Predictions: Maidana-Morales, Khan-McCloskey, Berto-Ortiz, Katsidis-Guerrero
By Vitali Shaposhnikov: So far 2011 does not look bad at all in terms of decent fights. It gives hope to an average boxing fan to start the year off with exciting matchups. Coming up, we have a handful of interesting bouts, all of which deserve attention. Some simply arouse curiosity, while others are a doorway to a future mega fight. Below are my personal predictions for some of the upcoming matchups:
Article posted on 04.04.2011
Erik Morales (51-6-0) vs. Marcos Maidana (29-2-0): I know that the majority of boxing fans along with analysts are predicting an easy win for Maidana. Unfortunately, I have to agree. This is a very heroic choice for the legendary Morales, but at the same time an exceedingly dangerous one. We can all remember and appreciate Morales of the late 90s and early 2000s, but time has passed, and his opportunities are behind him. Of course completely counting out someone like Morales, with his unparallel heart and determination is maybe a bit too aggressive. Can Morales stop someone with the power of will and fiery passion like Maidana? I simply think Maidana is too strong for Morales at this point. He should be able to walk through Morale’s hardest punches like butter. If Amir Khan (24-1-0), whose punches look more than decent, was unable to stop Maidana after landing consecutive power shots round after round, than how can Morales do any damage? I see Maidana walking right through Morales, and knocking him out early in their fight. There is only thing that can slightly drag the fight out, and that is if Morales puts his footwork to the test, and takes multiple angles as often as possible. Maidana via a K.O. in the first half of the fight. .
Robert Guerrero (28-1-1) vs. Michael Katsidis (27-3-0): This fight interests me a lot. Both fighters are hungry to win and go up the ladder. Guerrero is a pretty solid technician, able to stay patient to avoid mistakes in this fights. Katsidis is looser, always craving action to prove his strength. In his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1), Katsidis came out strong, able to drop Marquez on the canvas in round three. He was impressing the crowd for the first half of the fight, bullying Marquez around the ring. Nonetheless, his sometimes sloppy offensive style caught up with him, as the master technician in Marquez started adjusting and learning on the go. In round nine the fight was over via a TKO, and Katsidis went home with a new loss on his record. The reason I brought up the Marquez fight, is because I see a similar thing happening to Katsidis in his upcoming bout against Guerrero. Guerrero has no trouble going the distance while staying consistent throughout the rounds. I feel that once Guerrero gets past the first half of the fight, which may prove to be not easy, he will slowly take over, taking Katsidis apart until Katsidis abandons all defenses. Of course if Guerrero decides to put on the cowboy hat and trade early in the fight, he will no doubt kiss the canvas, and kiss the fight goodbye. Guerrero via UD or very late stoppage.
Andre Berto (27-0-0) vs. Victor Ortiz (28-2-2): This is a tough one to call. Despite being a powerhouse, Berto has never faced anyone with the skill to throw more combinations than Ortiz. Ortiz got a real beating from Marcos Maidana in 2009, and many bloggers claim that he will never be able to fully recover from that night. I don’t subscribe to that opinion, and think that Ortiz will be ready for this bout. Berto should try to use his speed to overwhelm Ortiz with jabs, and thrown an occasional power punch without leaning or walking in: fight tall. Inside, Ortiz has the full capability to unload on Berto, and potentially deliver his first loss via a KO. Ortiz has the power to do this, and is not very likely to hesitate. Berto’s accuracy is notable, thus, with patience and a stiff jab, Berto should be able to catch Ortiz later in the fight with a devastating punch. Berto via KO between rounds 7 and 10.
Amir Khan (24-1-0) vs. Paul McCloskey (22-0-0): McCloskey is a very interesting choice for team Khan. Being an EBU European welterweight titleholder, McCloskey has to be better than we know. With an unbeaten record (doesn’t necessarily mean much without a good content), I believe their fight will be much closer than most people anticipate. I have reviewed a few of McCloskey’s fights, and noticed something generally unusual: he throws his punches from very awkward angles, sometimes being completely off of balance or proper angle. In this highlight video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGyzlOMEg1U), seconds 38-44, you can see one of those shots landing. While most would discharge this as a useless piece of information, I believe that this is the very thing that might make it a rough night for Khan. In every fight that I had a chance to watch, McCloskey is not only the aggressor, but is remarkably consistent in his pressure. His steady offensive pace along with unpredictable punch angles, he is not someone to be overlooked. I feel that Khan will need to prepare himself for a different kind of a fight. Fighting on the back foot should be practiced well in camp Khan, as this might be the best way to victory. Khan, with his long reaching punches, can frustrate anyone. He has formidable footwork, and most importantly makes it his priority to listen and follow his corner’s instructions. Having Freddie Roach is a tremendous advantage, and I believe that together they will come up with a win. Avoiding close encounters with McCloskey and peppering him with jabs should frustrate McCloskey, sending him into a spiral of confusion. When a fighter realizes that plan A is not working and there is no plan B, things go bad. I see Khan slowly pecking away McCloskey’s defenses, until in some alter rounds, he is unable to answer with anything meaningful of his own. Khan via TKO rounds 9 to 12.
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