Friday, May 23, 2008

Hatton - Lazcano Prediction

By JE Grant

Juan Lazcano knows his part of the script calls for his early departure Saturday night in Manchester against the monster hometown hero Ricky Hatton. Of course there is no script and Lazcano would just as soon change the ending considerably.

Hatton, coming off his resounding knockout loss to the superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr., is expected to get back on track as he moves down from welterweight to what is considered his junior welterweight division. 

He holds the Ring belt (the only one that really matters) and another trinket belt --- but more importantly he holds the attention of legions of British boxing fans and a growing international following.

At 140 pounds Hatton has crushed all comers including his brutal body attack that left Jose Luis Castillo in a heap from a single left-hook to the liver.

It has proved somewhat treacherous for the 5’6” Hatton when he ventured to 147 as evidenced by his narrow 12-round win over Luis Collazo and of course his stoppage at the hands of “Money” Mayweather.

Whether Lazcano can avoid Hatton’s dominance at 140 probably depends on the after-effects of the Mayweather bout. Will the high octane attack be replaced with caution? 

Lazcano meanwhile has his own baggage.  He lost his last fight too.  He was edged out   by Vivian Harris over 12 rounds in February 2007. Will the 15 months of inactivity, at age 33, reduce whatever edge he could have had if he was finely tuned? 

Lazcano has been on fringes of the division's elite, but his attempts at the top (Harris and Castillo) have not been successful. Lazcano has proven himself sturdy (only one stoppage loss in a 42-fight career) and has gone more than 10 rounds six times (compiling a 3-2-1 record).

Chances are that promoters (Golden Boy among them) and local fans are interested only in their Ricky’s successful return to his winning ways.  Lazcano's reliability and ruggedness will allow Hatton to show his considerable arsenal on a willing opponent.


Hatton will attack quickly in an effort to establish (or reestablish) his image as the unstoppable force. Lazcano will not step back or attempt a survival-first strategy. Look for the “Hispanic Causing Panic” to fire back hard early and often. Hatton may show some ill effects of the early punches --- even a flash knockdown is not out of the question.

The telling effect of what makes Hatton extraordinary at 140 pounds will come after round 5 as the pressure and the power accumulate on Lazcano. He will fight back as long as he can but the energy differential will tilt in Hatton’s favor.

The bout will prove competitive in spots but one-sided down the stretch as Hatton powers his way to a clear-cut “Homecoming” victory.

Hatton by a clear 12 round decision. 

Saturday, May 17, 2008

'Young Guns' Sling It

By JE Grant

Olympic Gold Medal winner, Yuriorkis Gamboa headlined a sneak-peak HBO card showcasing potential stars in Primm, Nev. Saturday night.

Gamboa, 10-0 (9 KOs), Miami (via Cuba), 128 1/2, used obvious raw professional talent to score a one-sided 10-round unanimous decision over solid pro Darling Jimenez, 23-2-2 (14 KOs), Dominican Republic, 131. 

Gamboa’s quick hands and feet allowed him repeatedly beat Jimenez to the punch from the opening bell.  Jimenez remained in the bout throughout, however, landing left hooks and right hands with a frequency that should give Gamboa’s handlers some pause when charting out a wanted meteoric rise to a world ranking.

Jimenez, despite losing 9 of the 10 rounds, was able to clip the hands-down Gamboa in round 4, dropping him in the process. Gamboa did not seem hurt but it was clear that his own bravado led to the knockdown.

While Gamboa has clear physical gifts, his recklessness will not bode well should he meet the elite of the 130-135 pounders. 

Scoring of the bout was all for Gamboa: Judge Raul Caiz, 97-92; Patricia Jarman, 97-92; and Dalby Shirley 99-91. JEBoxing scored the bout 98-91.


Alfredo Angulo, 13-0 (10 KOs), Mexico, 154, stopped talented Richar Gutierrez, 24-2 (14 KOs), Colombia, 152, at 2:48 of round 5 of a scheduled 10.

Angulo, a former amateur star, used a high-volume attack punctuated with thudding right hands to the body and head of Gutierrez. He also weathered a strong 4th round attack by Gutierrez and by round’s end turned the tide.

In round 5, a series of strong combinations led to a well-timed stoppage as Gutierrez stumbled around the ring clearly stunned.

JEBoxing scored the bout 40-36 Angulo for the 4 completed rounds.


James Kirkland, 22-0 (19 KOs), Austin, Texas, 154, knocked out former Olympian Eromosele Albert, 21-2 (10 KOs), Nigeria, 152 1/2, at 1:06 of round one of the first televised bout of the evening. 

The southpaw Kirkland attacked immediately at the bell forcing Albert to exchange. Kirkland scored the 1st of 2 knockdowns in the round before a minute had passed. Albert was disoriented from the knockdown and was quickly belted to the canvas for the second and final time. 

Referee Joe Cortez stopped the bout seeing that Albert could not continue.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Requiem for a Light-Heavyweight

By JE Grant

Former heavyweight belt-wearer Chris Byrd found that at 37-years of age he couldn’t go home again --- home that is to the light-heavyweight division were he began his career in 1993.

Shaun George, 17-2-2 (8 KOs), Brooklyn, 175, found an early home for his right hand to the chin of Byrd, 40-5-1 (21 KOs), Las Vegas, 174, dropping him early in round one and pummeling him throughout their contest enroute to a 9th round stoppage win.

Byrd was flat from the opening bell. Fighting at his lightest weight since his second bout as a pro, none of his infrequent punches slowed George at any point. 

George hurt Byrd in the opener with a straight right and put him down with a quick follow-up. Despite rising quickly, it was clear Byrd was off balance and in trouble throughout the round.

Each succeeding round was merely a repeat of the first minus the knockdown. As George circled, landing sharp right hand counters, Byrd simply followed in almost a plodding way.

In the ninth, Byrd sported markings to his face --- something that was rare in his long heavyweight tenure. George sensed the opportunity to end the night and did so with strong combinations. 

A George right hand to the head caused Byrd to lose control of his back foot. He landed in an awkward manner on his left side as his left leg shot oddly to the right. It was apparent after the bout that he also injured his left shoulder in the fall.

Byrd made the count but was in no shape to continue. George pounced, raining blows as Byrd crumpled in a corner ending what is likely final moment in an otherwise remarkable boxing career. Time of the knockout was 2:45.

JEBoxing scored the bout 80-71for George through the eight rounds completed.

Friday, May 02, 2008

De La Hoya - Forbes Prediction

By JE Grant

When former multiple division champion Oscar De La Hoya steps into the ring Saturday night, his legion of fans will briefly suspend their knowledge that their 35 year-old hero is far on the downside of a career that has at times flickered with greatness.

They will be able to set aside the understanding that he has lost 3 of his last 5 bouts and one of his wins -- vs. Felix Sturm -- kinda looked like a loss too.

All this is possible because the hand-picked would-be spoiler, Steve Forbes, just does not have the guns in the arsenal to keep the bigger, stronger, faster and generally more skilled De La Hoya honest.  Forbes' respectable 33-5 record, fought mostly near the lightweight limit, is sprinkled with only 9 knockouts. While he briefly held a world title, he has never engaged the mega-talents that Oscar has faced --- and sometimes beaten.

Forbes raised his profile by participating against the journeymen of the Contender series in 2006 and advancing to the finals against bigger men. He failed to get past the limited Grady Brewer, who sported a 21-11 record.

Nonetheless, he showed competence and a professional dedication that registered with the matchmakers of Golden Boy.

The 5'10" De La Hoya will have plenty of breathing room against the much shorter Forbes (5-'7) by powering home a jab early. Forbes will attempt to move under the bigger man's attack only to find uppercuts and potent hooks to the body. At every turn De La Hoya will outspeed him, outpunch him and will ultimately throw and land so many combinations that Forbes will leave the ring with the feeling he never had a chance. And, in fact, he doesn't have a chance.

Look for a few rounds of Oscar peppering a game and physically fit Forbes before he closes the show with an overwhelming display of firepower that Forbes cannot absorb.

An early night for Golden Boy. De La Hoya by KO in 5.
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