The boxing calendar is really beginning to heat up as a number of highly anticipated world title fights appear on the horizon. This weekend is no exception as the Super-Lightweight (or Light-Welterweight, for traditionalists) division sees potentially not one, but two new champions being crowned in world title fights on the same night.
Viktor “The Iceman,” Postol (27-0, 11 KOs) takes on Lucas Martin Matthysse (31-3, 34 KOs) for the vacant WBC Super Lightweight title in the StubHub Centre, Carson, California on Saturday night.
It seems clichéd to call this a crossroads fight but there will be a great deal resting on the outcome of this encounter for the 33 year old Matthysse. The Argentinian captured the attention of boxing fans with a stunning knockout victory over the then IBF light welterweight champion; Lamont Peterson. That victory led to a challenge for the world title against Danny Garcia.
Many people fancied the hard punching Matthysse, to relieve Garcia of his titles, but the champion produced a career defining performance and won a close unanimous points decision. Since then Matthysse has won three in a row including a stoppage win over John Molina Jr and a point’s victory over former WBO Super-Lightweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov.
The trouble with Matthysse is that success has been mixed for him and although he has had interim titles he has never held a full world title. This fight represents the greatest opportunity for him to win a world title outright.
That considered Viktor Postol, 31, will be no walkover. The undefeated Ukrainian fighter is trained by Freddie Roach, and he enjoys a significant height advantage over Matthysse. Postol likes to box from distance and is difficult to hit, on the down side he is not blessed with overwhelming punching power and apart from a points victory over faded former world champion; Demarcus Corley in the Ukraine in 2012, he has not faced any fighters of note.
In contrast, Matthysse has faced a number of elite level fighters, in addition to the fights already outlined he holds victories over former world champions Vivian Harris and Demarcus Corley, and he lost split decisions to Devon Alexander and Zab Judah, the latter being widely considered as a controversial decision in favour of Judah.
Despite the gulf in experience, Matthysse who struggled with height differences in the Garcia fight may run into a similar scenario with Postol. It will be an intriguing match-up and it just may come down to who wants it the most.
Also on Saturday night, Adrian “The Problem,” Broner (30-2, 22 KOS) will be hoping to bounce back from his loss to welterweight Shawn Porter in June with a win over Russian Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-1, 9 KOs) for the vacant WBA World Super Lightweight title at the US Bank Arena, Cincinatti, Ohio.
It is unthinkable that after serving up a grab and run display in his fight with Porter, that Broner would earn himself a world title shot in his next outing, but it just seems indicative of how the world governing bodies rankings undermine the legitimacy of world title fights.
The brash and often controversial former champion, Broner will be seeking to re-establish himself in the Super-Lightweight division. Both fighters are returning to the ring after losses, Broner to the aforementioned Shawn Porter and Allakhverdiev to Jessie Vargas, who most recently lost to Timothy Bradley in a bout for the vacant WBO Welterweight title.
This will be an interesting clash of styles; Allakhverdiev is a southpaw, with a strong jab and good defensive ability. Likewise, Broner is a defensively minded boxer, with a strong jab and excellent timing that often leaves opponents off balance and swiping at the space he used to vacate in the ring. The difference in this one could well be the fact that Allakhverdiev lacks the power to trouble Broner which will mean that he will return to being the confident technician he was when he was previously a world champion.
The most likely outcome is a points victory for Broner.
Finally, next Tuesday Super-Middleweight prospect; Julius Jackson (19-0, 15 KOs), son of former world champion, Julian Jackson will take on Jose Uzcategui (23-1, 19 KOS) at the Cowboys Dance Hall, San Antonio, Texas.
This will be an interesting test for the hard punching Jackson who is meeting a fighter with an equally impressive record. Uzcategui has an impressive knockout ratio and his sole loss was a point’s decision to middleweight Matt Kobrobov in 2014.
This will be an exciting meeting of two equally matched fighters, so expect fireworks from the beginning.