Nikolai Valuev and David Haye battle today in Germany for the WBA heavyweight title. (Photo via www.donking.com)
Bad Left Hook will have live, round-by-round coverage, scoring and analysis for both of these cards. Valuev-Haye starts at 3pm on Integrated Sports PPV in the States ($24.99) and on Sky Box Office in the UK, and the HBO card starts at 9:30pm ET.
Nikolai Valuev v. David Haye (12 Rounds, For Valuev's WBA Heavyweight Title)
I'll flat-out admit again that I'm rooting for Haye because a win for him makes the stagnant heavyweight division that much more interesting. The last time the division got any shot in the arm, it was Vitali Klitschko coming back. And that comeback has simply led to two Klitschkos manhandling their opposition instead of just the one. Haye winning opens things up. Valuev winning does not.
But Valuev can win, and the closer we get to it, the more it feels to me as though that's what we're going to see. I don't like it, but for all the world this just reeks of a massive disappointment for an exciting, dynamic fighter whose chin simply isn't going to stand up. Valuev will be more aggressive here than he was against Holyfield. Valuev, soft as he is, is almost surely a better cardio guy than Haye, and his stamina is likely to hold up. Haye could stop Valuev, but I don't think he's going to get there.
But it's the chin, really. Monte Barrett clipped and wobbled Haye a year ago -- Haye's last fight, mind you -- and with all respect to Barrett (whose fights I've generally enjoyed over the years, and who is still owed a debt of gratitude for getting Tye Fields off of TV), he stinks now.
Valuev will lose some early rounds. Valuev will eventually catch and hurt David Haye. Haye will get up, try to fight back, and in his recklessness, get hit hard again. I hate doing it, and I hope I'm wrong, but I'm going with Valuev by TKO.
Alfredo Angulo v. Harry Joe Yorgey (12 Rounds, For the Vacant Interim WBO Junior Middleweight Title)
I know he's only 27 and that he's got only 17 pro fights under his belt, but this is an immediate future make-or-break for Angulo. He's mauled everyone except Kermit Cintron, and since I think Cintron is way better than Yorgey (yes, I just complimented Cintron), I sort of expect he'll do that again. Yorgey's a tough guy and a decent boxer, and I think he'll make this a pretty entertaining fight for as long as it lasts, but I just don't think he's in Angulo's league. Of Jack Loew fighters, Yorgey's over by Billy Lyell, not by Kelly Pavlik. Angulo by TKO.
Chad Dawson v. Glen Johnson II (12 Rounds, For the Vacant Interim WBC Light Heavyweight Title)
The WBC light heavyweight titlist, for the record, is Jean Pascal, who won it in June, defended it against a mandatory in September, and is fighting a rematch with Adrian Diaconu in December. But hey! Interim title! Good job, WBC! I'll be sure to take your moral stands from your idiotic convention really seriously!
Not even that, but Dawson held the title before and gave it up so he could fight Antonio Tarver instead of Diaconu. Yet Shane Mosley, who once gave up the interim WBC welterweight title, needs to publicly apologize for doing that if he wants the WBC to sanction a fight with Andre Berto in January. Who do these rubes think they are, exactly? I'm serious when I say a six-year-old could poke holes in their logic. I'm no rocket surgeon over here and it's plain as day to me.
Anyway, I expect Dawson to win this one clearly. It's not that I'm underestimating Johnson or don't think he'll make for another competitive, entertaining fight, but Chad's younger and faster and all that. Johnson's a 40-year old man, and 40 is going to be a big, flashing red light for a little while longer. If Johnson wins this fight, that'll put that to an end. Bernard Hopkins alone isn't enough to make me stop thinking fighters tend to decline pretty hardcore at this age. Dawson by UD.