Four Intriguing Heavyweight Fights For The Coming Months: Briggs/Ibragimov, McCall/Sam, Brewster/Klitschko & Peter/Maskaev
26.05.07 - By James Slater: The heavyweight division has had more than its share of switches and changes over the last couple of years or so. Indeed, there have been more comings and going atop the big guy’s weight class just lately than there have been unfulfilled Frank Warren world title fight promises for the British heavyweight trio that is Matt Skelton, Danny Wiliams and Michael Sprott. No sooner, it seems, does a guy win a big fight/title, he loses after only a couple of defences or none at all.
Article posted on 26.05.2007
Lamon Brewster looked like a guy who might hang around as a champ for a while. Instead, he shocked both Wladimir Klitschko and the odds in a war of a fight, but then lost, after a reign of two years, to Sergei Liakhovich. “The White Wolf,” a fighter some then felt might be the guy to dominate the division, instead went and lost to the thirty-five year old Shannon Briggs in his next bout. And Briggs, according to the odds maker’s, is sure to lose his WBO belt in HIS first defence, against Sultan Ibragimov. Who is out there to bring stability to this weight class?
Wladimir Klitschko is seen as the man most capable by experts in general. But he just may lose his IBF championship, after having made only two successful retentions of it, in his next fight, the rematch with Brewster. And as for Sam Peter, though most think he will KO Oleg Maskaev in quick time, he has been beaten by “Dr. Iron Fist,” and would likely be defeated again should they have a return. And finally, “The Beast From The East,” in giant Nicolay Valuev, lost both his title and unbeaten record last time out versus Ruslan Chagaev. Yes, the heavyweight division is wide open right now, folks.
With all that said, let’s look ahead at some of the most intriguing match-ups amongst the big guys, and the possibility of which man may emerge as the best by the end of 2007.
First up, on June 2nd, we have the aforementioned Briggs-Ibragimov clash in Atlantic City, N.J. Shannon revived his career with the last round, out-of-the-ring KO of Liakhovich last November, yet most expect to see him lose to the unbeaten Russian. There is a lot on the line for Briggs, that’s for certain. Should he indeed lose, his career, at least at top level, would be over. I don’t think he will lose. Expect to see “The Cannon” jump right on the man who went life and death with Ray Austin, in an effort to put him on the canvas. After he is successful in his attempts, look for the thirty-five year old to make sure the man he calls “Iggy” remains where he put him, on the mat. Sorry, Oscar, but Sultan Ibragimov is no more the future of the heavyweight division than I am.
PREDICTION: Briggs KO 3.
Moving on, we then have a fight that will get nowhere near as much attention, yet its winner just might give us a future world champion. Former WBC champ Oliver McCall meets the tough, never stopped, German born, Sinan Samil Sam on June 16th. In a bout that will contest the WBC international title, McCall, now forty-two, will be one win away from a likely shot at the world title of the same organization. I expect a good, hard battle in the fight that will be held in Turkey. Both men come to fight, have excellent chins and are not fancy footwork kind of guys. In other words, expect a middle-of-the-ring war. “The Atomic Bull” may be the older man by a decade, but he has maintained good conditioning and thunderous punching power. Sam will more than likely stand up to whatever McCall can throw, however. I expect to see a fight that will go to the limit, and, with no ultra-strong conviction, I see Oliver getting a hard earned points verdict after he reaches the final bell. The fight is held in Samil Sam country, though, so if it’s close there is a good chance Oliver will be going home disappointed.
PREDICTION: McCall W12.
In July, we have the fascinating Klitschko-Brewster rematch. This is a very tough fight to call. There are so many questions. Like, will Brewster’s head and jaw be able to withstand the punishment it did the last time he met the man with the steel hammer? Will the inactivity and retina problems that Lamon has endured affect him greatly? Will He fight an entirely different fight from the last one. And will Brewster simply have the mental edge over the man he has already KO’d? As for Klitschko, will he run out of gas/suffer a panic attack once he’s hit his toughest opponent with everything he has? Will he box with incredible/boring caution instead? Does he fear Lamon Brewster? And finally, was there something wrong with him in fight one? According to the conspiracy theorists Wladimir was the victim of underhanded tactics that somehow involved the tampering with his blood sugar levels. There is no way, they say, that Wladimir would’ve so suddenly collapsed in a fight he was dominating if nothing had been wrong with him. Wladimr himself, claimed all sorts of things were the reason for his loss - the overused amount of Vaseline on his legs, for example. I think another brutal fight will ensue on July 7th. If Brewster can take the punishment he was able to last time, and if Klitschko gets tired as he did in fight number one, a similar result can be expected. Those are two pretty big ifs as far as Lamon Brewster is concerned, however. There are just so many questions surrounding this one. As a result, I have to sit on the fence here. Still, if someone pushed me off the fence, I think I’d fall on Wladimir Klitschko’s side.
PREDICTION: Klitschko TKO 9.
And last but not least, we have the Peter-Maskaev fight (tentatively) set for September 29th. Most see this as a straightforward blow-out for “The Nigerian Nightmare,” a fight in which Peter finally becomes world champion. I’m not so sure now, though. Firstly, Peter’s wins over James Toney must be put into perspective. “Lights Out,” reportedly looked awful the other night, against the unheralded Danny Batchelder. Therefore Peter looking great against James might not mean too much. Was Toney pretty much done by the time he met Samuel for the rematch, and therefore the ‘vast improvement’ we saw in the twenty-six year old was nothing of the kind, and was actually nothing more than J.T’s all too obvious decline as a fighter? It’s possible, even likely. And Maskaev has been an under dog time and time again, he is used to it. Yet he is a good fighter, one who is more than capable of taking the odds and shredding them. Don’t be too surprised if he does so again in the fight with Peter. The fight may not be the formality many, not least Peter himself, think it will be. PREDICTION: Makaev W12.
FINAL PREDICTION: Wladimir Klitschko will emerge as the universally recognised best heavyweight at the end of the year.
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