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