Lucian Bute v Edison Miranda
TITLE: IBF Super Middleweight Title
VENUE: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
PREDICTION: Lucian Bute
I think if this fight had happened last year Bute would have had a far easier nights work, Miranda was becoming well known as a one dimensional fighter that can punch, he lost when he stepped up in class against the likes of Pavlik, Abraham, and Andre Ward, however something has changed since the Ward defeat and that is Miranda has been taken under the wing of ledgendary trainer Joe Goossen, Goossen has rebuilt Miranda and these days he is looking a different fighter, he is a lot slicker, he has a lot more to his game rather than just relying on the right hand all the time, he also manages his weight a lot better, he used to come down from around 190lbs to 160lbs in a matter of weeks, now he walks around at 175-180lbs and fights at 168lbs. Do I think he has made enough changes to beat the likes of Lucian Bute?, no I don't, but I am sure Miranda would beat a number of top super middleweights out there, I am sure he would have beaten Robert Steigliez a guy he was suppost to fight for the WBO title against in January but was forced out through illness. I think Bute is potentially the top guy in the division at the moment, he reminds me a lot of Joe Calzaghe in his movement and hand speed, he also learned his lesson well against Librado Andrade the first time around when being dragged into a fight and almost knockout in the final round of the contest, he came back in the rematch and despatched Andrade inside 4 rounds, I think Miranda will put up a great fight and I think he has a chance of winning, a better than probably most believe, but I think Bute is a smart boxer and he will be tough to beat in Canada, look for a close points win for Bute.
Kelly Pavlik v Sergio Gabriel Martinez
TITLE: WBC & WBO Middleweight Title
VENUE: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
PREDICTION: Sergio Gabriel Martinez
What a tough fight to call, Martinez is better known as a 154lb fighter, he is actually one of the top 154lb fighters in the world, he recently stepped up to middleweight to take on another fighter who is better known at 154lb Paul Williams and gave him the toughest fight of his life and for me was unlucky not to get the win in a very close decision, that is pretty much the story of Martinez's career, he has been avoided and cheated out of wins, for example the Kermit Cintron fight, not only did he knock down Cintron for the count of ten which in a bizarre event was eventually ruled a head butt he then went on to be robbed of victory again on the cards when being well ahead on every other card apart from the judges at ringside who amazingly called the fight a draw. I wish Martinez could have had his chances earlier as he would have established himself as one of the pound for pound best in the game. He now makes the trip back to middleweight here to take on hard hitting Kelly Pavlik, Pavlik has had a real fall from grace, he was regarded as the top guy at 160lbs after beating Jermain Taylor, and Edison Miranda, he then made a huge mistake, he stepped up to super middleweight to fight long time middleweight king Bernard Hopkins, many prior to this fight though Pavlik would destroy Hopkins, some even mentioned they feared for Hopkins life. Things didn't quite turn out that way, when Pavlik was handed a boxing lesson and taken to pieces for the duration of 12 rounds. Since then despite winning two fights against decent opposition Pavlik's reputation has been in tatters, he was also lined up to face Paul Williams but pulled out through injury then took a far easier fight with Migel Espino only 2 week later (Martinez actually stepped in at late notice to face Williams). Everything points towards Pavlik winning this fight, he is the bigger man and the hot favourite, but I really like Martinez and I would love to see him reach his potential, maybe I am putting heart over head which is generally a mistake as the smart money would be on Pavlik, but I feel Martinez could hand Pavlik another boxing lesson, as long as he can take his power, look for a long shot points win.
Sebastian Zbik v Domenico Spada
TITLE: interim WBC middleweight title
VENUE: Bordelandhalle, Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
PREDICTION: Sebastian Zbik
An interesting rematch between these two, in the first fight Zbik won 115-114 on all of the judges scorecards, I was a little surprised as I though Zbik won a little more clearly than that, he was also involved in another controversial points win over previously unbeaten Emanuele Della Rosa last time out with one of the judges scoring the contest 115-113 for Della Rosa and another scoring 120-109 for Zbik, I am guessing these guys were watching different fights, again I thought it was a close evenly matched fight but I though Zbik edged that one too, but definatly not by the 11 point margin see by one of the judges. This should be another well matched fight and a lot depends on who brings their A game, both of these guys have the ability to win. Zbik is the obvious favourite as the champion and the winner of the first contest and as his promoters are backing the show if it is close which it is likely to be then he will get the decision. Nevertheless it should be an entertaining fight Zbik winning a close decision on the cards.
Danny Green v Manny Siaca
VENUE: Entertainment Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
PREDICTION: Danny Green
Not quite the big fight that Danny Green was expecting when he despatched Roy Jones Jr inside a round, instead Roy Jones has the big fight against Bernard Hopkins and Green is left with Manny Siaca, take nothing away from Siaca he is a decent fighter but he is not a big name nor will he draw world wide interest. One thing Green will have in mind is that Siaca actually caused a big upset in Australia already back in 2004 when beating home town favourite Anthony Mundine on points, who actually is only one of two people that have beaten Green. Siaca has not been busy and has only had 5 fights in the last 5 years, and has been out of the ring for over a year already since his last win over journeyman George Klinesmith, he actually weighed in at 159lbs for that fight, he will be fighting Danny Green at cruiserweight, potentially a 41lb swing. I think Siaca back in his day may have given Green a really good fight but he has not shared the ring with a decent opponent since Branco (2006) or Kessler in 2004, both fights he lost, in fact his only really big win was against Mundine, 6 years ago. I am not sure what Siaca will bring to the ring but I would be very surprised if it is enough to beat Green, the safest bet would be a Green points win but don't rule out ring rust affecting Siaca and if Danny jumps on him as he jumped on Roy Jones it may well be over much quicker.
Michael Sprott v Audley Harrison
TITLE: European Heavyweight Title
VENUE: Alexandra Palace, Wood Green, London, UK
PREDICTION: Audley Harrison
A very interesting contest, I honestly believe that former Olympic champion Audley Harrison has more ability in one hand than Sosnowski has in his whole body, does this mean he will win the fight? absolutely not, unfortunatley for Harrison he has just not been able to perform to the level that he is first of all capable of and secondly he just doesn't seem to have the mental edge needed to win fights like this. When Harrison lets his hands flow he looks like a world champion, unfortunatly most of the time he stays at distance doing very little. He has all the attributes to be a world champion but I feel he will just never make it. Sosnowski has impressed me a lot in his last few fights, he is a work horse and he puts his heart and sole into his fights, he may not be the biggest, hardest puncher or fastest heavyweight about but he works hard, and grinds out wins. I think Harrison has a punchers chance of winning this fight, but unless he connects Sosnowski will out work him all night long. I expect the usual frustrating performance from Harrison, I really believe he is one of the most talented guys out there at the moment but he is missing something, if he finds it in this fight he may well blow Sosnowski away but the safest bet is Sosnowski on the cards.
Change of opponent Michael Sprott is brought in following Sosnowski being lined up to fight Vitali Klitschko for the world title, this is now a big grudge match as Sprott knocked out Harrison last time out. I think Harrison will get his revenge here but this is about the level that Harrison can fight at, any tougher oppoenent and he will stuggle.
Bernard Hopkins v Roy Jones Jr
VENUE: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, US
PREDICTION: Bernard Hopkins
There were a number of doubts if this fight would ever take place, especially after the destruction of Roy Jones Jr over in Austrailia to the hands of Danny Green, but money talks and Hopkins knows not only will this fight pay a lot more than fighting Danny Green it will also bring a lot more attention to boxing, both of these guys are ring legends, and not to mention this is actually a rematch of a fight that took place way back in 1993, now 17 years on Hopkins looks to get his revenge. Out of the two career wise Roy Jones has had the more successful career, he has won world titles from middleweight all the way up to heavyweight and was regarded as almost unbeatable at one point in his career. Jones however although 4 years the junior of Hopkins is starting to look his age, many believe that he should have retired after picking up the heavyweight title in 2003, but Jones had other ideas on his mind, he has lost 5 of his last 11, and that included bad knockout losses to Glen Johnson, Antonio Tarver and Danny Green, not to mention a one sided 12 round beating at the hands of Joe Calzaghe. Hopkins has aged a lot better, he also lost out to the likes of Jermain Taylor and Joe Calzaghe, they were all very close on the scorecards and he didn't take any undue punishment, he also has great recent wins over the likes of Kelly Pavlik, Antonio Tarver and Ronald Winky Wright. I don't imagine that this will be a classic fight buy any stretch of the imagination, Hokpins is very rarly involved in classic fights, but I think he will win here and win well, probably on the cards.
David Haye v John Ruiz
TITLE: WBA Heavyweight Title
VENUE: M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom
PREDICTION: David Haye
After losing to Carl Thompson back in 2004 David Haye was labelled as a arrogant limited fighter with a questionable chin, he has certainly turned this around and now is being labelled as the hope of the heavyweight division, finally someone who not only fights and hits hard but looks the part with his ripped muscular frame. I still have worries over his chin to be honest but Haye has learned from his mistakes and really turned his career around, wins over the likes of tough Frenchman Jean Marc Mormeck really cemented his place, he picked up the WBA and WBC titles against Mormeck before adding the WBO with a demolision job of Enzo Maccarinelli inside 2 rounds before moving up to heavyweight, there he took no prisoners and after only 2 fights at the weight he already has the WBA title wrapped around his waist, the last a patient disaplined performance over the giant Nickolay Valuev. He is exciting and carries a deverstating power punch, now he faces John Ruiz a guy that I guess many people are looking past and are looking forward to Haye fighting the likes of the Klitschko brothers, but although Ruiz is not the greateast or most exciting fighter ever he does have a lot of experience, he has been involved in no less than 13 world title fights or eliminators and has won and defend the title twice, so he is no mug, he has shared the ring with fighters such as Evander Holyfield 3 times (1-1-1), Roy Jones, James Toney, Nickolay Valuev, Ruslan Chagaev and many more and never disgraced himself. I think if Ruiz is still in the fight after 5-6 rounds he has a great chance of pulling off a win that nobody believes he is capable of, personally I think Haye will take him out early, I think he will be just too fast and hit too hard, but don't rule out Ruiz pulling off an upset if he takes Haye into the later rounds.
Andre Berto v Carlos Quintana
TITLE: WBC Welterweight Title
VENUE: BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida, United States
PREDICTION: Andre Berto
A far easier fight for Berto than what he was lined up with back in January, he obviously pulled out of the Mosley fight following the disasters in his home town of Haitia, I am sure that the patday here will not be as good but his chances of winning are far better. Former WBO champion Quintana is no push over he is the only man who actually holds a win over Paul Williams, he was however taken out inside a round in the rematch. He has also shared the ring with Miguel Cotto but was stopped in 5 rounds. Berto has been easily matched to date he holds decent wins over the likes of Steve Forbes and Juan Urango, he also has a points win over for WBA champion Luis Collazo however that was very fortunate as a number of people at ringside including his father thought he lost. Quintana blows very hot and cold, on his day he is capable of beating most, but even at 100% I am not sure he will beat Berto. It should be a good fight, Berto may get the stoppage in the later rounds, either way he should win fairly comfortably.
Arthur Abraham v Andre Dirrell
VENUE: Agua Caliente Casino, Rancho Mirage, California, United States
PREDICTION: Andre Dirrell
Andre Dirrell has the ability to cause one of the shocks of the super 6 here, but he has to start believing in his chin and his ability. Against Curtis Stevens he first showed the cracks in his arsenal, he knew about the power of Stevens and did his best to avoid it for the entire fight, winning a points decision but he was slated in the boxing world and had to win three more good fights before he was shown on TV again. Against Victor Oganov he looked like he may have over come this lack of confidence when he stood and traded with Oganov who is a devastating puncher. However unfortunately for Dirrell in his first fight in the super 6 he lost a fight that he should have won, by fighting very negatively and even when he has Froch badly hurt in the 10th round he still didnít have the confidence to finish the fight and he ended up losing a points decision in a fight that many thought he had won. Now in the second fight of the super 6 he faces potentially the toughest guy in the whole competition. I think that Dirrell has a chance of winning this fight but it is unlikely, Abraham is a very intelligent fighter he doesnít waste any punches but he can be out worked, I think if Dirrell can have the confidence to throw his combinations and not be afraid to hold the center of the ring he can win this fight. However if he couldnít do it against Froch I doubt he will be able to do it against Abraham, I think he will spend a lot of the fight running, there is a chance he can win this way too but Abraham as I said before is very smart and he will throw enough punches to at least keep up with Dirrell. In regard to Abraham he is unbeaten in 32 fights, prior to this tournament he had competed at middleweight but he seems to have developed into a natural super middleweight and currently tops the table with a tremendous 12th round knockout of Jermain Taylor. He also holds wins over the likes of Edison Miranda twice (He fought most of the 1st fight with a badly broken jaw which he fought through to victory on the cards) he also has a number of wins over some of the best middleweights in Europe and is now the favourite to take the crown in this tournament. I would love to pick Dirrell to win this fight, he has all the ability to win this fight and the whole tournament but I just donít think he believes it and the fact that he is so guarded of his chin suggests that there maybe a weakness there. If there is you can be assured that Abraham will find it. I think if it goes to the cards it will be very close and could go either way but I have a feeling that the stalking Abraham will eventually catch up with the quicker Dirrell and close the deal inside the distance. If I was a betting man I would probably go for a Dirrell win on the cards as it would offer a great return and I think it is possible.
Steve Molitor v Takalani Ndlovu
TITLE: IBF Super Bantamweight Title
VENUE: Casino Rama, Rama, Ontario, Canada
PREDICTION: Steve Molitor
An interesting rematch, these two first met in July 2007 and Steve Molitor won the first meeting when stopping Ndlovu in the 9th round of his first tile defence of the IBF title, a title he went on to make a further 4 defences. They have both also fought Fernando Beltran Jr, Molitor beat Beltran via a one sided 12 round decision, where as Ndlovu lost a close points decision, taking these fights into account then you would assume that Molitor should once again win this fight. The only doubt I have is that some fighters are never the same after a loss especially being knockout, Molitor suffered a deverstating defeat to Celestino Caballero when he was taken to pieces and stopped inside 4 rounds. Molitor has come back with 3 wins but he has been far from convincing, he was very lucky to get a points win over Heriberto Ruiz, his other two opponents have been limited his latest fight he again didn't look convincing against the limited Jose Saez. If he performs to that level then he could have a tough nights work as Ndlovu is no push over, despite this a 70% Molitor should win this fight, it may not be as convincing as the first time round and I think the fight will go the distance this time, with Molitor winning.