Who’s the man at Jr. Welterweight?
28.08.07 - By Craig Mastendri: With Ricky Hatton 43-0 31 KO’s moving up and facing Floyd Mayweather Jr. 38-0 24 KO’s in a highly regarded and widely anticipated mega showdown on December 08, 2007 at Welterweight, the championship picture at Jr. Welterweight is again uncertain! Whether or not, Hatton will return to 140 isn’t clear. It could well be six months to a year before that might happen, thus leaving the door open for someone to separate himself from the pack.
Article posted on 28.08.2007
The money available, magnitude of the opponent, and outcome of the Mayweather Jr. fight are the key elements in determining what will happen after that point. It is the task of the titlelists remaining, to become the Champion to beat, during that period. Thus generating the attention and interest necessary to earn a shot at Hatton or capture the limelight for themselves.
The best way to accomplish that is by squaring off against each other and taking the lead position atop the division. With the sudden trend in quality matchmaking that’s been taking place in the sport? It may be likely to happen. Here, we’ll preview the upcoming title fights and take a look at the players vying for that recognition.
There are two matchups, Torres vs Holt this Saturday 09/01, and Witter vs Harris on Saturday 09/07, that will determine the WBO and WBC title holders. These fights are seemingly under rated and under appreciated as neither event is being televised by American networks, despite being competitive and quality matchups. We’ll break down these fights on style, power, chin, stamina, and quality of opposition. I’ll also give my prediction on the outcomes
This week in Barranquilla, Colombia, Ricardo Torres- 27 years old, 5’8” tall, with a record of 31-1 27 KO’s, defends his title versus Kendall Holt- 26 years old, 5’9” tall, with a record of 22-1 12 KO’s, in a battle for the WBO Jr. Welterweight Championship.
Torres is an orthodox, aggressive, boxer-puncher, who prefers to bob and weave, and block shots with his guard from a defensive standpoint. His offensive game is that of a counter-puncher, who prefers to work on the inside with sweeping hooks, uppercuts and short power shots. He’ll look to get inside bang, counter, and press Holt to open up.
Holt is also an orthodox, boxer-puncher, who is more of a technician than Torres. He uses his jab more, to position his opponent, and set up his straight right hand, left hook combinations. He tends to “fight tall”, with less bobbing and weaving, and has gained more control in picking his shots and smashing line drives through window’s of opportunity.
Torres - 27 KO’s in 32 fights equals a KO Ratio of 84.38%. He hasn’t looked the part of tremendous power puncher in his last two fights, both going the distance. However, he clearly does have power and it’s his biggest asset.
Holt – 12 KO’s in 23 fights equals a KO Ratio of 52.17%. Kendall has decent pop on his punches and has scored knockdowns of Isaac Hlatshwayo and David Diaz. His last four fights have gone the distance.
Torres- He was broken down by the vicious body and head attack of Miguel Cotto and knocked down four times before failing to rise in the seventh round of that encounter. Torres has been down against Mike Arnaoutis, Miguel Cotto, and Ignacio Solar.
Holt- The KO loss was by a headshot from Thomas Davis in the first round. Holt had Davis hurt and was dominating him for almost the entire round. He got caught with a countering shot with just second’s left in the round. Holt got up, but the referee stopped the contest. Holt has been down against Jaime Rangel, David Diaz, and Thomas Davis.
Both have a knockout loss and both know how to get off the canvas and win when they have too.
Holt- He has gone the 12 round distance 3 times and his style and economic punch output allow him to maintain a consistent pace.
Torres- He has gone the 12 round distance twice. He appeared to be spent at the end of his fight with Arnaoutis.
Quality of Opposition
Torres- The total combined record of his opposition in 32 fights is 169-169-7. The most notable opponents are Arturo Morua, Mike Arnaoutis, and Miguel Cotto.
Holt- The total combined record of his opposition in 23 fights is 209-140-21. His most notable opponents are Mike Arnaoutis, Isaac Hlatshwayo, Jaime Rangel, and David Diaz.
The only common opponent is MikeArnaoutis. Holt won a Unanimous Decision in rather dominant fashion. Torres won a Split Decision, which many felt was an inaccurate outcome, and was knocked down in that fight. Despite Torres facing Miguel Cotto, Holt’s opposition has a better overall record and a higher number of quality caliber opponents.
Prediction- By utilizing his superior technique and style, Holt should get the world title he’s been searching for. Torres will be dangerous from the opening bell until the final bell. Thus, requiring Holt to be sharp the entire fight. There are times Holt squares up after throwing his right hand and can be vulnerable to being countered. It usually happens when he gets overly aggressive and presses too hard. Look for a disciplined, determined, and on point Holt, to win on points in what should be a back and forth affair early on.
The bout on September 7, 2007 at the Dome at Doncaster Lakeside, in Yorkshire between the current champion Junior ”The Hitter” Witter- 33 years old, 5’7” tall with a record of 35-1-2 20 KO’s versus “Vicious” Vivian Harris- 29 years old, 5’11” tall with a record of 28-2-1 18 KO’s is a battle for the WBC Jr. Welterweight Championship which should be a very intriguing and tactical match.
Witter- The stance listed is orthodox, but Witter is truly a switch hitter. He will switch up his stance throughout the fight in an effort to use every angle and available opening he can, to land cleanly. I can’t think of anyone who’s currently more effective with this style. He’s a slick and quick technician and his approach makes him an unorthodox opponent. He must find his way inside and keep Harris off balance, if he is going to give his hometown fans the win they crave.
Harris- He is the consummate orthodox technician. Long and lean who uses his jab and can punch and counter even when going backwards. He uses his height very well and can box masterfully at a distance. Consistency and patience will be key in dealing with all of the different looks that are assured versus Witter. Keeping the right distance and not smothering his punches will increase the likelihood of success. Paving the way, for the bigger payday’s, and opportunities that the “Vicious” one seeks.
Witter- 20 KO’s in 38 fights is a KO ratio of 52.63%. Witter’s best shots are his hooks, which are increased in effectiveness as he switches stance and catches the opponent not set to take the shot. Witter has 1 KO in his last 5 fights.
Harris- 18 KO’s in 31 fights is a KO ratio of 58.06%. Harris gets good leverage especially with the right hand, as he has broad shoulders and long arms. Harris has 2 KO’s in his last 5 fights.
Witter- His only professional loss came by decision against Zab Judah. When confronted with similar power to Harris’s against Judah? Witter stayed away and was roundly criticized for the performance. Perhaps his whiskers have yet to be really tested, but that’s due to his style. If he gets caught while switching his stance? We’ll find out just how good his chin really is against Harris.
Harris- The KO loss to Maussa showed a mental collapse, more so than a weak chin. 18 of Maussa’s 20 victories were by KO, and that illustrates those awkward looping shots do have pop. Once hurt, Harris just seemed to melt down, and couldn’t manage to survive. Forcing Harris into that same type emotional quicksand is Witter’s goal.
Witter- The 12 round distance has been reached 5 times, losing once to Judah. He generally shows good stamina. Witter’s best chance at winning will rely on that stamina in the later rounds. Witter has expressed respect for Harris’s ability and has been extremely dedicated in preparation for this bout. Turning up the intensity is a must to out work, out think, and slip his much taller opponent into geometric frustration.
Harris- He has reached the 12 round distance 5 times and won all 5. Harris has become more patient with his attack, focusing on winning rounds, rather than wasting himself being overly aggressive. Realizing the importance of victory in this fight, he will undoubtedly be physically well prepared. Staying poised but relaxed mentally is the key for him in this regard.
Quality of Opposition
Witter- The total combined record of his opposition in 38 fights is 608-403-45. The most notable names being, Demarcus Corley, Lovemore N’dou, and Zab Judah.
Harris-The total combined record pf his opposition in 31 fights is 537-174-23. The most notable names include Juan Lazcano, Stevie Johnston, Carlos Maussa, Oktay Urkal, Souleymane M’Baye, Diobley’s Hurtado, Ivan Robinson, and Ray Oliveira.
Advantage – Harris
Prediction-Due to the better quality of opposition, the height and reach advantage, and better power of Harris I expect him to pull out the decision over Witter, in what should be a good scrap. Witter’s hope is that he can use his awkward style to get inside and work effectively. Both men will give tremendous effort but as long as Harris stay’s within himself? He’s likely to prove to be too difficult a puzzle for Witter to solve.
Rounding out the Title picture are:
IBF Champion Paulie Malignaggi. He is 26 years old, 5’8.5” tall, with a record of 23-1 5KO’s. Malignaggi is another very slick technician who uses a beautiful jab and is well known for the heart and toughness displayed in taking a vicious beating. He compensates for his lack of right hand power with excellent ring generalship, hand speed, and smooth mobility.
WBA Champion Gavin Rees 27 years old, 5’3” tall, with a record of 27-0 13 KO’s who has a tentative fight date of 11/3/2007, with no opponent named yet. Reese is something of a lesser-known commodity that jumped into the picture with a tireless and determined 12 round effort over Souleymane M’Baye to capture the WBA belt. It was a lack luster showing by M’Baye, yet Rees was able to get inside and flurry with combinations out pointing his opponent.
Malignaggi has called out Hatton, Witter has been calling out Hatton for years, and Harris had fallen out of a fight with Hatton over financial issues. It would be very interesting to see Malignaggi fight the winner of Witter vs Harris, especially, if Harris beats Witter! Both are New York based fighters and that would certainly pack Madison Square Garden and make for a solid HBO type card. Regardless of the opponent, that fight can be seen as an eliminator to face Ricky Hatton, should he return to 140 after Mayweather.
If Hatton doesn’t immediately return to the division? That winner would still have two belts and could attempt to possibly unify against the Rees vs ? 11/03/2007 WBA winner, or face the Torres vs Holt WBO winner. Let’s hope the electric atmosphere of the fourth quarter of 2007 extravaganza continues!!! There are some intriguing fights to be made which can keep the fans buzzing at 140 and 147!
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