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The Boxing Weekend: Vitali Klitschko Headlines

 By Geno McGahee

ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights
Quebec, Canada

This Friday, Librado Andrade, 28-3, 21 KO’s, returns to the ring to take on battle-tested Eric Lucas, 39-7-3, 15 KO’s.  Andrade is coming off of his worst defeat, a fourth round stoppage loss to Lucian Bute, the IBF Super Middleweight Champion, in a rematch of a fight that many thought that he should have won.  When he first faced Bute, he dropped him in the final moments of the last round, but what most perceive as bias officiating cost him the title.  The second meeting was a disaster and may have shown that Andrade is an old 31 years of age.

Andrade has taken on some of the best in the 168 pound division, including Mikkel Kessler, Yusaf Mack, and Lucian Bute, and carries a big punch and a lot of determination.  He is exactly the wrong opponent for a guy like Eric Lucas, a man with only 15 knockouts in his 49 fights, and when you consider that he has been stopped in 4 of his 7 defeats, it’s hard to imagine him making it to the final bell this Friday night.

Middleweight hopeful, Renan St Juste, 21-1-1, 14 KO’s, will be in a ten round featured bout against Marcus Upshaw, 12-4-1, 6 KO’s.  Super featherweight Benoit Gaudet, 21-2, 8 KO’s, will also be seeing action against Pipino Cuevas, JR., 14-4, 12 KO’s, in a ten round bout. 

Fists of Steel PPV
Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

For 24.95, the suggested retail price, you can rent an interesting pay per view…well, hopefully interesting, as the WBC Heavyweight Champion, Vitali “Dr. IronFist” Klitschko, 39-2, 37 KO’s, faces the unknown Polish heavyweight, Albert Sosnowski, 45-2-1, 27 KO’s, for the title.  Klitschko has made easy work of slow and plodding fighters like Sam Peter and Chris Arreola, and had no problem cruising to a decision against the passive Kevin Johnson, but he will be facing something different Saturday night in Germany.  So too will the challenger.

On paper, Peter, Arreola, and Johnson had more credentials and a better chance to upset the elder Klitschko brother, but Sosnowski is in good condition and highly motivated to take home the title.  He is a boxer/puncher with decent movement and has a decent left hook.  If he can weather the initial storm without too much damage, he may be able to come on late and make it interesting.  Let’s hope so.

Cruiserweight turned heavyweight, Johnathon Banks, 24-1, 17 KO’s, will be looking to further his march into the 200+ world when he takes on Jason Gavern, 19-7-3, 8 KO’s.  Gavern, on paper, is far from impressive, but he upset top contender Manuel Quezada in his last fight by split decision, stopping an 18 fight winning streak.  Gavern will have to be on top of his game if he plans to make it back to back upset wins.

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