07.07.06 - By Jeff Bastasini: Commonwealth heavyweight champion Danny Williams (36-4, 29 KO's) will put his title on the line against 39-year-old Matt Skelton on Saturday night at the Millenium Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales. Neither fighter, however, are ranked high in the heavyweight world scene, with Danny Williams ranked only number # 9 and Matt Skeleton # 12, both by the WBO. Nevertheless, this fight means a lot in the UK, as it gives the winner a claim to the bragging rights as the best heavyweight in the UK, something that means a lot in terms of pride and respect.. The two fighters have met previously, fighting on February 25, 2006, in a fight that Danny Williams, 32, won by a close 12-round split decision over Skelton.
Article posted on 07.07.2006
For many people at ringside, this writer included, they felt that Skelton should have been given the nod in the final decision, chiefly due to Skelton's superior work rate over the course of the 12-round bout. Williams, although the much harder puncher, he took many of rounds off, appearing to need the rest for his then 267 lb bulky frame. With great size and strength, also comes the need for extended periods of rest at least for Williams on this night.
The bout much to my disappointment was marked by constant fouls, a lot of it done by Skelton in the way of low blows and head butts, including a fair amount of slow, boring action by both fighters. After a rather dull 11 rounds, for a brief period in the 12th, violence finally erupted when Williams, looking well rested suddenly came alive and hurt Skelton with a series of hard right hands to the head. However, Williams seemed to tire just as quickly leaving Skelton on his feet and firing back as the final bell rang, ending the fight. Given Williams' youth, and superior experience against quality opposition such as Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko, I expected more of Williams, figuring he would have been at least been able to dominate the older Skelton, if not knock him out.
Whatever the case, Williams appeared to be a shadow of his former self against Skelton; Gone was Williams' high work rate, and fearless attack-style offense. In its place, Williams appeared slow, fighting in almost a leisurely style, mixed with a look of extreme caution on his face. I couldn't understand Williams' fear, since Skelton, a fighter with a slight paunch and very little hand-speed wasnít throwing hard enough punches to make a dent in William's iron-like chin. Nevertheless, Williams got the win, as ugly as it was.
Since then, Danny Williams stopped Adnan Serin, a German-based fighter with Turkish origins, in the 3rd round, when the fight was stopped on cuts in May 2006. The fight wasnít particularly close, although Williams looked slow and not very impressive, despite getting the win. Skelton is coming off a 4th round knockout win over Armenian fighter, Suren Kalachyan, in April 2006. The fight was a mismatch from the very start with the well rounded Kalachyan not having the skills to compete with Skelton. However, Skelton looked sloppy throughout, taking unnecessary head shots when it appeared that he should have been able to take Kalachyan out as early as the first or 2nd round.
Well, letís hope that we see more action from Skelton and Williams on tomorrow night rather than what weíve seen from them in recent bouts. Indeed, Williams promises to apply more balanced pressure and be a much busier fighter, as he has been reportedly sleeping in an oxygen tent. In theory this should assist with William's stamina by raising the oxygen carrying ability for his blood cells. That's good enough for me. If Williams believes in it so be it, although, I personally don't think it will matter one-hill of beans in the final outcome. What does matter more, though, is the fact that Williams is coming into the fight weighing in at 288 lbs, an all time high for him.
No doubt if Williams was fighting a tomato can, I would be unfazed by his proportions, because with his power, it wouldnít matter. However, Williamsí is fighting someone who is quite good, even if a little advanced in age, and given the closeness of their first fight, I donít see the logic in coming in so heavy. Clearly, based on this weight I think Williams is counting on stopping Skelton in the early rounds which, of course, is a huge gamble to take, given the fact that Skelton has never been stopped. Indeed, if Danny Williams isn't able to catch up to Skelton in the early rounds, I can see Williams tiring badly as early as the middle rounds, and eventually getting stopped or badly out-pointed by Skelton.
I see Williams starting out fast, throwing every thing he has into trying to knockout Skelton in the first three rounds, and then, when Skelton withstands the huge barrage, I see Williams tiring out badly and taking a beating. That being said, I donít think Skelton will stop him, seeing as he doesnít have enough power or a consistent enough attack to knockout Williams, no matter how out of shape he may be. Prediction: Skelton by 12-round decision.