intelligently and accurately. The Liverpudlian looked the bigger man on fight night too, despite Woodhouse dropping down in weight. Mathews still looked sharp in the 2nd, commanding center ring and boxing very well, getting through with some crisp shots through Woodhouse’ guard. Woodhouse was clearly thinking in there though. To his credit, he has improved technically and that is down to his hard work and dedication. But, going into the 3rd, Mathews was in control of the contest.

Woodhouse upped the tempo in round 3, but Mathews would not allow him to drag the contest into his type of fight. Mathews kept to his boxing, taking center ring once more and boxing effectively. The Scouser was looking a level above the Yorkshireman. Again in the 4th, Woodhouse looked to box his way in close as he kept a high guard, aiming to get Mathews up against the ropes to work the body. However, Mathews was in no mood to give way and with 1:55 remaining of the round, he landed a left hook-right hand combo that sent ‘The Trollhunter’ on to his backside. Woodhouse rose to his feet, but his legs were gone and the fight was waved off.

Mathews once again demonstrated his punching power in stunning fashion. His record improves to 34(19)-8-2 with Woodhouse slipping to 19(13)-6-0. Many expected this fight to get drawn into a war, but Mathews would not allow it to. He displayed superior boxing ability, timing and power. Woodhouse himself can punch, but he just was not able to land anything of significance at all to get Mathews out of his rhythm.

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. 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. ‘The Gorilla’, which is Ryder’s alias, is the underdog going in to this fight. He 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. I believe he is getting stronger with each passing fight and I believe he is 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. 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!