British Scene: Paul McCloskey vs Breidis Prescott Preview

Dave Oakes previews Saturday's light-welterweight clash between Paul McCloskey and Breidis Prescott.  A look at the undercard match-up between Carl Frampton and Mark Quon after the jump.

Breidis Prescott produced one of the most memorable performances in recent British boxing history when he flattened Amir Khan inside 30 seconds. The then unknown Colombian was expected to be an easy night for the up-and-coming Khan. Things didn’t go as planned though as Prescott levelled Khan twice with brutal left hooks.

Those thirty seconds of violence gave Prescott the platform to go onto bigger fights, something he’s failed to capitalise on. Unfortunately for Prescott, his limitations have been exposed in the following years and his reputation has been diminished somewhat by a string of lacklustre performances.

He lost his unbeaten record to Miguel Vasquez via a split decision, which in truth should’ve been a lopsided unanimous decision to Vasquez, who recovered from a first round knockdown to comprehensively outbox a sluggish looking Prescott. His second defeat came in his next fight, Kevin Mitchell putting on a fantastic display of hitting and not being hit to win near enough every round.

Prescott has won the three fights he’s had since the Mitchell defeat, a third round knockout and two points wins against below average opposition. One noticeable thing is Prescott has been looking to box more in recent times, although he doesn’t look particularly comfortable in doing so.

This Saturday sees Prescott taking on recent Khan victim, Paul McCloskey, the slick Northern Irishman who lost on a technical decision after a cut brought proceedings to a premature end in the sixth round.

The bout is titled as an eliminator for Khan’s WBA title, not that winning an eliminator guarantees anything these days, even more so this time with Khan already stating he has no wish to fight either man.

McCloskey was unbeaten before the Khan fight and had strung together a number of good performances in winning and defending the British and European titles. Whilst he doesn’t punch with any real menace, he has won inside the distance every time he’s fought at domestic title level, a sign that he raises his game when in hard fights.

As well as having hometown advantage - the fight being held at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, McCloskey also has a considerable edge in terms of ability. He likes to pick his punches and take his opponent apart systematically, preferring his opponent to come forward to allow him the chance to counter. He’s very hard to hit cleanly, as Khan will attest to, and his anticipation and timing are very impressive, something a crude Prescott will find difficult to contend with.

The two defeats Prescott has suffered have come against boxers who used their brains as well as their skills to not give Prescott a chance of landing one of his agricultural whacks. There’s a feeling that Prescott’s punch power fades as a fight wears on and if the knockout doesn’t come in the first few rounds then he becomes a significantly easier foe.

McCloskey will be wary in the first few rounds but should be able to gain the advantage from the fourth onwards. Prescott knows this is his last chance to shine, if he were to lose here he wouldn’t have anywhere to go, with that in mind, a big effort is expected of the Colombian but one which will ultimately end in another points defeat.

The undercard is topped by Carl Frampton, who has to put the disappointment of his European title fight with Kiko Martinez falling through to the back of his mind. He takes on late substitute Mark Quon for the vacant Commonwealth title at super-bantamweight.

Frampton, 10-0 (6), is one to keep any eye out for. He’s got a crowd-pleasing style, good fundamental skills and carries reasonable power in both hands. He was a top class amateur and looks made for the professional ranks. He’s made steady progress in just over two years as a pro, his best performance coming last time out when out-pointing Robbie Turley over ten entertaining rounds.

Quon, 11-3-1 (2), shouldn’t pose too many problems; he’s a willing fighter but lacks the talent and punch power to cause a shock here. He’s only been stopped once, by Nouldy Manakane, but doesn’t hold a punch that well.

Frampton should have it all his own way here to claim the title in front of his hme fans. If the fight goes behind the halfway point, Quon will have done well.

e-mail Dave Oakes

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