Convicted Artist Magazine

Jan 25th
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ramos-vs-rigondeauxTavoris Cloud vs. Zsolt Erdei
A battle of unbeatens, for questionably the number one position in the Light Heavyweight division.  Dawson and Hopkins may have unfinished business.  Pascal may be awauiting the winner, but the boxing world is tiring of these 3, and looking to the next big 175lbs star.  Things are too exciting for 168lb-ers to step up, so we await the anointing of the next hot contender/belt holder from within the division.  Cleverly and Shumenov have tried to garner interest, but their low level of opposition keeps them on the outside looking in for awhile.  The winner of this fight is the next big thing, and will be able to call out the names.

This is tough one to call.  On the one hand, Erdei has the longer unbeaten run, is arguably the linear champion still at 175lbs, and has shown skill and versatility.  Cloud, however, is young, hungry, powerful, and far more active recently.  The x-factor here may be quality of opposition.  Since his 2004 win over Julio Gonzalez, Erdei did not exactly face a who’s who of 175lb talent.  That has much to do with his promoter at the time, Universum.  He made the jump, like stablemate Dzindziruk, but it may have been too late.

Erdei has shown the ability outbox sluggers, but that was years ago, and he has never taken on the firepower of a Cloud.  That will likely make the difference, as Erdei’s counterpunching skills will have to be perfect… while Cloud can make mistakes, and still wear down his prey.  I’ve never seen Erdei hurt or cut badly, and Cloud’s power is overrated at this level, but sustained pressure should force Erdei into a defensive shell for most of the bout.  Cloud by unanimous decision.

Rico Ramos vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux
I hope Ramos is being paid well to surrender his belt on his own home turf.  Not that I wouldn’t be cheering for Ramos.  He seems a more down-to-earth character than Rigondeaux, who has been hyped endlessly, since his defection.  Ramos also came from behind to win his title with a one-punch knockout, even though his record does not indicate power.  Rigondeaux’s career has taken some odd turns that include half-basing himself out of Ireland (his manager’s doing), and stinking out the joint on PPV to win his interim “belt”.  He needs to win big here, and look good doing it.

Nonito Donaire is coming to the 122lb division, and perhaps the winner of Agbeko-Mares as well.  This is no time to outbox a lesser foe, to a background of boos.  That may be what happens, however.  The Cuban is far too skilled for Ramos to match on that level, but the L.A. native has heart, the home crowd pushing him, and the knowledge that he is the underdog.  Therefore, he might as well take chances.  This will make him dangerous if Rigondeaux decides to exchange.  Unless his skin busts up, he should make it to the final bell, though.  Rigondeaux by wide unanimous decision.

Chris Strait

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