The gates have opened and the big fights are rolling in! Lomachenko lost the pound-for-pound crown earlier this month, but this Saturday three huge Halloween fights could cause more shocks to the ‘pound-for-pound’ list.
Former undisputed cruiserweight boss Oleksandr Usyk tests his metal against heavyweight rock Dereck Chisora, Floyd Mayweather protégé Gervonta Davis and four-weight champ Leo Santa Cruz fight over two belts, and blade-like bantamweight king Naoya Inoue defends his titles against all-action Australian Jason Moloney.
“Derrrr-rickkkk! Derrrr-rickkkk!” has been howled from the banks of the Dnieper and the dank gyms of Kiev, and this Saturday Usyk gets Dereck all to himself in the squared circle in the hallowed Wembley Arena. But Chisora is ready and confident he can silence the unbeaten former 200-pound unified champ.
Although it’s Usyk who has moved up from cruiserweight, he’s the taller man and he’s probably naturally a bigger unit than Chisora-conquerer David Haye. Also, Usyk fought in the unrestricted Super Heavyweight division for part of his tenure as an amateur, where he beat Britain’s 2016 Olympic silver medalist and rising professional star Joe Joyce.
The natural heavy Chisora definitely has the edge in power though. Not always a precision weapon, the hands of Del-boy have produced stunning KOs of David Price, Artur Szpilka and Carlos Takam in recent bouts. Most expect the Finchley fighter to “put it on” the Ukrainian early doors, but he might save the gung-ho stuff for later in the contest.
Usyk is almost balletic for a 15-and-a-half-stone man, and he’s bound to use that fancy footwork in the opening sessions, but he’ll be holding his ground and picking off Chisora by the middle rounds. Dereck’s age has ticked-up to the late 30s, but he seems as good as ever. The Londoner is more focused and motivated, and he’s in top nick, but I just don’t believe he’ll be able to lay a glove on Usyk.
We’ve been tricked out of some top face-to-face trolling from these mad hatters, but we should get treated to a stoppage win. For reference, Usyk systematically broke down Chisora’s pal Tony Bellew over eight rounds, while Haye slept Chisora in five sessions – this one gets stopped in the second half of the bout.
Bet of the bout: Usyk in rounds 7-12.
Top of the undercard is the lightweight clash between ex-featherweight titleholder Lee Selby and ‘Ferocious’ George Kambosos Jnr (21:00). I expect the business from both men will be back and forth, and the class of Selby will be matched by the size and freshness of Kambosos. Back the draw here.
The early fights of the night include Savannah Marshall versus Hannah Rankin in an all-British world championship middleweight scrap, heavyweight throw-down between Dave Allen and Chris Lovejoy, and Tommy McCarthy against Bilal Laggoune for the European cruiserweight strap. Check out Marshall on points, Allen by KO in rounds 3-4 and Laggoune by decision.
The Alamodome in San Antonio is hosting a boxing night fit for Halloween – firstly, there’s the frightful prospect of having actual fans in an arena and then there’s the bizarre situation of having belts from the super feather and lightweight divisions on the line for the same fight. The governing bodies will do anything to make money, but Davis and Santa Cruz seem happy with the special arrangements.
Leo has been the boss in multiple weight classes, but his best days were at 122 pounds when the opponents couldn’t handle his blend of relentless pressure and size. Undefeated superstar Gevonta has the speed and power to not only nullify LSC, but beat him in style. Davis’ weight issues and out-of-the-ring antics will catch up with him one day, but it won’t be this weekend.
Bet of the bout: Davis by KO.
If anyone fighting this Saturday can legitimately claim the top spot on the ‘p4p list’ already it’s Inoue. The Japanese fighter has cleaned up all the divisions at 118lbs and down, and he’s only 27. Moloney is good enough to compete with any person at bantamweight, but ‘The Monster’ is out-of-this-world.
Coming into this bout, at the eerily quiet bubble at the Las Vegas MGM Grand, Inoue stopped four of his last five opponents inside three rounds – all of which were world championship level. Moloney has the guts to hang in there and the bang to get some respect, but only for a couple of rounds.
Bet of the bout: Inoue in rounds 3-4
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