While all eyes will most definitely be on the super-featherweight showdown between p4p superstar Vasyl Lomachenko and Jason Sosa this weekend in Oxon Hill, Maryland, another equally intriguing clash will take place on the undercard.
Fellow Ukrainian star Oleksandr Usyk will step out for only the 12th time in his professional career against fellow unbeaten prospect Michael Hunter.
Michael Hunter, a resident of Las Vegas, is going into just his 13th pro fight, so this is a true crossroads fight between two fighters looking to take that next step forward on the title trail.
Odds for this fight price Usyk as the clear favorite at -1400, with the comeback on Hunter priced at +700.
Oleksandr Usyk has been a force ever since his pro debut back in November, 2013. Picking up a title in only his 5th fight and a world title in only his 10th, he is a fighter who has looked almost as impressive as his more widely celebrated Ukrainian counterpart Vasyl Lomachenko in his rise through the pro ranks.
Two fights ago in only his 10th pro clash, Usyk travelled to face a hostile Gdansk crowd in Poland to fight local hero and then undefeated WBO champ, Krzysztof Glowacki. Glowacki, 26-0 at the time, had beaten long-reigning champion Marco Huck in the U.S. to win the WBO cruiserweight title and topped this off with a solid 1st defence against another former world champion in U.S.S. Steve Cunningham. Despite these credentials and fighting a boxer with just a 9-0 record in his home country, Glowacki entered the fight as a sizeable +175 underdog. Big things were obviously expected from Usyk and he delivered accordingly.
While both fighters split the early rounds with good two-way action, Usyk took command of the fight from round six onwards and despite a flash knockdown in the 12th, won a thoroughly deserved unanimous decision.
Michael Hunter on the other hand, despite sharing a strikingly similar record to Usyk, has walked a very different path so far in his career than that of his opponent.
A career-best win against Isiah Thomas was precluded by fighting a series of opponents with a combined record of just 101-65-8. In challenging a fighter in Oleksandr Usyk, Hunter is taking a serious step up in competition.
Hunter does not lack for talent however. He has a solid jab which he uses to set-up his powerful overhand right and is capable of ripping off fast combos to the head and body. When targets remain stationary Hunter’s combos look especially potent as he has good footwork and movement with which to outflank opponents. What Hunter does lack however is a good defence. He is often guilty of leaving his guard down way too low which opponents up to this point have been unable to take advantage of. Journeyman Jason Douglas rocked him with a series of hooks in a recent fight and this is an aspect of Hunter’s game that could trouble him significantly down the professional road.
In terms of Usyk, probably the most impressive aspect of his game is his ability to fight off both his back and front foot. Most fighters usually favor either one or the other, but Usyk looks equally comfortable fighting out of each. In addition to this he carries substantial power in both hands, stopping 10 of his 11 opponents inside the distance.
I can envision this fight likely ending sometime in the mid to late rounds. While Hunter does move well for a big man, he moves in generally straight lines only, both forward and laterally, and is happy just to tee off with his jab. This is something which Usyk, who uses multiple angles in both his offence and defence, should feast on. I believe Usyk will find an easy home for his hard hooks to the head and body by the mid-point of the fight and will easily be able to pivot away from Hunter to rip off some hard combinations. This in all likelihood will take their toll on the American later in the fight leading to a stoppage.
Take Oleksandr Usyk in this one.
Pick: Oleksandr Usyk by KO/TKO
Top Rank Boxing Returns To Tucson With Action Packed Championship Doubleheader
Top Rank Boxing returns to the valley of the sun, to Tucson to be exact with “Twice as Nice,” a world championship doubleheader and aired on ESPN.
The main event shall bring forth the long-awaited rematch between Miguel Berchelt (35-1, 31 KOs) and Francisco Vargas (25-1-2, 18 KOs) for the WBC World Super Featherweight Title. The first bout between these two Mexican warriors was an entertaining brawl with Berchelt taking it by 11th round K.O.
Emanuel Navarrete (26-1, 22 KOs) will once again trade leather against Isaac Dogboe (20-1, 14KOs) in the co-feature in defense of the WBO World Super Bantamweight title he beat away from Dogboe by unanimous 12-round decision.
Also featured on the loaded card will be welterweights Christopher Gonzalez vs. Judas Estrada in a rematch war. Last November, Tucson’s Gonzalez (3-0-1), went blow for blow against Nogales’ Judas Estrada (1-1-1) at Guerra De Gallos event. Their first bout ended in a four-round draw.
Middleweight prospect Emmanuel Guajardo (4-0) will look to once again entertain the Tucson fight fans. Last time out, Guajardo, won a unanimous decision over Daniel Garcia Flores.
Phoenix rising young star Carlos Castro (22-0, 9 KOs) will take on Ernesto Saulong (22-4-2, 9KO) in an 8-round super bantamweight bout.
Castro is coming in on a big win high after upsetting Genesis Servania (32-2, 15 KOs) in February, with that big win Castro captured the vacant WBC Continental Americas Super Bantamweight title.
And many more bouts to be featured. Come on out and bring out the family and friends and enjoy the show.
The May 11 card is promoted by Top Rank, in association with Peltz Boxing Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions. Tickets are priced at $102, $77, $52 and $27. They can be purchased at any Ticketmaster outlet, online at www.Ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 745-3000, or at the Tucson Convention Center ticket office. Doors to the Tucson Arena shall open at 2:30, with the first bell ringing at 3:30.
Canelo Alvarez/Daniel Jacobs Prediction
Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2-34KO’s) vs. Daniel Jacobs (35-2-29KO’s) for the middleweight unification title on May 4th– It’s no secret that Jacobs is the longer fighter with the longer reach. So if I am Jacobs, I would double and triple my jab and press forward to force Canelo to box off of his back foot.
Canelo on the other hand will need to also employ his jab but must look to use a stabbing jab at the pit of Jacobs’ mid-section and mix in a consistent body attack.
Jacobs will also need to be alert at the time on the clock and keep firing when Canelo is not working. In short, Jacobs must look to outwork and at times handcuff Canelo to cause frustration.
I am expecting to see a shootout and very competitive close rounds, but Canelo with his smooth combination power punching will eventually create separation and show the difference between an elite and a very good fighter.
Give me Canelo by unanimous decision in a 8 to 4 or 7 rounds to 5 type of close fight. Canelo at times may have to bite down and punch with Jacobs to walk Jacobs into a heavy right cross. I just feel that Canelo’s better counter and body punching will be the key and in turn will land the harder shots.
Crawford/Khan & Garcia/Granados Prediction
Bud Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) VS. Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs)- First of all, I love Khans bravery, the kid is always willing to lock horns with anybody. Thing is that bravery and overconfidence is what has always hurt Khan in his battles.
Khan is the type of boxer that is so fast that he will always outbox you right until the second that he doesn’t anymore, I know, I know sounds strange. What I mean by that is that Khan builds up leads but then he get overzealous and so comfortable with his blinding hand speed that he then leads with his chin.
So with that being said, I am expecting to see Khan outbox Bud early and will beat Bud to the punch enough to take the majority of the first 6 rounds.
Bud will then pick his spots by switching to a southpaw stance and will time an overconfident Khan jumping in and will walk him into a big right hand. Bud’s body punching and ability to land his own jab over Khan’s rapid jab will be key.
Give me Bud to take it by 9th round TKO. Bud will step it up another level and put it on Khan so bad that he will stop Khan late forcing Khan’s corner to wave it off in round 9.
Danny Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) VS. Adrien Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs)- I am expecting for Granados to be exactly who he is, so I see Granados pressuring Garcia enough to make it uncomfortable enough to dog Garcia out to bag in a handful of rounds.
Garcia must employ his heavy underrated jab to box Granados from the outside. Granados will need rough up Garcia as much as possible to keep the fight on the inside, similar to the Porter blueprint.
I see Garcia landing enough jabs and the harder judge friendly punches to take it in a 8 rounds to 4 unanimous decision that may appear closer due to a few hard to score rounds.
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