As part of The Boxing Tribune’s Dream Fights series, here’s three fights that need to happen, for the sport and for the fans:
Holt faces Danny Garcia on October 15th for a minor belt in the WBO hierarchy and is ranked fourth by that organization. Provodnikov is ranked #11 by the WBO, and with a fight against another fringe contender could crack the top ten. If Holt gets by Garcia, he should be ready to turn around and fight within the next three months…just in time for ESPN’s Friday Night Fights series to be back on TV looking for a feature bout to start the 2012 season.
Both Holt and Provodnikov have been on ESPN before, and both are tremendous action fighters, making this an absolutely perfect main event for FNF. Holt’s spectacular third round knockout of Julio Diaz was a legit candidate for Knockout of the Year, and Provodnikov has plenty of pop in his punches as well, which was on display beating Mauricio Herrera into a bruised and battered pulp in a losing effort (via controversial decision) and in his TKO win over Ivan Popoca on FNF this year.
As for who would win such a bout? Holt is the more skilled fighter, with better ability to keep his opponent off him against all but the best competition, but he has been knocked out three times in his career. Provodnikov has Buddy McGirt training him and has learned how to box, but in the Popoca fight it was clear that his fighter’s instincts had not been completely trained out of him. I see this as a majority draw waiting to happen, with Provodnikov winning the early rounds and Holt making up ground late, a lot like the way the Pawel Wolak-Delvin Rodriguez contest flowed. Provodnikov isn’t quite powerful enough to knock Holt out, and he’s too durable to be knocked out himself. This fight would be 10 rounds of pure, fan-friendly action, a real Fight of the Year candidate.
Prediction: Majority Draw.
Saul Alvarez (37-0-1, 27 KOs) vs. Vanes Martirosyan (30-0, 19 KOs), jr. middleweights
When The Boxing Tribune interviewed Martirosyan, the going assumption was that he would fight Alfredo Angulo as ordered by the WBC, with the winner to fight Alvarez in a mandatory title shot. But with Angulo seemingly unwilling to fight the Armenian, the Jose Sulaiman Mafia should be falling all over itself to order a title fight between its so-called champion and its #1 contender. Martirosyan himself is champing at the bit for the opportunity, the fight could be held at Staples Center (where Martirosyan would be in his backyard but Alvarez would have a good-sized Mexican contingent in attendance) or in Las Vegas in front of a large gate, and HBO could use it as the centerpiece of its World Championship Boxing series, so what’s stopping the fight from being made?
Alvarez is far more raw than his 38 pro fights would indicate. Martirosyan has been on the floor but came off the canvas to knock Saul Roman out in June of this year. Does proven toughness and heart beat raw talent? Or would El Canelo use his power to dominate the Armenian and put him on the floor for the full ten count? I’m thinking it would go a lot like the Saul Roman fight for Martirosyan. He will get caught early and probably cough up a 10-8 round as he finds his rhythm early. But if Alvarez can’t get rid of him, and I don’t think he can, Vanes Martirosyan will finally claim his place as a world champion at 154 pounds. This fight has TKO9 written all over it for the Armenian fighter.
Prediction: Martirosyan TKO9.
Lucian Bute (29-0, 24 KOs) vs. Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs), super middleweights
As of the most recent Boxing Tribune pound-for-pound ratings, this would pit #8 (Ward) against #9 (Bute) to determine who is truly the king of the deepest division in boxing. Let’s for the sake of argument assume that Ward gets past Carl Froch in the finals of Showtime’s Super Six tournament on October 29th and in the process claims the WBC, WBA Super, and Ring Magazine titles at 168 pounds (since Ward and Froch are #1 and #2 in the Ring rankings, the fight should crown a titlist per the Ring’s championship policy). Combine that with Bute’s IBF title and what you’ve got there is a genuine “for the undisputed championship” bout. If that doesn’t generate a bunch of PPV buys, nothing will.
But who wins that fight? Bute has a lot more pure power than does Ward, who prefers to box on the outside and keep his opponent covering up (see the Allan Green fight as exhibit A of Ward’s style). Bute also knows that he would have to control the pace and get inside on Ward to do real damage and have any chance of winning a decision.
I think Bute’s willing to eat a few punches if it means imposing his will on his opponent and doing what is necessary to score the knockout. Furthermore, Ward’s chin might be a little bit suspect (he hit the canvas early in his career against Darnell Boone before coming off the floor to win that fight). “Le Tombeur” has looked too strong against too many opponents to suggest that his knockout ratio (82.7%, comparable to the KO rate of Wladimir Klitschko and the best of any fighter in the Ring Magazine top ten at super middleweight) is the result of anything other than dynamite in his gloves. Ward wins the early rounds, but Bute wins by seventh-round KO when Ward leaves an opening in his defense for just long enough for a big left hand from the Romanian southpaw to crash home and change the entire direction of the fight.
Prediction: Bute KO7.
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. His weekly column, The Southpaw, appears on Thursdays. His French-Canadian last name has nothing to do with his belief in the Montreal-based Bute. Fan mail, hate mail, and poutine recipes can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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