ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights
An IBF Lightweight title eliminator between Ji Hoon Kim, 20-5, 17 KO’s, and Ameth Diaz, 27-9, 19 KO’s, will headline. Kim recently stopped Tyrone Harris in the fifth round in a very exiting back and forth brawl, and now eyes better things. He is a very exciting fighter, always going for the KO and always coming forward. His record may not be that impressive, but he is on a 12 fight winning streak, 11 of which were by stoppage.
Diaz recently defeated Cesar Soto by decision and lost a wide decision to Joan Guzman, but won’t be trying to find Kim as he had to with Guzman. This is a fight that was put together very well, insuring that the public would get their money’s worth. It should be a fun fight where the judges will not come into play.
WBA Heavyweight Title Eliminator
Ruslan Chagaev, 25-1-1, 17 KO’s, will be returning to the ring after his TKO loss to Wladimir Klitschko in June of 2009. The career of Chagaev has been plagued by injuries and medical problems that have kept him on the sidelines. He is one of two men that have beaten Nikolay Valuev and also holds a win over former 2-Time Champion, John Ruiz. Against Klitschko, he was unable to get anything going and now faces another big man with some boxing skills in Kali Meehan.
Meehan, 35-3, 29 KO’s, has not fought since August of 2008, but has still landed a spot in this eliminator. In the current division, it’s not a surprise that he has resurfaced as a contender. He has put together some victories prior to his time off, including a knockout of DaVarryl Williamson. He may be best known for his war with then WBO Champ, Lamon Brewster, losing a controversial 12 round split decision. Meehan is 40 years old, but if the layoff hasn’t hurt him tremendously, expect him to come out victorious.
There is some added incentive for Meehan as well. There was a rumored sparring session between he and current WBA Champion David Haye a couple of years ago, and Haye was knocked out cold in the session. He would love the chance to do it on the big stage.
Vazquez-Marquez IV on Showtime
Certain fighters are forever linked with each other. Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, and Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez to name just a few. In the span of 12 months, these two would go to war and bring the boxing fans to their feet with the display of courage and power from the two 120 pound boxers.
In the first fight, Marquez was able to stop Vazquez in the seventh round. It was an even fight, a war from the start, but Vazquez was injured and opted to retire for the night. They would rematch five months later and it would be a reversal of fortune with Vazquez’s superior strength overcoming the boxing ability and sharpshooting of his opponent. Just seven months later, they would meet again, and it would be an all out war with Marquez coming out fast and winning early but Vazquez coming on late, rallying to take the split decision win.
Since their third encounter, both men have scored TKO wins over carefully selected opposition and now here we go again, the fourth and presumably final encounter between the two warriors.
Vazquez, 44-4, 32 KO’s, is the initial favorite to win considering that he leads 2 to 1, and when you consider that Marquez has most likely slowed down, he will present a better target for the powerhouse. Marquez, 38-5, 34 KO’s, will be attempting to keep that distance and land his straight shots, which were incredibly effective in their last meeting. Can he hold off Vazquez and what does either man have left?
When skills decline and old rivals meet, you usually get a slugfest, and the crowd will get a certain treat. The rivalry between these two is right up there with the best of all time, and there is a reason that they are meeting for a fourth time. There are plenty of questions, both from the public and the fighters as well, and there is a market for it. The boxing fans will be glued to the screen this Saturday night to see these warriors attempt to settle an ongoing score.