Hey, did you know there's a fight tonight? One in the ring, even!
Friday night will mark the year's first live, round-by-round coverage here at Bad Left Hook, as well as the return of Roman Karmazin to American television. ESPN2's Friday Night Fights kicks off a new season with the former junior middleweight titlist taking on powerful middleweight fringe contender Dionisio Miranda in an IBF middleweight title eliminator from Glendale, California.
Karmazin (39-3-1, 25 KO) was last seen on American TV about two years ago on the Roy Jones-Tito Trinidad pay-per-view undercard. "Made In Hell" was favored against Alex Bunema that night, but Bunema stunned many by knocking out the Russian in the tenth round.
Since then, it's been a grind for Karmazin to get back into contention. He moved up to middleweight after that fight, and has rattled off wins over trial horse Bronco McKart, the shot Antwun Echols and most recently, Luiz Augusto dos Santos. Only McKart has made it the distance, and he was widely outpointed.
Miranda (20-4-2, 18 KO) is in many ways a stereotypical Colombian puncher, a guy with a great KO record but with shockingly little weight in any one of those knockouts. His best win was a 10-round split decision over Sebastien Demers in August 2008, and his best KO was ... well, pick your favorite tomato can. Miranda has fought six guys making their professional debuts, and another 11 of his 20 wins are against guys who came into the fight with sub-.500 records. Seven of them had fought before but never won (0-2, 0-2, 0-4, 0-7, 0-4, 0-6, 0-2), and a couple more might as well not have, including his last opponent, who came in with a sparkling 2-19 record.
You may remember Miranda from a special Shobox headlined by Tomasz Adamek-Johnathon Banks last February. He was starched in the second round by Giovanni Lorenzo.
Though he's aging, Karmazin is still tough, and seems to be someone that nobody at 160 is trying to test. Having seen Karmazin hurt against Bunema, I do not doubt Miranda's ability to hurt Karmazin with a punch, or even stop him with one. What I doubt is his ability to land one (or a series of them) that will get Karmazin in that sort of trouble. Miranda is lanky and still fights with a very raw style. Karmazin is refined enough and good enough to either cruise to a decision win, over to tap Miranda's chin (he's been stopped three times) and get him out of there early. Roman Karmazin TKO-8
On the Undercard: Unbeaten Armenian lightweight Art Hovhannesyan (10-0-1, 5 KO) faces 39-year-old Freddie Norwood, whose comeback run hasn't gone too well. Norwood retired after a 2000 loss to Derrick Gainer, but returned in 2006. Since then, he's gone 5-2, with both losses coming to Johnnie Edwards. He was torn apart in the second of those fights at Camp Lejuene in May 2008, with Edwards flooring him in the third and knocking him out in the seventh. I don't know how good Hovhannesyan is, but I do know Norwood is nowhere near the fighter he was when he beat Juan Manuel Marquez back in 1999.