HBO 9:30 PM, Saturday, September 29th, 2012 from The Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, CT
Edwin Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs) vs. Jason Escalera (13-0-1, 12 KOs)
Weight Class: Super Middleweight (168 Pounds)
Analysis: This is a really bad show. The matchups are poor, plain and simple. I do not expect fireworks in any of these bouts. You are more likely to fall asleep than stand up in excitement. Hekc, you are more likely to fall asleep than turn to the person you are sitting next to and comment on how good the bout is. This poor card is capped with a super middleweight bout between Edwin Rodriguez and Jason Escalera. Both fighters are prospects. Rodriquez is untested, but looks experienced compared to Escalera who hasn’t even faced a handful of fighters with a winning record. Rodriguez is the better fighter and will win this bout. He doesn’t have great power. His skill set is decent. In this caliber of a fight, that will be enough.
Prediction: Rodriguez 98-92
Vic Darchinyan (37-5-1, 27 KOs) vs. Luis Del Valle (16-0, 11 KOs)
Weight Class: Super Bantamweight (122 Pounds)
Analysis: This is the a decent fight for this card. Unfortunately, it is not all that good of a bout in general. Del Valle is at least a prospect who has a future and Darchinyan is a former world champion. My problem with this bout is that it could prove to be a mismatch. This is not a good fight for Darchinyan. At 35, he is getting old for the lower weight classes. Also, Darchinyan was great at 112 and 115 pounds. Once he moved up to 118 pounds, you could see a significant drop off. While he was game, Darchinyan simply could not compete at his normal standards with the larger fighters. His power did not travel and his style and stature played against him. At 122, those factors will only be magnified. He will not have enough power or size to be a threat against Del Valle. Del Valle is a young, green fighter. His youth and size are going to be his advantages. I think Darchinyan will be game, but Del Valle will squeak out a decision win.
Prediction: Del Valle 97-93
Antonin Decarie (26-1, 7 KOs) vs. Alex Perez (16-0, 9 KOs)
Weight Class: Welterweight (147 Pounds)
Analysis: This poor card finishes off with two prospects who don’t really have a future in the welterweight division. Antonin Decarie is a 29 year old prospect who has no power with a decent skill set. Alex Perez is a 30 year old southpaw with no power and a decent skill set. Sounds like an HBO fight to me. Sense the sarcasm? Like the main event, Decarie is untested but looks experienced compared to Perez. In an effort to sound like a broken record due to this card, Perez hasn’t even faced a handful of fighters with a winning record. For reasons unknown to me, Perez is actually favored in this bout. Maybe he is better than the level of opposition he has faced, but I will go with Decarie. At least he has faced a few fighters with a winning record.
Prediction: Decarie 96-94
EPIX 4:30 PM, Saturday, September 29th, 2012 from The Sport Halle, Hamburg, Germany
Alexander Povetkin (24-0, 16 KOs) vs. Hasim Rahman (50-7-2, 41 KOs)
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Title: Povetkin’s WBA Title
Analysis: This will be Povetkin’s third defense of the WBA title. After a close, controversial win over Marco Huck last time out, Povetkin has decided to reel back his level of opposition substantially. 40 year old Hasim Rahman was a good fighter for his era. In fact, he actually was the undisputed heavyweight champion… back in 2001. It is now 2012 and Rahman is way past his prime. Povetkin has shown chin issues before, so I suppose Rahman could land a lucky shot, but I doubt it. At this stage of his career, Rahman simply does not throw enough and is not quick enough. The real question is if Rahman hears the final bell. Povetkin is not a hard puncher, but he does throw punches in bunches when he wants to. Considering Rahman enters this bout over 20 pounds above his prime weight, it is quite possible he gets stopped based on fatigue. I will take Povetkin by stoppage, but I doubt it is the kind where Rahman hits the deck or is counted out.
Prediction: Povetkin KO6
Kubrat Pulev (16-0, 8 KOs) vs. Alexander Ustinov (27-0, 21 KOs)
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Analysis: These two heavyweights are meeting for a shot at the IBF title currently held by Wladimir Klitschko. Pulev hails from Bulgaria and is the European Heavyweight titlist. As I have said before, the European title is a good stepping stone to bigger titles. Pulev is coming off the biggest win of his career, an eleventh round stoppage of prospect Alexander Dimitrenko. Ustinov is from Russia. He has faced a lower level of opposition than Pulev and will be taking a step up in this bout. Neither is a big hitter, but the power advantage goes to Ustinov. I like Pulev in this bout. He will need to watch Ustinov’s power, but should be able to outwork his taller, older opponent.
Prediction: Pulev 116-112