Khan/Malignaggi, Campbell/Ortiz: Keys to Victory, Four to Explore, Official Predictions
By Vivek Wallace:A week ago the world of boxing watched closely as two of the sports rising stars took center-stage, anxious to prove their worth to a fan base that isn't always easy to please. By the end of the night, the lesson they learned paralleled one many investigators learn on a daily basis. That lesson? Inconclusive proof yields inconclusive results. An unlikely stoppage prevented their efforts to separate themselves as contenders from the pretenders, but none-the-less, several questions remain..
Article posted on 14.05.2010
Tomorrow night, the sport will up the ante a few notches by doubling the pleasure, placing four men, rather than two, in this very same scenario. For these four contenders, the road to this stage has been quite different, yet at this precise moment in time, the destination they all hope to reach are one in the same. In an effort to narrow things down, we take a look at a few "keys to victory", four critical elements to explore, and in the end, "official predictions":
Amir Khan (Keys To Victory)
For Amir Khan, this fight will be completely mental. It started that way during the promotion of it, and if he isn't careful, it could end that way in the ring. Generally, speed and power are enough to solidify a victory, but considering the huge differential in experience, (95 rounds boxed to Malignaggi's 228), you have to wonder how easy it'll for him to truly utilize those attributes. Khan's durability was greatly questioned after his loss to Prescott, but since then, he has shown great improvement. That durability will be tested more Saturday night than perhaps ever before as he will be in the ring with a man who is not only fast, but very skilled at grouping his shots on an opponent. None of Khan's past opponents had comparable speed, and none were as difficult to hit. How Khan adapts to a fast and shifty target that strikes back will greatly impact his odds of winning. Malignaggi will have his moments, but if Khan can weather the storm and avoid great damage himself, he has a very good shot at winning this fight.
Paul Malignaggi (Keys To Victory)
For Paul Malignaggi, this could be an easier when than many forecast. Working with Freddie Roach has been a tremendous help to Khan, but aside from a little between rounds tutoring, Khan has to execute when the live fire's coming down range. Taking part in an American debut in his opponent's backyard certainly won't help. Bredis Presscott achieved his success against Khan by an early attack that never let up. Malignaggi doesn't possess the same level of power, but if he had enough to buckle the knees of Juan Diaz on multiple occasions, he can definitely stun Khan if he catches him off guard a few times. If Paul can pressure Khan and keep him going backwards, Khan's American may not go down as a very good one.
Nate Campbell (Keys To Victory)
For Campbell, this fight will come down to consistency. Despite being one of the few unified champions in recent times, Campbell still has yet to earn the respect of fight fans across the board. Much of that has to do with the fact that some fight fans simply don't know which Campbell will show up? In order to get the nod, Campbell will need to be nothing short of what we saw in his gutsy performances against both Diaz and Funeka, where he overcame personal and professional strife to get it all right! Against a speedy power puncher like Ortiz, Campbell can expect to take a few shots. The key will be how he handles them. Against Diaz, he fed on that energy and used it against his opponent. Against Ortiz, his ability to repeat that task will come at a premium. If Campbell can land powershots and soften Ortiz up early, his night should go his way with little delay.
Victor Ortiz: (Keys To Victory)
The major question in this Campbell/Ortiz showdown ponders "which Campbell will show up"? Knowing a loss would be a significant setback to his career, my money says we'll see the best Campbell we've seen in a while. To get a win, Ortiz will have to realize this much coming in. Ortiz will need to come out sharp and use good footwork, speed, and his power to control the action early. Campbell takes a bit to warm up, but if he's landing early, his level of confidence can start to grow by the second. For Ortiz, this could be the beginning of the end. He will need to make sure that Campbell doesn't gain that confidence, and stay aggressive on him from the opening bell. Although a bit slippery at times, Campbell isn't exactly viewed as a defensive genius. Ortiz will need to penetrate his armor even more by taking the fight to him, and be prepared if a true dogfight actually breaks out.
FOUR TO EXPLORE
Is Good Enough?: Paulie Malignaggi takes much slack for his limited power and his showboating, but when you get beyond that sequence, the reality is that of his 3 professional losses, one saw him get robbed (Diaz I), another was against perennial contender Ricky Hatton, and the final one was against Miguel Cotto, who had yet to lose himself. Khan hasn't faced anywhere near this level of opposition, but by winning, he could join what stands as a fairly elite group. Many feel at this stage that he has the 'goods'....but on this stage, we'll need to find out whether or not those 'goods' are quite good enough?
The 'Omen': Paul Malignaggi wasn't always the slippery defensive wizard we see now days. His style has evolved a bit lately due to the job performed by his new trainer, Sherif Younan. The whole 'trainer' element can prove ominous for Khan, as the last trainer he had (Jorge Rubio - who was new at the time as well) suggested he take on a man (Bredis Prescott) who was meant to be a stepping stone, and that stepping stone would later change Khan's career forever. Roach has been a true gem to have for Khan, but Malignaggi's fairly new trainer could be the key to helping his pupil produce similar results. Stay tuned.
Boys to Men: When many think of Victor Ortiz, they remember the unsettling display of character in the ring after he was humbled at the hands of a man who few knew at the time could produce such results. As Ortiz enters the ring this time, he'll be doing so against a man who many believe can easily produce such a result. With questions surrounding him and an uncertain future hanging in the balance, this time when he gets popped in the mouth, rather than saying "OH BOY", he'll need to simply "MAN UP", as there may be no more second chances.
Split-Decision: Considering Campbell's toughness and Ortiz's acknowledgment that he needs to impress, many have began to openly speculate on what may happen if the these two men go the full 10 round distance? One would think there's no affinity either way, but known in some circles as the "next Goldenboy" of the sport, needless to say the vision is in place. When you consider the marketability implications and the fact that this is boxing, you realize quickly that nothing is affirmative and ANYTHING can happen. Trouble is, both of these men are at a bit of a crossroads, so the loser will have no choice but to split (for good) if he isn't the one to get the 'gift' (decision). Think about it....
OFFICIAL PREDICTION/UPSET BAROMOTER (1 -5 RATING)
When it all boils down, the Malignaggi/Khan fight is gonna come down to two things....How Khan handles a very slippery opponent, and how Malignaggi handles his power? Although Cotto hurt Malignaggi in their showdown a few years back, Malignaggi proved his toughness by overcoming a couple knockdowns and a broken jaw. If he fought through that, I don't question his ability to stand through Khan's onslaught. Look for an interesting showdown with peaks and valleys, but in the end, expect the powershots of Khan to register more in the eyes of the judges who will give him a slight edge on the final count. The upset barometer in this fight peaks at a full scale 5 of 5, as Malignaggi has the skills and toughness to outclass the young fighter, and the possibility remains on the radar.
In the Campbell/Ortiz showdown, expect a very similar theory at work. Look for Nate Campbell to have his way in spurts, landing some big shots and even stunning Ortiz a few times, but despite what will prove to be a very entertaining effort, expect to see Ortiz eek out a close decision with much of the crowd displeased (with good cause). The upset barometer in this one peaks at a full scale 5 of 5 as well, as Campbell won't make it an easy night and will have too much motivation to give a lackluster effort. Slight controversy will be yet another black eye for the sport, but will prove to be a good thing for Campbell, as a definitive loss could relegate him to Friday Night Fights for the remainder of his career.
(AMIR KHAN via MAJORITY DECISION - VICTOR ORTIZ via CONTROVERSIAL MAJORITY DECISION)
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace).
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