The ninth installment of the Prizefighter tournament takes place today at 4pm ET in the United States, live on Sky Sports in the UK. The Olympia in Kensington is the site for the one-day tournament. All fights are three, three-minute rounds. Generally speaking, guys go for finishes in these fights, and it's usually a good time. It's different at the very least.
Today, the 140-pounders take the ring. First round matchups:
Gavin Rees (28-1, 14 KO) v. Ted Bami (26-5, 13 KO)
Colin Lynes (31-6, 12 KO) v. David Barnes (24-1-1, 11 KO)
Young Mutley (26-4, 13 KO) v. Barrie Jones (16-3, 7 KO)
Michael Grant (12-0-1, 1 KO) v. Jason Cook (25-2, 12 KO)
No, Grant's KO mark is not a typo. Back in October, I did a preview with short bits on each of the fighters. The lone exception is Grant, who is a replacement for the originally booked Lee Purdy. I've seen Grant fight just once, against Gary Reid on the Haye-Barrett card in November 2008. He wasn't particularly impressive, but then he also wasn't unimpressive. Cook is a big leap up in class. I think Grant and his handlers know that even though he's "only" 26 and has fought just 13 times as a professional, his KO rate is such that they better try to cash in if there's going to be anything there. Guys with one stoppage win in 12 against a stream of bums don't often become name fighters.
Smart money is probably on Rees, who both Brick and I may agree is the worst major titlist of the decade, but with no real animosity toward him or the like. Simply put, Rees was incredibly lucky to ever get a shot at a title, ever start his career 27-0, and ever win a title. I don't think he's really any better than anyone else here. Truthfully, I think there's a toss-up nature to this one. Past Prizefighter tournaments have had obvious favorites, or finals matchups it was clear were attempting to be made. Last time with the heavyweights, it was obvious they wanted an Audley Harrison-Danny Williams final. Instead Williams went down the in the opening round.
Just on a total whim, I'm going with David Barnes to win the whole shebang today.
We'll have live coverage of the entire event, and hope you'll join us.