Convicted Artist Magazine

Dec 06th
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art_of_boxingAndre Ward vs. Sakio Bika
Although not a part of the Super Six, kudos to Ward for taking on the toughest fighter available.  Bute is killing time rather than taking on challenges that are left, but who can blame him?  He has either already beaten them (Bika, Andrade), or reached out to them and been rejected (Balzsay, Stieglitz).  Bika may be coming off a loss, but it was a DQ loss on the way to what was likely to be a KO win.  He's still the toughest test available for Ward in an injury-plagued division and tournament.  Ward is in a position where a dominant win will still elevate his status, and make him the front runner, even while not risking his Super Six status.  While Bika is a durable puncher, his most dominant losses have come against the fastest, most talented fighters he's fought (Bute and Calzaghe).  Even though he was dropped by Jaidon Condrignton in the Contender final, Bika has an iron chin.  That shot Codrington landed would have KO'd just about anyone else, and it only caused a flash knockdown against Bika.  While his durarbility and punching power give Bika a chance, Ward is not the type of fighter to be felled by lucky punches.  He may be woken up by one, but not stopped.  Too much speed.  Too much talent.  Too much.  Ward by wide unanimous decision.

Glen Johnson vs. Allan Green
No matter what happenes to Glen Johnson, he always manages to look impressive just when we think he is about to be a shot fighter.  Logic dictates that the freshness of Green, combined with the advancing age of Johnson, will lead to a wide decision win for Green.  Maybe even a late round stoppage is in order, after "The Road Warrior"'s chin looked vulnerable early against Tavoris Cloud.  However, this is almost never the case in Johnson's career.  Cloud is a brutal puncher and even he could not even keep up momentum before he had to settle for what most talented Johnson opponents end up with... a close, exhausting decision win.  Let's look at Green's history.  His wins show us that he is a puncher who can get off the canvas to win, yet be boring as hell if he is himself bored by the challenge.  His two losses show us he is a man who can find many reasons to be drained come fight time.  If I am easily tired, I can't think of too many fighters I'd rather be in against less than Glen Johnson.  You need 12 rounds of volume punching in you, just to be competitive.  Green will come in in better shape than his two losses to Ward and Miranda, and is probably the better offensive fighter.  However, Johnson's defense, power, and stamina will make the difference here.  Green jumps out to an early lead, but runs out of gas, and Johnson scores a late round knockout.  Johnson will also probably give Arthur Abraham the only grueling fight of his career.  I hope that fight happens.

Tavoris Cloud vs. Fulgencio Zuniga
Don King (promoter of Cloud) and Dan Goossen (promoter of WBA champ Beibut Shumenov) do not work together often, yet both men are sitting on a fireworks show that could lift them into the exciting light-heavyweight mix.  They are instead killing time, waiting for who knows what.  Pascal, Hopkins, Dawson, and potentially Bute, are the names at Light Heavy.  Cloud is a contender, and Shumenov is a curiosity, but those two need each other.  The winner would be right in the mix, as a unified titlist.  Plus, both men are hard hitting volume punchers, and ti would be exciting.  I know why Dan Goossen doesn't want that fight, but Shumenov will make no money in this country fighting anyone else.  Don King should be all over this as well, as his fighter would be the favorite.  However, Cloud is doing what champions do nowadays with optional defenses.  Instead of unifying, they take on the lowest available contedner.  Zuniga was KO'd by Pavlik at 160, and Bute at 168.  Don't expect any better here.  His credentials at 175 consist of 2 wins against fighters with big losing records, and other than exposing Russian fraud Victor Oganov, he has not accomplished much in any division.  Cloud by early, one-sided KO... probably in the 3rd or 4th round.

P.S. For those who say that it is unfair for Johnson to be coming off of a loss in a different divsion, and be awarded a spot in this torunament, while Bika is placed out of it... I say this: I felt like that for a while, then it dawned on me that Johnson's body of work enough to warrant some rule bending.  Plus, maybe this is Bika's punishment for his DQ cheap shot against Jean-Paul Mendy, which is becoming too common these days from fighters, and should not be forgotten.  Either way, I wouldn't get too excited.  If Bika scores an upset win, look for him to be somehow included in the mix.

Chris Strait

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