By Geoff Poundes
This Saturday night at the famous old fight venue, The Alexandra Palace in North London, Liverpool’s Tony Bellew seeks to pile the pressure on the world’s top light-heavyweights when he accepts the challenge of hard-punching Edison Miranda.
Bellew still smarts from his loss last year when he was decisioned by Nathan Cleverly for the latter’s WBO title, and, having failed to tempt the Welshman into a rematch, he deserves credit for pitching up against so dangerous an opponent with so much at stake.
Miranda, 35-7, 30 KO’s, is a former two-time IBF super-middle title challenger with a stellar resume – he’s shared the ring with the likes of Andre Ward, Lucian Bute, Arthur Abraham and Kelly Pavlik – and the Colombian brings that wealth of experience to London together with startling confidence. ‘Put your kids to bed early on Saturday’ he said on arrival in the UK this week, ‘I don’t want them to be frightened by seeing what I do to Bellew. It’s going to be ugly.’
Bellew, 17-1, 11 KO’s, is rarely found wanting in the hype stakes and it may be that the pre-fight shenanigans out-fun the contest on the night – certainly, all eyes will be on the weigh-in when the two fighters will be expected to stoke the fire.
For now, Bellew is keeping a lid on things: “I’m on the verge of great things now. I’ve just got to stay focused and keep working hard.”
Miranda, meanwhile, has poured scorn on Bellew’s reputation as a hitter: “Who calls him a powerful puncher? His girlfriend? The reason the fight will not go the distance is because Edison Miranda is a powerful puncher. I am not putting this decision in the hands of the judges. You can save money and keep the judges at home. There will be two men standing at the end of this fight, Edison Miranda and the ref.”
In truth, Bellew does carry a powerful dig, but then so does the Colombian. Bellew is the coming fighter, whereas the 31 year old Miranda has hardly set the world alight since moving up to 175 after a crushing fifth round loss to Lucien Bute back in April 2010. Miranda is 2-2 since, and lost his last fight to prospect Isaac Chilemba in February when he was soundly outpointed.
I pick Bellew to stop Miranda inside distance, but he may well have to get off the floor to do so. The cocky Liverpudlian has been dropped before, and Miranda has the tools to repeat the feat.
In the chief support former British welter champ Lee Purdy, 18-3, 11 KO’s, is looking to re-establish himself on the international scene when he faces unbeaten Argentine Gumersindo Carrasco, 16-0, 13 KO’s, for the IBF International welterweight title.