Antonio Tarver and Danny Green face one another in a cruiserweight fight Wednesday in Sydney.
DANNY GREEN vs. ANTONIO TARVER
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds, cruiserweights
Location: Sydney, Australia
Television: None in U.S.
The backdrop: Tarver (28-6, 19 KOs) has carved out a nice niche as an analyst on Showtime boxing cards but believes he has more to give as a fighter at 42. The once-feared former light heavyweight champion will be fighting as a full-fledged 200-pounder for the first time, having fought most of his career at 175 and his last fight – a decision over Nagy Aguilera – as a heavyweight. The victory over Aguilera was his only fight since back-to-back losses to Chad Dawson in 2008 and 2009 that made it clear he was in decline. Of course, a victory over Green (31-3, 27 KOs) would dispel any notion of his demise … but it won’t be easy. The hard-punching Aussie, who is a well-preserved 38, gave Markus Beyer hell in two losing efforts and is 10-0 (8 KOs) since he was outpointed by Anthony Mundine in 2006. Green stopped Roy Jones Jr. in one round in December 2009. Tarver has never been stopped. Could this be the first time?
Also fighting: Naoufel Ben Rabah vs. Issac Hlatshwayo, 12 rounds, welterweights; Dominic Vea vs. Shane Cameron, 12 rounds, cruiserweights.
Rating the card: B-. Tarver brings some cache with his name and some intrigue with his decision to move down to cruiserweight. And Green is always fun to watch.
Prediction: It will be interesting to see whether Tarver will be comfortable at 200 pounds. If he is, he could give Green trouble because of his skills. If he’s not … well, Green could make him pay. The guess here is that Tarver will be effective enough to go the distance but will lose a close decision.
ANTHONY DIRRELL vs. KEVIN ENGEL
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, super middleweights
Location: Cabazon, Calif.
The backdrop: The unbeaten younger brother of Andre Dirrell will be fighting for the fifth time in 10 months, an indication he is serious about finally making his mark in the sport. Dirrell (22-0, 19 KOs) stopped Dante Craig in five rounds on July 2 in his first scheduled 10-round fight, which came five years into a career that was stalled by a battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and legal problems. Dirrell is a gifted athlete and skilled boxer but has a long way to go to prove he can be an elite fighter. Engle (18-4, 15 KOs) probably isn’t a serious threat. The St. Louis product has done well against journeymen but has struggled against on the next level. He has been stopped in two of his last three fights. All four of his losses have come by KO.
Also fighting: Joseph Elegele vs. Lanard Lane, 10 rounds, welterweights
Rating the card: C. Dirrell has a big name and is loaded with talent, which makes him one to watch. And Engel has some punching power, if little else.
Prediction: Dirrell had the reputation of having a questionable chin as an amateur. Does that make him vulnerable against Engel. Possible but not likely. Dirrell is likely to take Engel out before the fight is half over.
CHRISOPHER MARTIN vs. JOSE SILVEIRA
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, junior featherweights
Location: Tucson, Ariz.
The backdrop: Martin (22-0-2, 6 KOs) is a crafty, well-schooled prospect from San Diego with little punching power. He is coming off a hard-fought unanimous decision in May over Charles Huerta, one of several talented young fighters he’s beaten. He defeated then-unbeaten Chris Avalos by a split decision last August. Silveira (12-3, 4 KOs) will be moving up a division for the fight. The Mexican has fought primarily in his native country, although he was stopped in nine rounds by Shinsuke Yamanaka in October in Japan. He easily outpointed veteran Juan Jose Beltran in February, his first fight after his setback. He has never fought in the U.S.
Also fighting: Mark Salser vs. Rodolfo Armenta, 6 rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: C. Fans of the finer points of boxing will like Martin, who fights will skill and poise. Those who crave brutal knockouts probably won’t be as enamored. Salser is an unbeaten prospect from Mansfield, Ohio.
Prediction: Silveira apparently is a decent fighter but he probably can’t hang with someone of Martin’s ability. Chalk up another one-sided decision for the San Diegan.
AMIR KHAN vs. ZAB JUDAH
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds, junior welterweight
Location: Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
The backdrop: Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) was supposed to fight Tim Bradley to determine the best 140-pounder in the world but the fighters couldn’t come to terms. This title-unification fight is a nice consolation prize. Khan, 24, is 7-0 and emerging as a true star under trainer Freddie Roach since he was stopped by Breidis Prescott in 2008. Among the Briton’s victims: Marco Antonio Barrera, Paulie Malignaggi and Marcos Maidana. He is coming off a six-round technical decision in April over Paul McCloskey, who was cut by an accidental clash of heads and couldn’t continue. Judah (41-6, 28 KOs) has resurrected his career as a junior welterweight. The Brooklynite appeared to be in decline when he went 2-4 (with one no-contest) in welterweight fights from 2006 to 2008, the losses coming against Carlos Baldomir, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey. However, Judah, 33, has won five consecutive fights since. That includes a seventh-round TKO over Kaiser Mabuza in March that gave him the vacant IBF title, his sixth major belt. Judah is now trained by Hall of Famer Pernell Whitaker.
Also fighting: Peter Quillin vs. Jason LeHoullier, 10 rounds, middleweights; Gary Russell Jr. vs. Eric Estrada, 8 rounds, featherweights
Rating the card: A-. Khan vs. Judah is an important fight and an intriguing matchup. The winner will take charge of the 140-pound division, with Bradley. The loser will have rebuilding to do. Quillin is on the verge of big things. And Russell might be the most-gifted fighter on the card. His hand speed is breathtaking.
Prediction: This is a great matchup on paper. Khan probably is faster and bigger than Judah while the New Yorker has a big edge in experience. Khan will have to figure out how to get to a slick southpaw, which won’t be easy. And Judah has the power to hurt Khan, whose chin remains a question mark. Judah must cope with a gifted boxer with fast hands and considerable power. The older fighter will probably give Khan problems early in the fight but begin to fade when Khan begins to find his target with regularity, which will occur by mid-fight. Khan will ultimately break Judah down and stop him in the late rounds of an exciting fight.
ORLANDO SALIDO vs. KENICHI YAMAGUCHI
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / featherweight
Location: Ciudad Obregon, Mexico
Television: Fox Deportes
The backdrop: Salido (35-11-2, 23 KOs) is coming off the performance of his career, a stunning eighth-round TKO of then-unbeaten Puerto Rican star Juan Manuel Lopez that gave the Mexican the WBO featherweight title in April. The three-time titleholder is in talks to face Lopez in a rematch if he can beat Yamaguchi (17-1-2, 4 KOs). The 31-year-old Japanese fighter hasn’t lost since 2003 but has never faced anyone like Salido, a good boxer with remarkable resilience and enough power to hurt you badly. The fact he has no power doesn’t help. And, if that weren’t enough, he’s fighting in Salido’s hometown.
Also fighting: Alejandro Valdez vs. Enrique Bernache, 10 rounds, junior featherweights
Rating the card: B-. Salido is must-see TV after his victory over Lopez, even against a Japanese fighter with almost no chance to win.
Prediction: Salido will walk through Yamaguchi and score an early knockout.
DERECK CHISORA vs. TYSON FURY
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / heavyweight
Television: Integrated Sports PPV
The backdrop: Chisora (14-0, 9 KOs) lost his chance to fight Wladimir Klitschko in December when the world heavyweight champion pulled out with a stomach injury. Just as well for Chisora, who probably would’ve taken a bad beating. The Briton was known for biting Paul Butlin in 2009 more than anything else before he was scheduled to fight Klitschko. However, he has solid boxing skills and a good right hand. He stopped Danny Williams in two rounds to win the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in May of last year. He is coming off a ninth-round TKO of Sam Sexton in September. Fury (14-0, 10 KOs) is taller than the Klitschko brothers at 6-foot-9 (206cm) – a good 7½ inches taller than Chisora — but doesn’t have their ability. He’s a decent boxer who fights with courage and determination but whose only advantage over Chisora will be his size. He also is from England.
Also fighting: Ashley Theophane vs. Jason Cook, 12 rounds, for Theophane's British junior welterweight title
Rating the card: B-. This fact these are two young heavyweights with perfect records and big names makes this a noteworthy matchup in the UK. Neither fighter is destined for greatness but this could be a good scrap.
Prediction: Chisora is nothing special but he has too much ability for Fury, who will lose a decision to get stopped in the late rounds.