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March Boxing Preview and Predictions - This Is Sports Zone

February was a very slow month inside the ring, only Gennady Golovkin’s 11th round destruction of tough Englishman Martin Murray was anything worth writing about. Outside of the ring, however the long overdue mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was completed. Business picks up in March and I’ll take you through the best matchups of the month.


THURMAN_GUERRERO_300x250_v2March 7 – NBC – Keith Thurman vs Robert Guerrero (Welterweights) and Adrien Broner vs John Molina Jr. (Junior Welterweights)

Boxing makes it much-needed return to network television with a compelling doubleheader led by rising star Keith Thurman against former Mayweather foe Robert Guerrero. I’ll start with the co-feature first which showcases Adrien Broner (29-1, 22 KO) against John Molina Jr. (27-5, 22 KO). Broner has shaken off his lone defeat at the hands of Marcos Maidana with consecutive wins over Carlos Molina and Emmanuel Taylor. Now his advisor Al Haymon puts him in a prime position for maximum exposure against the rugged brawler Molina who is 2-3 in his last five fights and needed a miracle to get one of those wins. Molina has tons of courage but he gets hit, lots. And my take is the matchmakers handpicked him to make Broner look good. Adrien’s main issue has been his failure to engage offensively at times. He can favor his shoulder roll defense and pot-shotting to a fault but this fight is tailor-made for him. I see these two men as polar opposites, Broner has all the ability and flash in the world and Molina all the grit, determination and toughness you want from a fighter. I take the talent in a one-sided beating. Broner by 9th round TKO.

Things have been awfully quiet for Robert Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KO) lately, as he’s lived up to his nickname “Ghost”. Only fighting once in 2013 (losing to Mayweather) and once in 2014 (beating up Yoshihiro Kamegai in a fan-friendly affair). Now the 31-year-old southpaw takes on the biggest power puncher he’s ever faced. Keith “One Time” Thurman (24-0, 21 KO) has the power to end any night with one clean shot. The question for the 26-year-old Clearwater, Florida native will be how does he stand up in the biggest stage against by far the best opponent he’s fought. Thurman has knocked down 5 of his last 6 opponents and will have a decided power edge in this contest. I have seen an ability to box when needed and believe he’s not a one-dimensional slugger. My take is Guerrero is good enough to force Thurman into a boxing match and not brawl, but Thurman is young enough and determined to win. Thurman by unanimous decision.

kovalev vs pascalMarch 14 – HBO – Sergey Kovalev vs Jean Pascal (Light Heavyweights) and Vyacheslav Glazkov vs Steve Cunningham (Heavyweights)

Montreal, Canada’s Bell Centre hosts an HBO tripleheader and I’ll break down the final two fights of the card. First the co-feature between Ukraine’s Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov (19-0-1, 12 KO) and American Steve “USS” Cunningham (28-6, 13 KO) will be a heavyweight eliminator and the winner will become the mandatory challenger for lineal champ Wladimir Klitschko. Glazkov stayed busy posting a 3-0, 1 KO record in 2014 including a notable win over Tomasz Adamek. The 38-year-old Philly fighter Cunningham has three straight wins after suffering the lone knockout loss of his career to Tyson Fury. “USS” has knocked off two straight unbeaten fighters in Amir Mansour and Natu Visinia and will be looking to make it three times in a row he’s ruined a fighters unbeaten record. The former IBF Cruiserweight champion regularly gives up a significant amount of weight to his opponents since moving up to heavyweight and will likely have to overcome a 15-20 lbs disadvantage against Glazkov. I’m taking Cunningham by split decision to give the US (Bryant Jennings) two straight shots at dethroning the heavyweight king.

Despite Adonis Stevenson holding the WBC light heavyweight title and being the lineal champion there is healthy debate the man who runs the division is IBF, WBO & WBA champ Russian Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KO). He takes his belts on the road to face Jean Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KO) in his backyard. Being the villain on the road isn’t new to Kovalev who spoiled the night for Nathan Cleverly in Wales, UK where he claimed his first of three belts. Or when he upended Bernard Hopkins in Atlantic City, NJ where he grabbed his other two belts in a whitewash of the American legend. Pascal has three wins and a no contest since he last lost to his rival Hopkins. Pascal’s January 2014 thumping of Lucian Bute put him in prime position to compete to regain his light heavyweight crown. I don’t picture either fighter wanting to box or back down in this battle. Questions have arisen in the past regarding each man’s stamina and Kovalev quieted some with a clean 12 round decision over Hopkins. Pascal has faded down the stretch before but he always looks like a million dollars and has never been knocked down, let alone out. I’m picking Kovalev by 10th round TKO where he takes the win but not Pascal’s fighting spirit.


March 28 – Showtime – Jhonny Gonzalez vs Gary Russell Jr. (Featherweights)

Mexican knockout master Jhonny Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KO) seeks to make his third defense in his second stint as the WBC featherweight champ when he takes on American southpaw Gary Russell Jr (25-1, 14 KO). Gonzalez won the belt by blowing out Abner Mares in the first round back in August 2013. He’s defeated little known Clive Atwell and fellow Mexican tough-guy Jorge Arce since and now faces a challenger with a great combination of youth, speed and pedigree. Gary Russell Jr was on the fast track to a title when the excessively soft-matched fighter took his long-awaited step-up for the vacant WBO featherweight title against phenom Vasyl Lomachenko. Russell lost a majority decision but showed as much, if not more, in defeat than in any of his easy wins. Now he’s poised to take his second shot at a world title and the massive right hand of Gonzalez stands in his way. The fight with Lomachenko was a high speed chess match between two expert boxers. This fight will be the classic boxer (Russell) vs puncher (Gonzalez). I’m taking Gary Russell Jr by unanimous decision, he’ll need to avoid the one punch KO power and score combinations with his lightning fast hands. I think this is his night.

That’s all for March but I’ll be back with April’s preview which will feature incredibly exciting action as already confirmed bouts include; Danny Garcia vs Lamont Peterson, Ruslan Provodnikov vs Lucas Matthysse and Wladimir Klitschko vs Bryant Jennings.

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