We're going to do both of this weekend's cards to be RBR'd here at Bad Left Hook. I know some folks haven't seen much of Diaconu in particular, but many of you have, and if anyone wants to not pick that fight, that's up to them.
Adrian Diaconu v. Jean Pascal (Vs. Network, Friday - Light Heavyweights, 12 Rounds - Diaconu's WBC title on the line)
Diaconu (26-0, 15 KO) won the interim WBC title last year in a fight against Chris Henry in Romania, which was picked up by Don King for one of his webcasts, but then crapped out before the fight could finish and everyone watching there missed the ending. It was a good fight, and the last time Henry looked very good, and it was a really close fight, too. Diaconu is no world-beater. He's unbeaten, but Pascal might be the best fighter he's faced.
Pascal (22-1, 15 KO) not only says that he and Diaconu sparred in the past (and guess who got the better of it, according to JP?) but says he should have no problems moving up to 168 because it means he can take it easier with his weight and eat what he wants. This is always a dangerous mindset. Kelly Pavlik thought he'd be better and stronger at 170 pounds, but what happened was he was weak and tired easily, probably in part because he just wasn't used to carrying that extra weight when doing his job, and because camp hadn't been such a grueling affair. 99.9% of fighters cut a good amount of weight to fight; the guys that don't often have real problems. Fighting at the walkin' around weight has a habit of troubling guys.
I've said it a lot about Pascal, because I like him more than many do: He's quick, but he's not that quick. He's got power, but it's not amazing. He's got good hand speed, but it's not exceptional. When he fights like he thinks he's a prime Roy Jones, he gets in trouble. When he fights like he wants to beat the other guy and prove something, he can be really good, as his December war with Carl Froch (his only loss) proved. If this is the Jean Pascal that took Froch 12 hard rounds, I think he beats Diaconu, but then I'm not sure how much real grit Diaconu has either. Maybe he has it in spades.
This is a genuine 50-50 fight. The last time Versus snagged a good, competitive, under the radar bout, Cunningham-Adamek broke out on our TVs. This could be a good one, too. Pascal SD-12
Wladimir Klitschko v. Ruslan Chagaev (ESPN Classic, Saturday, 5pm - Heavyweights - Vacant Ring Magazine world championship on the line; Klitschko's WBO, IBF and IBO titles on the line; Chagaev's WBA title on the line)
For as significant as this fight is, it boils down to two very simple things:
- If Chagaev is at his best and can break through the Klitschko jab, anything can happen. He's not a huge hitter, but Klitschko isn't the sturdiest guy and didn't really prepare to fight a southpaw on this date.
- If Chagaev can't get inside, Wladimir will paw at him, occasionally throw something semi-meaningful, and cruise to a decision where he doesn't so much win as the other guy sure as hell doesn't win, a la Ibragimov.
I'm taking door number two. Klitschko UD-12