Huge Fight Night!!! Hatton/Urango and Valuev/McCline: Strengths, Weaknesses, Previews and Predictions

Miami, Fl- Tonight will be one of the biggest night’s of the year for boxing fans as two highly anticipated match-ups materialize, removing the ‘smoke screen’ associated within the respected divisions, giving a much clearer picture as to how the remainder of the year could unfold. In one match-up we have a clash of two giants, (literally), that will go down as the most combined weight (590.6 lbs), as well as combined height (13’6″), to ever align themselves as opponents in the ring; In the other match-up, you have two considerably smaller fighters, (welterweight’s), but both are undefeated bruisers who have a combined record of 58 – 0 with 43 KO’s. There’s only one way to see how each of these guys will truly measure up, but for the mean time, we’re gonna break the match-ups down and analyze things from a preliminary standpoint. Jr. Welterweight Matchup For IBF Strap Preview: Matchup between two of the hardest hitting pugilist in this division. Interesting fight on paper because both fighters will come forward until the break of dawn, regardless of what attack is being mounted by the opponent. Both are undefeated, (Hatton 41-0 30KO’s/Urango 17-0-1 13KO’s), and plan to leave that way but as we all know, someone’s “O” must go. Hatton has the edge in experience but has never done it on a grand scale away from England. Urango has a great amatuer background but has not faced opposition in this class and may very well be ‘out-classed’ when it’s all said and done. Ricky Hatton: No coincidence he’s called the “Hitman”. Has a very bruising style. Comes straight at you all fight long, and has perhaps the most pure punching power the division has seen in quite some time. Was the 2005 Ring Magazine “Fighter of the Year” recipient as he took the boxing world by storm, becoming the first british fighter ever to achieve this feat. Greatest accomplishment in boxing was his 11th round stoppage of Kostya Tszyu who at the time was the ‘shining star’ in the division coming off his annihilation of Zab Judah. Strength’s: Throws every punch with ‘wicked’ intentions. Stamina is excellent, has a granite chin. Great punching power in both hands, uses combinations well, and understands the ring psychology behind sustaining his attack enough to deplete his opponents strength and typically has the energy to finish him off when the right time surfaces. Weaknesses: Has recently seemed to abandon head movement that added to his defense; Being somewhat one-dimensional at times, he tends to depend on his chin-strength to get him through fights as opposed to defensive skill…This could be an issue against a fighter like Urango who has the power to keep him cautious. Has also recently had a few distractions, (promoter Frank Warren at front and center), and has never dealt with the Vegas media up close and personal for a mega fight against a foe with this kind of strength. Also has appeared somewhat shaky against a couple southpaws in his past. Juan Urango: Columbian born fighter who’s stock in the U.S. has been increasingly rising as more people become aware of his punching power. After Ricky Hatton vacated his belt in ’05, Juan would go on to win the strap by defeating the man Ricky Hatton chose not to make a title defense against, Ben Rabeh. His punching power has led most avid boxing fans to dub him “The Columbian Tyson”, knocking out 13 of 17 opponents and fighting to a draw with one of the few who escaped the canvas, (Mike Aranaoutis). Strengths: Heavy hitting southpaw. Known to use ‘quality’ chin and take a few shots to give a few shots as well. Great lateral movement and ability to cut off the ring. Mixes punches well, throwing solid groups alternating from the body to the head, and tends to be a good thinker in the ring, in terms of when he should employ those ‘grouping’ combinations and when to stick with the jab alone. Good arsenal of punches at his disposal. Weaknesses: Has a tendency to take too many punches to setup a few of his own, which could be an issue against someone who hits as hard as Hatton with as much as activity as Hatton displays. Although he has a considerable amount of amatuer matchups under his belt, he hasn’t seen the likes of Hatton at any point in his career and like Hatton, concerns are strong relative to how he will deal with the pressure of the ‘bright’ Vegas lights and all the distractions that come along with them. Also, his hand speed is good, but Hatton’s hands seem to be a little quicker to the punch and if this surfaces, one would have to question his ability to sustain energy and effort while taking the type of punishment Hatton can give. Prediction: So far this year I’m 1-0 in matches I’ve predicted and the last one went down exactly how the prediction was laid out. This fight I think will be more or less the same. I see Hatton coming out trying to impress the HBO viewers and his ‘Brit-fans’ in the stands as he shells out a few huge bombs that get the attention of Urango in the beginning. I see Urango analyzing Hatton in the first round looking for strategy, (like he typically does by his own admission), and going back to his stool after the round knowing full well that he will have to make it a dog-fight until the end if he expects to win. After this assessment, I see Urango trading heavy shots with Hatton, using late round flurries and combinations to steal rounds, doing more than what was expected but not enough. In the end, I see a very close fight in which both fighter’s will have their moments, but based on the media hype and the future for boxing, (as annointed by the press), I see Hatton getting a decision on the scorecards that most who view the fight will walk away feeling has given the sport another ‘black eye’. Hatton Gets The Decision, Urango Gets The Respect!!! (Hatton By Unanimous Decision) Heavyweight Showdown For The WBA Strap Preview: Appropriately billed “Two Big”, this fight will be a spectacle that will perhaps never be seen again in the world of boxing as the two giants involved both stand well above the average pugilist in the sport today. Valuev (45-0 33KO’s), comes in unbeaten, yet technically unproven, while McCline (38-6 23KO’s), comes in proven, yet still beaten. The intrigue in this matchup is based closely on the last two statements. One fighter who’s size has basically allowed him to bully everyone will now face a man who is a little too big to be bullied, and with both possessing knockout power, the only true guarantee is that someone won’t be standing when the match is over. Nikolay Valuev: Towering figure who’s size gives him the biggest “X” factor (intimidation), since “Iron”Mike Tyson came on the scene in the mid ’80’s. He has racked up a an impressive undefeated record, but the talent level of his opposition has been credited to what most would consider ‘cupcakes’ in a heavyweight division that is completely watered down. Biggest names on his resume is Larry Donald and John Ruiz, two fighter’s who themselves are quite marginal in talent at best, and very low in the respective ranking charts. Strengths: Size. Pure and simple. In a sport where one is typically taught to attack the ‘head’ of the snake and the body will fall, Valuev makes himself the true exception, as most of his opponents can barely connect that high. His wingspan resembles that of a B747’s, and for a man his size, he uses his jab pretty well. Good stamina for a man carrying 320+ lbs for 12 rounds. Weaknesses: Never been REALLY tested to the chin. Not active enough to outpoint a fighter who can stay busy and slip his long, telegraphed jab. Level of competition is quite suspect, and most are completely unknown in the american boxing circuit. Punches are painfully slow, and reaction to opponent punches typically is as well, which is why he usually takes a great share of hits. Doesn’t really possess a one-punch knockout shot that you would think comes along with a size and frame that big. Jameel McCline: Pretty good fighter. Has been around for quite a while on the boxing circuit and has been in the rings with the the best that the recent heavyweight class has had to offer. Came up short in two attempts to become Champion, (Chris Byrd and Wladmir Klitschko), but both were somewhat competitive losses to two men who simply out ‘classed’ him and were technically better boxers. Strengths: Good handspeed for a guy his size. Knows how to effectively wear down opponent. Standing at 6ft 6in, he has enough size to effectively combat any type of fighter. Weaknesses: Despite his size, McCline typically fights like a smaller fighter, acting at times timid and non-aggressive. He also has a tendency to go long stretches with very low output as the fight wears on. Has ability to possess a killer instinct, but rarely shows it. Prediction: This fight will be a fight where spectators yearn for action early, as both guys will come out trying to pace themselves in an effort to have a little gas left in the tank in the late rounds. I see both fighters connecting with some heavy shots from time to time, but I think overall, McCline will finally be more aggressivem (realizing his career clock is ticking fast), and after seeing how painfully slow and telegraphic Valuev is, I predict he will stop the giant, marking the first time Valuev has gone down. When a man that size goes down the laws of gravity can not, and will not be defied. “Big Man” down…(McCline By KO anywhere between 3rd and 7th Round).

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.