Miami- This evening the world of Boxing will see four of the best fighters in the sport take center stage as both HBO and Showtime have fight cards slated. On HBO, it’ll be a Super Middleweight’s Joe Calzaghe (42W-0L, 31 KO’s) squaring off against Peter Manfredo Jr. (26W-3L, 12KO’s), and on Showtime it’ll be Diego Corrales (40W-4L, 33KO’s) versus Joshua Clottey (30W-2L, 20KO’s). Although Joe Calzaghe and Diego Corrales have emerged as the fight time favorites, there’s reason to think their opponents might be primed to score upsets. Speculation is one thing but there’s only one way to find out, that’s in the ring. While we wait to see the fighters go toe to toe tonight, to assist in helping fight fans break the fights down MVN has put together a comprehensive look at all the fighters and what could possibly get them over hump, or indeed prove that a few of them may be over the hill. Super Middleweight Champion Joe Calzaghe (42W-0L-30KO’s)
- Strengths: Extremely high output during the course of his fights. Known to wear opponents down with punches by the bunches and flurries that make opponents worry. Very well conditioned. Experience is a major plus for Calzaghe as he is currently the longest tenured Champion in the sport of professional boxing. His experience has landed him decisions over many highly notable fighters, Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy being the most recent in a very one-sided affair. Chin is very strong and is seldom seen hurt in fights. Defense and ability to slip punches (when not fatiguing) is highly underrated.
- Weaknesses: Has been known to take a series of punches in order to setup a barrage of his own which can be an issue against a fighter with great strength. Despite being known as a well conditioned fighter, recent matches have seen him sort of wear down in the late rounds. Seems to be open and accessible to the right cross when it follows a quick combination. Has been guilty of getting on his ‘bike’ during the late rounds, running from an opponent when he knows the scorecard is wrapped up based on his heavy output early in the fight.
Peter Manfredo Jr. (26W-3L-12Ko’s)
- Strengths: Known to be a very active fighter. Very gritty as he takes a lickin’ and keeps tickin’. Throws alot of combinations and makes good use of his jab. Knows how to mix his shots up and seems to have a good knack for knowing when to use certain shots to his advantage.
- Weaknesses: Overall his biggest weakness would probably experience when compared to that of Calzaghe. Manfredo Jr. has sparred with a few great warriors (Shane Mosley, Fernando Vargas) but has only actually gone to war with a few. Manfredo Jr. typically takes a good shot, but has been seen wobbled by fighters who deliver the ‘goods’ for the full 12 rounds.
- ‘Wildcard’/X-Factor: Peter Manfredo Jr.’s trainer, the great “Sugar” Ray Leonard won a fight 20 years ago against “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler on this day that he was expected to (and in the eyes of many in fact did) lose.
Fight Prediction: Will Calzaghe’s “O” finally go? Don’t count on it. In the eyes of many boxing insider’s it’s not merely bound to happen. At least not on this night. Manfredo Jr. will have his moments where he will show guts, grit, and lots of determination but the experience gap is far too wide to be ignored and on this stage across the pond it’ll take a an awful bad night for Calzaghe to drop the decision in front of his home crowd. I expect Calzaghe to wear down the naturally smaller and slightly less talented Manfredo Jr. and win somewhere after the 8th round. (Calzaghe by late stoppage) Diego “Chico” Corrales (40W-4L-30KO’s)
- Strengths: Very busy fighter, known to wear opponents down with aggressive action that rarely slows down during the course of the fight. Decent power in lower divisions but is a naturally bigger man which means it should translate well in his first fight in the Welterweight divison. Fights a very good game in close. Has alot of heart. Known to get up after multiple knockdowns and do major damage. Experience is an understatement as he’s been in the ‘Great Blue Abyss’ with many notables including Floyd Mayweather Jr., Jose Luis Castillo, Acelino Freitas, and Joel Casamayor. Loves to engage in war and doesn’t back down. Better than average overall skills that include an excellent jab.
- Weaknesses: Has tendency to stop defending late in fights. Whether this is caused by fatigue or desperation to get the job done is unknown but it happens without fail and has been the reason for nearly all of his defeats on record. As a Lightweight he was wobbled a few times despite having a decent chin so that leads to heavy speculation in terms of whether or not he will be able to handle a true powerful welter like Clottey.
Joshua “Hitter” Clottey (30W-2L-20KO’s)
- Strengths: Powerful with a capital “P”. Not only powerful but known to sustain effort and power without wearing down throughout a fight. Has a chin of granite. Throws a lot of ‘crosses’, and can often land an explosive uppercut. Keeps the pressure on with aggressive action and will land clean powershots until the bell rings every round. Has no quit in him as evidenced in his last fight with Antonio Margarito where he broke his hand in the 7th round and continued to fight, and even landed a few shots with the visibly hurt hand en route to a skeptical split decision loss. Few fighters have seen their stock actually rise after a loss but thanks to the combination of power, a granite chin, and tons of heart, Clottey has been able to defy those odds.
- Weaknesses: Not a perfect fighter but aside from average footwork, the strength of his chin and ability to wear opponents down typically nullify any weakness he does have. His experience is fairly limited but on one of (if not) the highest stage he’s ever been on, he took everything his opponent had to offer (the highly powerful Antonio Margarito) and in the minds of mostly all spectators still won the fight despite a hand injury that forced him to stop using the hand completely at one point.
- ‘Wildcard’/X-Factor: Clottey is coming in off of 10 straight wins and a highly criticized loss which he technically still ‘won’ because his career was furthered because of it, while Corrales is coming in off of two straight losses.
- Fight Prediction: Diego Corrales has the experience and a wide array of skills to go along with it but this time around I just see him entering deep waters with no obvious way to stay afloat as he steps up in weight for the first time against a man most see to be way too powerful. If he (Corrales) can use his speed and try to outbox the slightly slower Joshua Clottey that may be his best chance to win. Unfortunately that “If” will be a very big one because his tendency to go toe to toe will kick in at some point, and that’s precisely when the powerful Clottey will capitalize and end his night. This fight is a tough one to call because you don’t know exactly which Corrales will show up. If Corrales sticks and moves he wins, but if he tries to go toe to toe, he loses. My prediction…(Clottey in late round stoppage)
Tonight’s fights will be aired exclusively on HBO and Showtime. The Manfredo Jr/Calzaghe fight will be at 5pm est/2pm pst airing live from Cardiff, Wales and the Showtime Card will be 9pm est/6pm pst airing live from Springfield, MO. Check out tomorrow’s post-fight coverage to breakdown the results, as well as get a better look at what lies ahead for the winners and losers.