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Prizefight Preview: Double-TripleHeader Edition

Photos: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/GBP

Photos: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/GBP

This Saturday night, HBO and Showtime will both broadcast competitive, world-class triple-headers from Las Vegas, in a night that will assuredly have a big impact on the sport going in to 2015.

In a rapid-fire edition of the Prizefight Preview, we will take a snapshot of each match, with some haphazard predictions and blatantly biased commentary along the way.

Showtime Main Event: Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander
– 12 round welterweight match
– both are former unified 140-pound champions
– winner becomes front-runner for a Floyd fight in May

This is clearly the most volatile battle of the evening, as Amir Khan may be able to finally earn the monster cash contest that he has always craved against Money Mayweather with a victory. The road to the bank vault may get rocky, however, as Alexander the Great is certainly no pushover. The St. Louie southpaw is a stylistic nightmare for most opponents with his herky-jerky punching style and overall physical strength.

KhanAlexanderLVWorkout_Hoganphotos9

Khan generally has issues with one-punch KO artists rather than counter-punchers, and I would have to say at this stage that Devon is more of the latter than the former. This fight will ultimately come down to the championship rounds, where I expect Khan’s two-handed offensive attack to be the difference as he claws his way to a close points victory in a solid, competitive boxing match.

Showtime co-feature: Keith Thurman vs. Leonard Bundu
– for Thurman’s interim WBA welterweight championship
– battle of unbeaten boxers for a title belt…rarely a bad thing…however…

I’m having a hard time envisioning anything other than a spectacular win for Thurman here. The Florida prodigy is progressively getting sharper and stronger with each outing, and should be able to out-gun his light punching opponent with overhand rights en route to a late round TKO. With the Cold War thawing, a future scrap involving One Time & the Bradley-Chaves winner could make dollars and sense for early 2015….

ThurmanBunduLVWorkout_Hoganphotos1

Showtime opener: Jermall Charlo vs. Lenny Bottai

– it’s a Charlo Brothers match…so…

Charlo will win. It won’t be competitive. Thank you for nothing, Al Haymon.

HBO Main Event: Tim Bradley vs. Diego Chaves
– welterweight match
– both fighters coming off tough losses
– both are former welterweight title holders (Bradley also a former unified 140-pound champ)

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

This fight matches an elite boxer against a hard puncher in a world-class affair…that might get disgustingly ugly In a hurry. If the referee doesn’t keep things clean, this may end up looking more like a Greco-Roman wrestling match than a modern prizefight. While there may be some quality exchanges at center ring throughout the contest, expect to see a great deal of clinching and shoving from both fighters along the ropes. When the stench clears out, Bradley will most likely be the one to have his arm raised, based on a combination of his clever in-fighting and quickness from the outside. Chaves is definitely the stronger man here, but Bradley is by far the superior athlete. Put the pennies on Desert Storm by decision, just don’t expect to see Ali-Frazier III here…more like Hogan-Warrior II….

HBO co-feature: Matt Korobov vs. Andy Lee
– vacant WBO middleweight title at stake
– winner qualifies for the GGG KO Victim Sweepstakes

For this writer, Korobov-Lee is the toughest tussle to handicap; who is Andy Lee these days? Is he still the Manny Steward protege that out-guns everybody? Or is he a shell of a former prospect holding on for dear life? Is Korobov tough enough to give us the answer? If so, why hasn’t he fought a true contender yet? So many question marks, so little answers….I’ll take Lee by a razor-thin decision, for no other reason than the fact that I’m 5/8ths Irish, and my people have suffered long enough since the Pocket Rocket fizzled out a decade ago (Now THAT’S what I call objective journalism).

HBO opener: Mauricio Herrera vs. Jose Benavidez Jr.
– for Herrera’s interim WBA junior welterweight belt
– clash between Golden Boy & Top Rank contracted fighters

Down goes the Cold War!!! Oscar and Bob have gotten together here to give us a quality match that is a big step in the right direction in the overall healing process (which, in this writer’s opinion, is the best story in the sport circa 2014). Expect the feisty Herrera to trade combos with the unbeaten Benavidez at center ring in a match that could very well be the Fight of the Night when it’s all said and done. Ultimately, Mauricio’s savvy and work-rate should be the difference in the late rounds as he carves out a hard-earned decision win, although a victory for the young buck would not be a shocker.

That’s it for this week! Make sure to set your DVR’s for the boxing bonanza, including Shiwtime Extreme bouts featuring Abner Mares and Victor Ortiz. While you’re at it, don’t hesitate to sprinkle-in the UFC matches on the Fox series of networks as an added combat sports bonus (I got JDS, Meathead, and Struve by evil KO’s on Saturday, and the female wrecking ball Rose Namajunas by submission in the women’s world title finale on Friday).

Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Lousy Festivus, and a Beautiful Boxing Day!

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