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.
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.
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.
Marcos Rene Maidana v Victor Manuel Cayo
TITLE: Interim WBA Light Welterweight Title
VENUE: United States
PREDICTION: Marcos Rene Maidana
Not the fight that Maidana wanted, I am not sure how he is not fighting for a much larger purse against the WBA champion Amir Khan, Maidana won the WBA title in June, he should in theory get a shot at the champion within 6 months of picking up that interim belt, Khan won the full belt in July 2009, he then made a defence in December against Dmitry Salita, now he should be facing the mandatory champion, but for some reason the rules are not applying here, now Khan is fighting Paulie Malignaggi who is the NABO title holder, he has not fought for a WBA belt (NABA) nor an eliminator, I would love for the WBA to explain themselves in how they are sanctioning these fights to occur. I fully understand why Khan is avoiding Maidana and that is because he will get knocked out but surely he should be stripped and the full belt be awarded to Maidana. These are the reasons why people are losing respect for the title belts, Malignaggi is a decent opponent and has competed on a world class level but he has lost 2 of his last 4 fights. Anyway apologies for the rant going back to this fight, Cayo has the record of a worthy challenger, but again he has not fought any contenders, or eliminators, there he picked up the WBA Fedecaribe light welterweight title last time out so I guess that is why he is now here. He is an undefeated fighter and holds a couple of decent wins, last time out against unbeaten (14-0) Julio Reyes and prior to that a very close points win over faded veteran Julio Diaz, but he is taking a huge step up in class against big punching Maidana, Maidana was desperatly unlucky not to already have the full WBA strap when he was robbed out of a deserved points decision against former champion Andriy Kotelnik in Germany, since then he knocked out the highly tauted Victor Ortiz in one of the fights of the year which saw both men hitting the canvas 3 times. Never rule out an undefeated fighter especially someone with the ability of Cayo but I think he may just fall short, look for the power of Maidana to take over in the mid rounds and get a mid to late round stoppage
Joan Guzman v Ali Funeka
TITLE: vacant IBF lightweight title
VENUE: United States
PREDICTION: Ali Funeka
After the discraceful decision last time these two faced Funeka has to do it all again, he won the first fight very convincingly but was robbed out of victory by some horrible judging which some how called this fight a draw. Now the second time around Funeka will have to raise his game and put on another career best performance in order to win this fight. Guzman has made some changes to his team which included bringing in new trainer Lee Beard, but I think this rematch may have come around a little too quickly for him, he looked in pretty bad shape last time out and despite a fast start last time out after 2 rounds he faded badly, and only just hung on. He may come in in better shape this time but for me he hasn't looked the same fighter since he shot through the weight divisions from 120-5lbs up to 135lbs now, he has not stopped anyone in 5 years and has been lucky a few times to remain undefeated. Funeka has a 7" height advantage and as he proved in the first fight has the ability to beat Guzman, it will be interesting to see how much Guzman can improve from the first fight but I am sure Funeka will up his game and I think he will win this fight and get the win he should have got in the first fights, the only concern I have is the judges, they robbed Funeka first time they might do it again, but hopefully after the horrible decision first time round the eyes of the world will be on this fight and how the judges score it, I just hope the first result hasn't taken too much out Funika, I remeber Damaen Kellys fight with Simone Maludrottu, Kelly took Maludrottu to the cleaners in the first fight but was robbed on the cards and granted the rematch and turned up half the man he was and was stopped early, I hope Funeka gets what he deserved first time around.
Mike Mollo v Billy Zumbrun
VENUE: UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois, United States
PREDICTION: Mike Mollo
I like Mollo he has some good skills and his work rate is impressive, he is however just too small and doesn't hit hard enough to really compete with the giants in the heavyweight divison. He has fallen short against the likes of Andrew Golota and Jameel McCline, when there size just got too much for him and he tired severly in the later rounds and lost both fights on points. This time out he faces a man of similar stature, Zumbrun is becoming a bit of a gatekeeper for the heavyweight division, he weeds out the guys who have no chance of making it and loses to the better guys, I think Mollo will be too busy and too good for Zumbrun, but I think he may have to consider moving down to cruiserweight if he really wants to make an impression in this sport.
Odlanier Solis v Carl Davis Drumond
VENUE: Key West, Florida, United States
PREDICTION: Odlanier Solis
Cuban heavyweight amateur star Odlanier Solis is ripping through the heavyweight division, he is currently unbeaten in 15 fights and has already notched up a number of great wins, noticably last time out against tough gate keeper Monte Barrett whom he despatched in 2 rounds, 3 rounds quicker than current WBA champion David Haye, a man that I am sure he is gunning for. Haye will also be looking for revenge against Solis who defeated him in the 2001 world championships in the final and Haye was left with the silver medal, Haye started well and shook Solis to his boots in the opening round with tremendous right uppercut, but Solis recovered and eventually stopped Haye in the 3rd after Haye picked up a shoulder injury, Solis also went on to win gold at the 2004 Olympics, he also held impressive wins in the amateurs against Sultan Ibragimov and Felix Savon. It must annoy him to see Haye a man that he beat already the heavyweight champion, so I am sure should they both keep winning they will eventually meet again. Standing infront of him on this occassion is the highly regarded Costa Rican heavyweight Carl Davis Drumond, Drumond was up until recently 26-0 with 20 stoppages, he was however fairly easily matched, he stepped up in class in his 27 fight and he lost a fairly close points decision to former WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev when the fight ended prematurely in the 6th round due to a cut that Chagaev suffered from an accidental clash of heads and the judges had Chagaev marginally ahead, Drummond then suffered his 2nd defeat in his very next fight when being out boxed by Derric Rossey over the 10 round distance in a fairly one sided affair. This is the biggest test Solis has had as a professional but I think he is a world class athlete and I think he will be up there with the title challengers real soon, he is short for a modern day heavyweight at only 6'1" but he is weighing in at an average 265lbs so he has the weight advantage in this fight. I think Drummond should put up a decent fight and may last the distance but I think Solis will win, I would go for a late stoppage or a decent points win.
Deandre Latimore v Sechew Powell
VENUE: Buffalo Bill's Star Arena, Primm, Nevada, United States
PREDICTION: Deandre Latimore
A very interesting rematch, Latimore won by stoppage in the first meeting between these two, this came as a surprise to many boxing experts and fans as Powell was being lined up for a title shot against Cory Spinks, Latimore won the fight and got the shot and pushed Spinks very hard and was a little unlucky to fall to a close points decision. Once again this fight will mean the winner will go on to fight the winner of Cory Spinks and Cornelius K9 Bundrage. This time around Latimore is the favourite to win the fight, prior to the stoppage last time out this was a very even fight, all of the judges had scored it even. Both of these guys can punch and both have very similart records, if it should go to the cards it could be a very difficult for the judges to seperate the two, I think Powell will be wary of Latimores power this time around as I think he underestimated him first time around. It should be a great fight and I am going to edge with Latimore doing the double over Powell, but don't rule out a big performance from Powell.
Manny Pacquiao v Joshua Clottey
TITLE: WBO Welterweight Title
VENUE: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, United States
PREDICTION: Manny Pacquiao
Following the fall through of mega fight Mayweather v Pacquiao both guys have moved on and are looking like they are facing new opponents, Mayweather is in talks with Matthew Hatton and Pacquiao is on the verge of signing to fight Cotto's last opponent Joshua Clottey. Clottey is a very strong guy and has been a little unlucky not to have established himself more in the boxing world, he was leading to Antonio Margarito before breaking his hand mid fight and losing out on the cards, he also lost a split decision in a close fight with Cotto a fight that he should have won. Pacquiao however is a different type of fighter, the way that he took Cotto to pieces was amazing, if he can perform on the same level against Clottey then this will be his fight. Clottey is very tough and very durable so I would be very surprised if Pacquiao is able to stop him, but I think he will win and win well. Look for a clear points win for Pacquiao if this fight even happens.