Convicted Artist Magazine

May 25th
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boxing_art_035I am very happy about this tournament.  Not only is it highlighting a recently exciting division; Not only does it involve fighters who have faced each other in exciting matchups; The main thing is that it is being done correctly.  It is featuring only 4 fighters, in a single-elimination format.  Start with semi-finals, and move straight to a final.  We are already dealing with championship-level fighters, who have faced each other in three separate fights.  The winner will be 'the man' at 118, if not the Undisputed Ring Magazine champ.  The first round of fights is also taking place on the same card, so as not to gobble up more unnecessary dates and airtime.  It is also taking place in Mexico, where fans are sure to appreciate the kind of action these fighters will bring.
Even with talent like Montiel, Donaire, Rigondeaux, Hasegawa and others residing there, the winner of the Showtime tournament can lay claim to having vanquished higher opposition than any of them at Bantamweight.  This may also force those other fighters left to face each other.  My only issue with the line-up is that Darchiniyan vs. Perez, and Agbeko vs. Mares are not the match-ups leading off.  There is a rematch right out of the gate, and I think it would be much more interesting to make sure all participants face each other.
My predictions will get more involved as the tournament gets closer to actually happening.  However, to make an initial guess, I see Mares having a hard time holding off Darchinyan for the duration.  He is by far the superior boxer, but Darchinyan has shown the ability to break down those fighters before.  It is hard-hitting lanky boxer-types that bother Darchinyan, and without the power to hold off the "Raging Bull", Mares will be in trouble.  I believe Darchinyan will eventually wear down and stop Mares late.  Perez vs. Agbeko should be a war again, but I see little that Agbeko can do differently.  Perez should win by the same margin, in the same fashion.  Agbeko is too tough and durable to be stopped, unless an outside source facilitates it.  He will also win a few rounds, and battle hard, but Perez should be a clear-cut winner.
While I think Mares can outbox either Agbeko or Perez (I thought he narrowly beat Perez), he will not get the opportunity to do so.  as far as my proposed final match, Perez will be a nightmare for Darchinyan in a very exciting, wide decision loss.  It will be a more dramatic, yet very exciting version of his loss to Agbeko.  Perhaps that is even more important than the tournament being done correctly... that it is featuring styles we have already seen to make compelling fights.  There are also several attractive options awaiting thwe winner, and no network conflicts that can see holding anyone back.  Enjoy!
Chris Strait

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