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Ricardo Mayorga’s Road to Manny Pacquiao begins & Odlanier Solis – Ray Austin Eliminator Friday Night

By Geno McGahee

This Friday in Miami, Florida, will feature several interesting matches. The headliner is a WBC Title Eliminator between Odlanier Solis, 16-0, 12 KO’s, and Ray Austin, 28-4-4, 18 KO’s. Solis is one of those heavyweights that you want to support because he has so much potential. He has power in both hands and is very skilled, but he seems to follow the trend that others with potential have followed. Fighters like Sam Peter and Chris Arreola have allowed their lack of discipline to hold them back from achieving the success that they probably could have. They fight at a weight that is far too heavy to compete with the top guys, and Solis has been feasting on C level fighters and having no issues, but when he moves up, he cannot remain at 270 pounds.

The most notable win on the record of Solis is a second round stoppage of ring veteran, Monte Barrett. Barrett has been in the ring with the best and usually holds his own, but Solis blitzed him. Ray Austin should prove more difficult.

Austin does not have a pretty style. In fact, he is very awkward and typically does not woo the crowd with his performances. He made his early reputation by fighting to ugly draws with contenders like Mount Whitaker and Larry Donald, and would have another draw with future WBO Champion, Sultan Ibragimov. Austin would get a title shot against Wladimir Klitschko in 2007 and would be stopped in the second round when a left hook knocked him cold.

Since the defeat to Wlad, Austin has put together four wins, two of which were knockouts over former contenders in DaVarryl Williamson and Andrew Golota, which has put him into this position. He is here as the “opponent” for Solis, a future challenger for the title in most peoples’ opinions. Austin hopes to rain on the parade and pull an upset. If Solis comes in out of shape, we may just see that.

IBF Light Heavyweight Champion, Tavoris Cloud, 21-0, 18 KO’s, coming off of his impressive victory over Glen Johnson, will defend against Fulgencio Zuniga, 24-4-1, 21 KO’s. Cloud is a potential break out star in 2011 with power in both hands as well as a good chin, proven by the amount that Glen Johnson was able to land on him without much effect. Zuniga is moving up from super middleweight and will be the heavy underdog going in, as he has lost by knockout to Middleweight Kelly Pavlik and Super Middleweight, Lucian Bute. Look for Cloud to win in quick fashion.

The always marketable Ricardo Mayorga, 28-7-1, 22 KO’s, returns after some infighting with Don King and a failed transition to the world of mixed martial arts. He will be taking on Michael Walker, 19-5-2, 12 KO’s, a loser in five of his last six fights. Mayorga hasn’t been in the ring since September of 2008, when Shane Mosley flattened him in the 12th round of their evenly fought bout. Mayorga’s 3-4, without a knockout in his last seven fights, and three of his defeats have been via knockout, but there is still the push for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao.

Don King knows how to market a guy like Mayorga. He’s going to set up some mediocrities with brittle chins and questionable defense and Mayorga is going to go in there and find the spot and end the fight with his punching power. The end goal is to get in there with Pacquiao, even if it’s a “stay busy” fight for Manny. That “stay busy” fight will be the biggest payday that Mayorga can get at this point and King and he both know it.

Despite the wanting by both King and Mayorga for a Pacquiao fight, it is unlikely…at least on the surface. With the continual talks of Pacquiao having one or two more fights before he retires, it’s doubtful that he would take on a mismatch of this proportions, but Don King can be persuasive. Expect Mayorga to starch Walker early, light up a cigarette, and then call out Pacquiao. He may not have the skills but he is certainly an amusing character.

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