3 Punch Combo: Derevyanchenko-Johnson Plus The Big Sham and More

THREE PUNCH COMBO — It is a busy week for the FS1 network as they will be televising three separate live boxing shows, the best of which will take place Friday night from Miami, OK.

In the main event, Sergiy Derevyanchenko (10-0, 8 KO’s) takes on Tureano Johnson (20-1, 14 KO’s). The winner will be installed as a future mandatory challenger for a 160-pound belt. Derevyanchenko (pictured in his last fight against Kemahl Russell) was a decorated amateur whose extensive amateur experience and pedigree put him on the fast track when he turned pro. His nickname is “The Technician” and that could not be more appropriate. Technically sound and heavy handed, Derevyanchenko is a precision puncher who uses his feet to set up the perfect angles to land cleanly on his opponent. In Johnson, he is taking a big step up in class. Johnson was recently on the verge of a title shot himself before an injury stalled his career. He is back and hungry to get into contention at 160. A volume puncher with good hand speed, Johnson should provide a good test for the highly touted Derevyanchenko. Expect to see a solid well fought fight between two very good pros.

In the co-feature, Immanuwel Aleem (17-0-1, 10 KO’s) takes on Hugo Centeno Jr. (25-1, 13 KO’s) in another contest in the 160 pound division. Aleem, coming off a brutal war in January against Ievgen Khytrov in a fight that will get a lot of consideration for fight of the year, takes on another tall order in Centeno. Aleem is a boxer puncher with very good hand speed. At his best, he is using his legs and speed working combinations with his fast hands behind the left jab. But as evidenced in the Khytrov fight, he can be baited into exchanging with his opponent. Though it may not be the best strategy, it makes for plenty of entertainment for the fans. Centeno is tall for a 160 pounder, standing at 6’1 ½,” and, as this would suggest, fights best using range working behind the jab. However, he is a good inside fighter too and often finds himself more comfortable working on the inside. This one is evenly matched and could turn explosive.

In a busy week for the sport, this Friday card is flying under the radar big time. But don’t forget about it as we have two evenly matched fights that should produce some fan friendly action. It’s a show that boxing fans should not miss.

 The Fight Card I Am Watching Saturday

We all know the big event that is taking place on Saturday in Las Vegas (more on that later). But that will not be the fight card I will be watching. Instead, my focus will be on the HBO card headlined by the return of Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KO’s) who is facing veteran brawler Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KO’s) for a 154-pound belt.

The reason for my decision has nothing to do with one event being on pay-per-view for close to $100 and the other being on a network that I subscribe to. When a pay-per-view card features a quality main fight, I gladly pay the money.

As for the HBO show, aside from being the better option, I happen to like the card as a whole and am very much looking forward to it. The main event between Cotto and Kamegai should be a fan friendly fight. The future Hall of Famer Cotto has been out of the ring since November of 2015 and is looking to make one last run in the sport. It will be interesting to see what he has left in the tank following the layoff. Kamegai is a straight forward brawler, plain and simple. He will bring the fight to Cotto and be in Cotto’s grill all night. Kamegai will throw and throw some more, abandoning defense for offense. Cotto will have plenty of opportunities to land but if he has slipped could get hit quite a bit. This is one of those fights that has the ingredients to be a classic. And I am not missing it as it happens.

In the televised co-feature, Rey Vargas (29-0, 22 KO’s) defends his newly won 122-pound title against Ronny Rios (28-1, 13 KO’s). As much as I like Cotto-Kamegai, I love this fight even more. Vargas-Rios is very evenly matched between two fighters who are not afraid to let their hands go and have defensive liabilities that can be exploited. In other words, it will be no doubt be an action fight. Vargas is a classic boxer-puncher who possesses a very good left that he throws with authority to the head as well as the body. He will use his legs to set up angles to fire off combinations. His biggest flaw is he has a habit of holding his left very low, sometimes at his hip, and this exposes his chin to right hands. Rios is a boxer-puncher as well but more aggressive in nature than Vargas. He relies on volume and will probably be the busier fighter. But by doing so, Rios leave himself open to being countered. As I break this fight down, I can’t see anyway this can’t be just a good professional action fight.

I am not sure how many fight fans will heed my advice but the card that should be viewed live this weekend is the HBO doubleheader featuring Cotto-Kamegai and Vargas-Rios. We have compelling fights that will surely not leave fans disappointed.

Save Your Money – Here is How Mayweather-McGregor Plays Out

 The fight that I never thought would happen between Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0, 26 KO’s) and Conor McGregor (0-0) is going to take place on Saturday in Las Vegas. As I wrote last week, the undercard is solid. But the main event, well that is another matter. As far as a big pay-per-view main event, Mayweather-McGregor is comparable to Tyson-McNeeley some 22 years ago. If you buy it, keep your expectations in tow. My advice is to save your money.

First, let’s state the obvious when breaking down the fight. Mayweather has been boxing for a very long time. An accomplished amateur who won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics, Mayweather has trained much of his life in just boxing. As a pro, he has fought on a high level for a long period of time and is one of the greats of his generation. McGregor is a professional mixed martial artist. His training in just boxing began relatively recently. Is this like a football player suddenly turning to boxing to give it a go? No it’s not the same, but it is also not that far off. The history of athletes such as football players making the sudden transition to boxing has, by and large, not gone well. Historically, the earlier those fighters step up in class, the shorter their career spans tend to become. McGregor is stepping up to the highest class in his first professional boxing match. This should tell everyone everything they need to know about his chances of doing anything good on Saturday.

Having only just recently begun training full time in boxing, there are bound to be flaws (too many to list) in McGregor’s game. One generality that can reasonably be assumed is that his defense will not be that great. He will undoubtedly leave plenty of openings for a skilled, quick handed boxer like Mayweather to exploit.

Looking back, the last time Mayweather faced a fighter with possibly the same defensive deficiencies he will see in McGregor was in 2005 when he faced Arturo Gatti in Atlantic City. Okay we probably will not see as many flashy combinations from Mayweather as we did in 2005, but in my opinion this fight will very much resemble Mayweather-Gatti.  Similar to the Gatti fight, Mayweather will open up more and more as the rounds progress. McGregor will get hit a lot but show heart. However, he will probably start to get busted up and his corner as well as the referee will start to get concerned about the damage he is absorbing in a one-sided fight. I see McGregor’s corner stopping the fight between rounds at some point just past the midway point of the contest.

Mayweather-McGregor is what it is. It is a money grab and a non-competitive fight.

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