ESPN2 Friday Night Fights
This Friday, on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, junior middleweight Sherzod Husanov, 14-0-1, 7 KO’s, takes on Jhon Berrio, 15-6, 11 KO’s, in a ten round bout. Husanov is the WBC International Light Middleweight Champion, claiming victory over Timur Nergadze, a fighter he drew with in their first encounter. Other than Nergadze, Husanov has not faced anyone of note. The trend continues Friday night as he takes on the upset-minded, Berrio. In his last ten fights, he is 4 wins, 6 losses, and doesn’t appear to present much of a challenge. This is a rather weak main event for Friday’s show.
The super middleweight co-feature is a similar story, as undefeated Maxim Vlasov, 17-0, 8 KO’s, takes on Jerson Ravelo, 20-4, 12 KO’s, in a ten round bout. Ravelo has lost two of his last four, both by stoppage, and his victories are not against anyone of note. Vlasov will have to prove that he is on the upward path in the division by decisively beating Ravelo.
Andre Ward Vs Allan Green
The tournament favorite versus the dark horse will be the showcase this Saturday night on Showtime, when WBA Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward, 21-0, 13 KO’s, takes on tournament newbie, Allan Green, 29-1, 20 KO’s, in a 12 round title fight.
There has been high drama in the tournament with the Americans upsetting the European favorites. Andre Dirrell was the first to put a blemish on the career of Arthur Abraham, and Andre Ward confused and battered the then favorite, Mikkel Kessler, winning a wide decision. Ward picked up 2 points for his victory and now takes on the eager power-puncher, Green, in hopes that he will take the lead and take one step closer to becoming the recognized best 168 pounder.
Green has no points and he doesn’t seem to really care. He was overlooked as a participant at one point, when former Middleweight Champion, Jermain Taylor was allowed in. Taylor was 1-3 in his four prior fights going into the tournament and was stopped in two of them. His only victory was over a shot Jeff Lacy, and when pitted against Arthur Abraham, he was beaten and stopped and pulled out of the rest of the tournament. Green finally got his chance.
Overlooked in the tournament, he is also being overlooked in this upcoming bout, despite his credentials and huge punch. Ward’s performance against Kessler put him in another league while Green fought most of his career in obscurity and isn’t as well known. The truth of the fight is that this is an even fight and there is a big chance for Green to score the surprise knockout.
In one of his early fights, Ward was dropped by Darnell Boone, a fighter with only 7 knockouts in his 17 wins. To his credit, Ward arose and won, and has battled big punchers in Edison Miranda and Mikkel Kessler, but neither man is as accurate or quick as Green. Green is a far superior fighter offensively then either man.
The common opponent of note between the two fighters is Edison Miranda. On paper, with Green losing a 10 round decision, being dropped twice in the process, and Ward easily outpointing Miranda, it seems that it’s a no brainer that the champion will retain his title. The comparison is very misleading.
In 2007, Green faced a fresh and prime Miranda. His only defeat was a disputed decision to then IBF Middleweight Champion, Arthur Abraham. He was on his way to a showdown with Jermain Taylor, the then Middleweight Champion, or a rematch with Abraham. HBO featured many of his bouts, including his knockout of Willie Gibbs in the first round, and Gibbs is a very good fighter. Miranda was a beast at this time, and Green handled himself well, battling health problems before even entering the ring, but still making it the distance and knocking Miranda down in the process.
What a difference two years can make in boxing. After defeating Green, Miranda would go on to face Kelly Pavlik and take a vicious beating, crumbling to the floor in round seven. In a rematch with Arthur Abraham, he would be stopped in four rounds. The battles inside of the ring had taken their toll and he was a mere shell of himself when he slowly trudged on against Ward, losing a wide decision.
What the Miranda and Kessler victories have shown us is that Ward can handle slow plodders, no matter what punch they bring into the ring. He is not facing a slow plodder Saturday night. He is facing an angry and powerful top contender, eager to prove he belong, and equally eager to wrap the title around his waist. This is one of those fights that you do not want to miss and this could very well be another big surprise in a tournament that has been full of them so far.
On the undercard, heavyweight Tony Thompson, 34-2, 22 KO’s, continues his path to another title shot when he takes on journeyman, Friday Ahunanya, 24-6-3, 13 KO’s, in a ten round bout. Thompson had a crack at Wladimir Klitschko, the IBF/IBO/WBO Champion, but seemed overanxious, awed by the event, and was stopped late in the fight. He has all the tools to be a top guy in the division and hopes to defeat the tough Ahunanya Saturday night.