by Tim Harrison
Friday Night Fights moves on from Foxwoods, Connecticut and into Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Victor Manuel Cayo (31-3, 22 KOs) will take on once-beaten Maryland junior welterweight, Emmanuel Taylor (16-1, 11 KOs) in a ten-round fight at Resorts Hotel and Casino. Magomed “Mago” Abdusalamov (16-0, 16 KOs) will look to extend his KO streak to 17 and stay unbeaten against Victor Bisbal (21-1, 15 KOs) in the televised co-feature.
All of Cayo’s losses have come in his last ten fights. It’s not a horrible record, but his losses have come when he’s stepped up to the upper levels of the division (Marcos Maidana and Lamont Peterson). His loss to Nate Campbell might be a sign of a fast decline of a fighter only 28 years of age, but it could mean something else – more on that later. Since the loss to Campbell, Cayo has fought in his Native Dominican Republic against unknown and untested opponents Julio De Jesus and Vladimir Baez, and has even mixed in wins over club fighters Pedro Rincon Miranda (18 losses) and Jose Antonio Rodriguez (3-8, 4 losses by KO). Plainly put, Cayo is fighting to stay relevant in an extremely crowded junior welterweight division.
Taylor reportedly had 215 amateur fights before turning pro on March, 19, 2009. He beat club fighter, but popular stepping stone, Doel Carrasquillo in only his sixth professional fight, and saw his progress stalled when he dropped a debated split decision to fellow unbeaten prospect Prenice Brewer in November 2011. Taylor came back with a win over George Sosa last October and stopped previously-unbeaten Puerto Rican prospect, Raymond Serrano on January 25.
Cayo is more of a boxer that will sometimes erroneously be categorized as “slick”, due to his proclivity to fight with his hands down and attempt to slip punches. But as seen in his March 2010 TKO loss to Marcos Maidana, Cayo isn’t always successful in his efforts to be slick, even against a slower guy like Maidana. He’s also been knocked down and out several times throughout his career, with punches upstairs and to the body. In short, Cayo is vulnerable to pressure applied by heavy hands, and maybe some not so heavy. His 2012 TKO loss to then-39-year-old Nate Campbell suggests that Cayo might be more chinny than originally thought. When things are going well for Cayo, he looks solid. He’s got decent hand speed and he puts his punches together. He keeps his right hand straight down the middle, but can also throw it as a hook with somewhat decent results.
Taylor fights with his hands high and will move both his head and hands to throw off the rhythm of his opponent. He jabs with some force when he goes downstairs, and from what I’ve seen it’s mainly a range finder when he throws it to the head. He throws a compact overhand right, but he’ll occasionally oversell it and end up off balance and squared up in front of his opponent. Against the limited level of competition he’s fought, Taylor has displayed decent power. But up until this point in his young career, Taylor has faced few tests.
As stated earlier; Cayo doesn’t do anything that will blow much wind up your skirt, but he’s solid. His loss to Campbell raised some eyebrows, and confirmed that Cayo can’t deal with a pressure fighter. Taylor isn’t a pure pressure fighter, in a sense that he will stick and move rather than attack and swarm. On paper it looks as if Cayo should be the one to emerge victorious on Friday night, but something tells me that Taylor will apply pressure and look to make Cayo fold under a hail storm of (somewhat) powerful hands before putting the finishing touches on the night in the seventh round.
In the televised co-feature, Russia’s Magomed “Mago” Abdusalamov takes on 2004 Puerto Rican Olympian Victor Bisbal, in what should have been just another rung on the heavyweight rankings ladder if not for Mago being put down and nearly away by Jameel McCline in his last fight. The hard-hitting Russian’s chin is now a question mark as he goes forward, and Jameel McCline’s plan to jump on him early will probably be replicated by other fighters looking to derail Mago’s presumed march toward a title shot.
Mago is an active heavyweight who knows how to put his punches together. He moves well for a big man, but at times he won’t move his head at all. He has power in both hands, but can be a little wild and off balance when he throws his overhand left. Being a southpaw in the line of fire of straight right hands, head movement is a plus. It was a lack of head movement combined with a straight right hand from right field – a punch McCline had no business landing – that floored Mago last September.
Bisbal doesn’t put much effort into throwing his jab. What little footage I’ve seen of him shows him bobbing and weaving his way in, much like a young Mike Tyson, albeit without the same devastating results. Bisbal has good power in his hands, but he’s wide with his punches and will invite Mago to shoot his left hand counter straight down the middle to discourage him from taking up Jameel McCline’s approach.
Look for Magomed Abdusalamov to stay unbeaten against Bisbal. While questions about his chin have been raised, he recovered well against McCline and didn’t look to be standing on rubbery legs for much longer than expected of a flash knockdown. Mago should have an easy time picking off Bisbal on the way in, stopping the Puerto Rican in the third round and keeping his KO streak alive along with the win.
Friday Night Fights will air live on ESPN 2 at 9 PM ET/ 6 PM PT. The Boxing Tribune will have a full recap of Cayo-Taylor and Abdusalamov-Bisbal, along with any other swing fights that make the broadcast, immediately after the fights. You can email Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheTimHarrison.