THREE PUNCH COMBO — ESPN returns this Saturday with a card from Oklahoma City that is somewhat flying under the radar but does offer plenty of intrigue. The headline fight is a 168-pound title fight that could be a shoot-out between champion Gilberto Ramirez (37-0, 25 KO’s) and undefeated Columbian challenger Roamer Alexis Angulo (23-0, 20 KO’s). In the co-feature, 140- pound prospect Alex Saucedo (27-0, 17 KO’s) takes a big step up in competition when he faces all-action fighter Lenny Zappavigna (37-3, 27 KO’s) in a crucial fight for both men.
Gilberto Ramirez (pictured on the left with Alex Saucedo) is a known commodity to boxing fans, but Roamer Alexis Angulo is not. So just who is this Angulo? Well, his record looks good but like many South American fighters it has also been built on less than formidable opposition. However, he has not been exclusive to the South American fight scene having fought all over the world including three appearances in the United States. Angulo is an aggressive fighter by nature. He has legitimate power in his right hand and possesses a very good sneaky right uppercut when on the inside. Angulo won’t win a boxing match against Ramirez but has a puncher’s chance in this fight. With both fighters showing liabilities on defense and both possessing power in their fists, I think we could get a quick but fun fan-friendly fight.
Without question, the best fight this coming week is the contest between Saucedo and Zappavigna. Saucedo is a good looking young prospect with all the tools to take it to the next level. He is a boxer- puncher who possesses above average speed and power. Saucedo, who will be fighting in his hometown, is an excellent combination puncher and just appears very fluid inside the ring. His issue has been that he gets baited into fire fights. In Zappavigna, Saucedo faces an opponent who knows only one way to fight. Zappavigna will press the fight coming forward and look to make this a war. Given Saucedo’s history, we are likely to see many give and take exchanges between these two combatants. This fight is guaranteed to have plenty of action for however long it lasts and should be the one contest that boxing fans make a priority not to miss this week.
Tune-Up Fights Gone Wrong
This past Thursday, former lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin (23-2, 16 KO’s) suffered a stunning second round technical knockout loss to Roberto Ramirez (18-2-1, 13 KO’s). This was supposed to be a mere tune-up fight for Zlaticanin as he was looking to regroup from his defeat to Mikey Garcia in 2017. However, Zlaticanin now takes a big step back.
Zlaticanin is not alone in having suffered such a shocking setback as tune-up fights do not always follow the script. Here are three other recent examples of tune-up fights not going according to plan.
James Kirkland vs. Nobuhiro Ishida, 04/09/2011
After a two year absence from the ring due to legal troubles, undefeated power punching sensation James Kirkland returned in March of 2011. After two quick knockout wins, Kirkland (27-0, 24 KO’s) took on the unheralded Nobuhiro Ishida (22-6-2, 7 KO’s) in what was supposed to be a nice showcase for him on a big pay-per-view card. However, the supposedly light hitting Ishida dropped and hurt Kirkland within the first thirty seconds of the fight. Kirkland never recovered and was dropped two more times in the first round before the fight was stopped. This was one of 2011’s biggest stunners but Kirkland would redeem himself later in the year with a come from behind technical knockout win against Alfredo Angulo.
David Lemieux vs. Joachim Alcine, 12/10/2011
David Lemieux was considered to be one the sport’s bright young future stars entering 2011 but a shocking loss to Marco Antonio Rubio in April in a title eliminator put the brakes to his career. In his comeback fight in December, Lemieux (25-1, 24 KO’s) faced former 154-pound belt holder Joachim Alcine (32-2-1, 19 KO’s). In his last two fights, Alcine had been stopped in one round by Alfredo Angulo and fought to a draw with journeyman Jose Medina.
Alcine was thought to be sharply on the downside of his career and this was supposed to be a nice confidence-builder for Lemieux against a name opponent following a devastating loss. But Alcine did not get that script and instead out-boxed as well as out-hustled Lemieux. Alcine would earn a well-deserved decision victory that shocked boxing fans and sent Lemieux’s career significantly back for a prolonged period of time.
Chad Dawson vs. Tommy Karpency, 10/04/2014
After losing by knockout to both Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson, Chad Dawson looked to rebuild his career in 2014. A quick knockout win against George Blades in June got Dawson back in the win column. In October, Dawson (32-2, 18 KO’s) received a Showtime televised slot against club fighter Tommy Karpency (23-4-1, 14 KO’s), a fight that was supposed to showcase Dawson for something bigger in 2015. Karpency had struggled whenever he had taken a step up in competition and the expectation was for an easy night’s work for Dawson. But Karpency brought the fight to Dawson from the start and his constant pressure seemed to surprise the former light heavyweight champion. Dawson had his moments but in the end the judges sided with Karpency, awarding him a split decision victory in what was a huge upset.
Remembering The End of The Comeback of James “Buster” Douglas
June 25th marked the 20th anniversary of what was essentially the end of the ring comeback of former heavyweight champion James “Buster” Douglas. After losing his heavyweight title to Evander Holyfield in October of 1990, Douglas would balloon up in weight to over 400 pounds and eventually go into a diabetic coma that nearly ended his life. After getting back into the boxing gym to get back into shape, Douglas got the itch to make an unthinkable comeback.
The comeback began nearly six years after the defeat to Holyfield in June of 1996 against journeyman Tony LaRosa. Douglas would showcase that patented left jab against the tough but limited LaRosa in stopping him in three rounds. In the span of about a year, Douglas would rattle off five more wins against journeymen type opponents as the comeback gained some momentum. By the summer of 1997, Douglas was ready to step up but a hand injury postponed a proposed fight in the fall of that year against John Ruiz.
Other fights that Douglas hoped to get also did not materialize and the layoff grew longer. Wanting to get back into the ring against a name, Douglas accepted a pay-per-view fight for Thursday, June 25th, 1998 against Lou Savarese. Savarese was coming off two losses on HBO in 1997. One was a controversial decision loss to George Foreman and the other by knockout in an exciting fight against contender David Izon. If his comeback was to be taken seriously, Douglas needed to impressively defeat Savarese.
In the first minute of the first round, Savarese floored Douglas with a counter right hand. Douglas was visibly hurt when he got to his feet and would be dropped again a minute later by an overhand right. From there, Savarese would close the show quickly, putting Douglas down a third time to end the one-sided fight.
It was the type of setback for Douglas from which it was nearly impossible to recover. He would have two more fights, winning both against inferior opposition, before hanging up the gloves. But the remarkable comeback attempt essentially came to an end the night Douglas was stopped in the opening round by Savarese twenty years ago this week.
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