Young fighters looking to make a name for themselves, veterans looking for redemption after a big loss– This week’s action has a little bit of everything.
Here’s a rundown on what to watch and what to look for:
6/24– James Kirkland (27-1, 24 KOs) vs. Dennis Sharpe (17-7-3, 4 KOs)
Kirkland suffered an embarrassing first round TKO at the hands of normally feather-fisted, Nobuhiro Ishida in April. Prior to that, he was buzzed by journeyman, Jhon Berrio. Ann Wolfe is back in Kirkland’s corner and promoter, Golden Boy is still confident enough to put Kirkland at the top of a Telefutura card. But punch resistance never gets better and Kirkland is not likely to pick up any real, workable defensive skills in the near future. Kirkland is post-Buster Douglass Mike Tyson. The aura is gone and the sweet spot on Kirkland’s chin is growing. Hence, the decision to fight a guy in Dennis Sharpe, who hasn’t won a fight since 2004 and is on a sickly 0-7 run. Ann Wolfe would likely beat Sharpe, so Kirkland better steamroll the guy.
6/25– Felix Sturm (35-2-1, 15 KOs) vs. Matthew Macklin (28-2, 19 KOs)
Defending WBA champ, Sturm, is actually talented– much more talented than his sickly list of recent opponents would suggest. Some feel that Macklin has the goods and will be a legitimate threat to the German world champ. But Macklin’s problem is the same as many UK fighters’– He sure looks talented, but as an isolated talent, stuck in a relatively shallow talent pool, there’s no way to know if he’s the real deal or not. Sturm has to be considered the favorite until we see what Macklin can actually do against a real, live fighter.
6/25– Kell Brook (23-0, 16 KOs) vs. Lovemore N’dou (48-12-2, 31 KOs)
See Above. The UK’s welterweight prospect, Brook, has, almost literally, fought nobody. Not to harp on the fact that Brook has been in easy, but 39-year-old former jr. welterweight titlist, N’dou, is by leaps and bounds the best fighter Brook has ever faced. Still, Brook looks like he has the goods and has performed well, albeit against limited opposition. Consider this the first real test of the 25-year-old prospect’s career.
6/25– Fernando Montiel (44-3-2, 34 KOs) vs. Nehomar Cermeño (20-3, 12 KOs)
Montiel has been up and down in his career and, at 32, there’s no time to waste if he wants to make a push for another title reign. That’s why we’re not seeing a slow return and several tune-ups following his brutal, near decapitation at the hands of Nonito Donaire in February. Cermeño is no push-over. He’s lost three of his last four, but those three losses consist of two tight, competitive bouts with long-reigning bantamweight title holder, Anselmo Moreno and a razor-thin split decision loss to a solid, ranked Victor Terrazas. If Montiel is not 100% back, he could very well drop this one, despite it being in his home state of Sinaloa.
6/25– Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs) vs. Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs)
Alexander should have a chip on his shoulder after having six months to hear about his lack of mental toughness in his loss against Timothy Bradley. The question is: Is that good or bad? The 24-year-old southpaw nearly lost his fight to Andriy Kotelnik from trying too hard and deviating from his game plan in an effort to impress his hometown fans. We also saw the wheels fall completely off the cart when things started going badly against Bradley. Alexander is now back at home, with a real urgency to impress in an essential fight. Matthysse, on the other hand, is limited, but he carries real power in both fists. He’s also shown an ability to handle southpaws, dropping DeMarcus Corley nine times en route to a TKO 8 victory and also dropping Zab Judah in an extremely close split decision loss. If both fighters are at their mental and physical best, Alexander should take it, but we won’t really know what to expect until the fight actually starts.
6/25– Cornelius Bundrage (30-4, 18 KOs) vs. Sechew Powell (26-2, 15 KOs)
The last time these two met, in a wild, one round melee which featured a rare double knockdown, it was Powell who came away with the TKO 1 victory. But that was in 2005. Now, Bundrage is the IBF jr. middleweight champion and, although no “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, he’s a better overall boxer than before. Both fighters have been horribly inactive, averaging one fight a year since 2008, so expect something clumsy and slow-paced at first. Powell is still the better fighter and that should be the real decisive factor of the bout. This is Powell’s fight to lose.
6/25– Tavoris Cloud (22-0, 18 KOs) vs. Yusaf Mack (29-3-2, 17 KOs)
IBF light heavyweight champ, Cloud has been on the outside, looking in, as Bernard Hopkins, Jean Pascal, and Chad Dawson trade high-profile bouts and hand the title back and forth. Now, he’s back on HBO for the first time in about a year and against someone made to order for an exciting win. Mack has relatively heavy hands, a pedestrian defense, and a reputation as someone who starts big, but wilts under pressure. Cloud should stop Mack in impressive fashion and take one step closer to the real money at light heavyweight.
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