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Staff picks and predictions: Joshua Greer Jr vs Mike Plania

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Joshua Greer Jr faces Mike Plania in Tuesday’s ESPN main event.

Hey! We’re back! Staff picks, baby!

Scott Christ

We would’ve done pointless staff picks for last week, too, maybe, except it had been three months and I’d kind of forgotten the fight week routines. But we’re back! And at any rate, the fights (at least the main events) coming on Top Rank’s shows are largely much better than Stevenson-Caraballo and Magdaleno-Vicente, at least on paper.

I’m iffy on Greer; I think his ceiling is a little low, but can also imagine being very wrong about that if he really puts it together in some camp or other. I am not completely counting out a Plania upset here, but he’ll need things to go perfectly, basically. I expect Greer’s speed to be too much and for him to catch Plania coming in enough to shine and get a stoppage. Plania will give this a go, but Greer’s strengths will be on full display here. Greer TKO-8

Wil Esco

Joshua Greer Jr clearly has some talent with some flashy hand speed, but he has also shown some vulnerabilities in his last outing when he took a unanimous decision against Antonio Nieves last October. Nieves was able to use some craft and pressure to make things tough on Greer, and had me wondering how Greer might fare against elite competition. Well, we certainly won’t find out here as Greer gets back to action against a Filipino fighter in Plania who has only fought outside of his country a handful of times against pretty low level opposition.

I’ve only seen a little footage on Plania but from what I can tell, although he does utilize some pressure in his attack I don’t think he’s going to set a pace to really offset Greer’s speed and movement. Greer doesn’t appear to have a ton of power though, so I’m just going to take him to win on points. Greer UD-10

Patrick L. Stumberg

Scene: wide shot of the burnt-out husk of a city choked with swirling dust. Telephone poles uprooted, street signs scattered about, buildings hollowed and decrepit. Just visible among the ruins walks a lone figure, his tattered jacket bearing the faded logo of two boxing gloves. He approaches a home seemingly patched together with rusting metal and knocks on the shutters hiding the front door. A camera swivels to face him, ancient speakers crackling to life.

“Whattaya want?”

“Staff picks are back.”

“Staff picks? Christ, Christ, that was a lifetime ago. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a goom and a Salka at this point.”

“Doesn’t matter. We need you.”

“I’m telling ya, I ain’t that guy no more.”

“You’ve still got a chance to avenge that loss to Esco in the 2019 standings.”

“...fine. Lemme grab my things.”

Anyway, I’m back.

Joshua Greer probably shouldn’t be anyone’s mandatory challenger at this point; even beyond the Potapov debacle, his technical boxing skills have yet to catch up to his prodigious speed. His jab, his distance management, and most importantly his defense remain works in progress, as he’s just not as slick as he thinks he is.

Luckily for him, Plania is in a similar boat. The Filipino “Magic Mike” relies more on swift bursts of offense than the sort of pressure that’s consistently bedeviled Greer since he stepped up in competition, and he doesn’t have the fundamentals to bridge the gap in speed and power. When Greer leads the action and smothers any return fire, he’s a handful to deal with, and Plania seemingly lacks the aggression or countering skills to slow the American down. Greer overpowers him in the middle rounds. Greer TKO-6

Lewis Watson

We’re back, baby! Greer Jr’s got himself a much softer touch than his previously scheduled meeting with Jason Moloney. The American has looked vulnerable in his last two step-ups and doesn’t appear to possess the power at bantam to bomb his way out of trouble. Plania is by no means a puncher, either, but if he can swarm the favourite he’s got a real chance at pinching some rounds. I’m not saying the dog will bite hard enough to get the win in this one, but it won’t be a shutout. Greer UD-10

And the staff winner is...

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Joshua Greer Jr (4-0)!