Friday, July 17, 2009

Early Thoughts on Bradley vs Campbell, Dawson vs Johnson 2, Marquez vs Mayweather, Klitschko-Haye...

By Lee Payton

Photo © Marty Rosengarten /

Some very intriguing and significant fights have been made recently so I thought I'd touch on the ones that stick out to me. Here's my best guess as to how they will go down once the bell rings.

Can Campbell turn back the clock? Is Dawson all that? Does Marquez have a chance? Can Haye take down Big Brother?

Timothy Bradley vs Nate Campbell

It seems pretty clear on paper, doesn't it? Bradley has advantages in age, size and quickness. He's also a very good fighter, so he should take this thing, right? Not so fast. While "Dessert Storm" obviously has a lot going for him, the fighting grandfather has some weapons of his own. His favourite of those is a nasty right hand, which can be devastating up top or to body. He's also been around the block a time or two. The man flat out knows how to fight, and coming right to him, as I believe Bradley will, has not always turned out well for the opponent.

I think the keys to this fight for Bradley are head movement and punches in bunches. He showed that he's not exactly easy to nail clean even while pressing the fight against Kendall Holt. He keeps a tight, high guard and throws nice short punches on the inside. You need to only look at him to get a sense of his strength. Marvin Hagler would be impressed.

Can he hurt Nate? Probably not. Can Nate hurt him? He has to.

If Campbell can't put a dent in this kid, it's going to be a long night for the former Lightweight Champion.

I'm one of those guys who thinks size is a little overrated in boxing. Punchers don't lose their ability to punch because they added weight, as long as they are in or close to their prime years. They may lose something because they are hitting bigger guys, but most of the time when it seems like a fighter fell off after moving up a weight class, it has much more to do with the opponent than anything else. At this point, 140 is his weight.

Will Nate be able to get the KO he may need to win this fight? Well, he's hurt just about every fighter he has ever faced, so I see no reason to believe he can't make Bradley wince with a solid shot. That said, he's never really been a knockout artist, and if Tim has any trouble absorbing punishment it hasn't surfaced yet.

All things considered, I'm going to take Tim Bradley to walk through Hell on his way to a painful decision win. It should be a great fight.

Chad Dawson vs Glen Johnson II

When these two light heavyweights did battle in April 2008 most expected "Bad" Chad's amazing physical gifts to be too much for the 40 year old war horse. I guess no one told Glen that he was supposed to be content with collecting his final decent paycheck. He pushed young Dawson to the brink, forcing out all the inside stuff the young man never really needed up to that point in his pro career. Dawson grabbed the close decision that not everyone agreed with so they will do it again.

We might be looking at a replay of the first fight. Glen is still going to march forward. He'll still be hard-headed. And he'll still have the same arsenal that was responsible for tearing Dawson out of his comfort zone n the first fight. It's up to the man many call the future of pound-for-pound to make the kind of adjustments great champions are capable of.

That could mean stinking it out a little. Chad has the legs to move for 12, but the way he delivers his offense (bursts of punches at full speed) seems to take something away from his stamina. When he slows down that little bit in the second half, Johnson is going to give him no choice but to fight his ass off again.

I'll take Chad by another hard-fought 8-4. He'll get the win. That's about the best anyone can hope for when they fight "The Road Warrior".

Floyd Mayweather vs Juan Manuel Marquez

Call me crazy, but I am really looking forward to this fight. Forget about the difference in size. These guys don't fight in a way that depends on being the bigger man. Truthfully, even though Mayweather is called a welterweight, there would be a bigger (and more significant) size advantage if he were to fight Shane Mosley.

This fight isn't about weight, it's about two of the most skilled fighters of the last 10+ years going at it. Floyd has the edge on defense, while Marquez' accurate hands give him the offensive advantage.

We've been waiting years now for the great Juan Manuel Marquez to get old. Some will tell you the proof of his decline can be found in the amount of punches he has taken over the last 5 years. I personally think the wars have more to do with the massive step up in class he has taken during that time. When ya fight quality opponents, yer gonna get hit. This guy lives clean and is always in shape. I don't expect to see him fall off at all.

Mayweather is also a gym rat. He was sighted working out throughout his retirement from boxing, but the fact remains that he hasn't been under the lights in a very long time. There's bound to be some ring rust. As gifted as he is, I'm not sure anyone can afford to be even a little off against JMM's lethal attack. Based on all the ingredients I get the feeling that he's going to get touched up more than we've ever seen before.

I think it's a distance fight with "Money" getting a close decision. He'll probably win, but way more people will start believing in Pacquiao's chances against him.

Vitali Klitschko vs David Haye

When Haye dropped out against little brother, I was gutted for a week. Finally, Wlad was fighting someone with a chance. Unfortunately it was not to be. So now "The Hayemaker" is set to take on the bigger, tougher, older brother, who many feel is the real #1 heavyweight out there.

It is my opinion that this Klitschko is the more difficult assignment given that he can actually take a good shot to the mouth. What made the fight with Wlad so appealing was the knowledge that it could end on one punch either way. This fight appears to be a more grueling affair.

Vitali has had it easy since during his two fight comeback, having taken out hopeless Sam Peter and a chubby Juan Carlos Gomez. They could just never reach him. Those two played right into his strengths by slowly plodding forward all night while offering virtually nothing for the 6'7 Klitschko to worry about.

In his current opponent "Dr Ironfist" will be facing an physical dynamo who goes out to put on a violent show. This will be no athletic contest. It's gonna be a fight.

I believe Haye has the tools to do the job, but does he have the discipline to stick to a fight plan for as long as it takes? And how will his chin hold up? I think he's got to stay all the way outside and use his gifts to explode into punching range to have any chance. Bang that body in the clinch until the ref breaks it up. Vit will have no defense for such a tactic other than to hold or grapple. He's going to need focus more than anything in order to resist a slugfest.

It's a tough call. Haye's physical advantages stand him in good stead, but perhaps his whiskers will let him down in the end. I probably have to take Klitschko to gut it out somehow after a monumental struggle. Of course, we don't know how much he is willing to take these days either...

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