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Three Punch Combo: A Look at Two Under The Radar Fights and More

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  • Three Punch Combo: A Look at Two Under The Radar Fights and More

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    By Matt Andrzejewski

    THREE PUNCH COMBO -- We have another very busy fight week ahead of us that is headlined by the big heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KO’s) and Andy Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KO’s) at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. With most of the attention of the boxing media converging to this fight, several intriguing matches are under the radar.

    Kind of stuffed deep on the Joshua-Ruiz undercard is an important welterweight tilt between up-and-coming Josh Kelly (9-0, 6 KO’s), an Englishman who will be making his U.S. debut, and veteran Ray Robinson (24-3-1, 12 KO’s). A decorated amateur who competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, Kelly (pictured) is considered one of boxing’s top prospects and is getting a chance to showcase his talent on one of the biggest stages in the sport.

    Kelly, 25, seems to have all the tools to go a long way. He profiles as a classic boxer-puncher and likes to work behind a well-timed left jab. That jab is often delivered with the force of a power shot and can freeze his opposition, setting them up for more lethal follow-up shots.

    Behind the jab, Kelly throws very fluid combinations and will work the head as well as the body. He possesses above average to elite hand speed for the division and heavy handed power in both fists. It is no wonder why so many believe he has a high ceiling.

    Defensively, Kelly has some lapses. His head movement is good but he tends to lose focus and frequently holds his hands low. At times this seems intentional, a way of taunting his opponent, but more than anything it’s a loss of focus and something that needs to be addressed.

    Robinson, 33, is a slick southpaw who is coming off a majority draw to the previously undefeated Egidijus Kavaliauskas in March. I have touched on Robinson before in this column, noting that he is someone whose style can give young fighters fits. He will be on his bike from round one and look to frustrate Kelly with his pesky style. Robinson will be defense first and sporadically pick his spots on offense. He can be an enigma to fight and as such represents at the very least an interesting puzzle for Kelly.

    To me, this is an intriguing test for Kelly. If he is as good as many think he is, he will break down and stop Robinson much like Yordenis Ugas did when he faced Robinson in February of 2018. But if Kelly struggles, then we may have to put some brakes on all the hype.

    Under The Radar Fight Number Two

    The big card at Madison Square Garden is not the only televised show on Saturday in the United States. Across the country in California, Fox Sports 1 will televise a card headlined by a welterweight showdown between former world champion Devin Alexander (27-5-1, 14 KO’s) and Ivan Redkach (22-4-1, 17 KO’s). I like this fight, but it’s another fight on the televised undercard – a fight receiving almost no press coverage -- that I would like to highlight.

    In a crucial crossroads fight in the middleweight division, Willie Monroe Jr. (23-3, 6 KO’s) will face Hugo Centeno Jr. (27-2, 14 KO’s). Both are former world title challengers who fell short in those title contests and this fight represents a final chance for each to get back in line for a title shot.

    One of the reasons I like this fight is that both not only need to win but make a statement. As such, I think that both will fight out of their normal style, giving us a more exciting fight than is being anticipated.

    Monroe, 32, is a fast handed slick southpaw who generally relies on speed and defense. He does not have much power but his style, although not always exciting, has proved to be effective against a certain level of fighter. In order to get a much bigger fight, Monroe will need to generate some excitement. Against Centeno, a fighter who has been knocked out twice and has severe defensive issues, I think Monroe opens up more and sits down more on his punches looking for that knockout.

    Centeno, 28, stands 6’1” and will have a three-inch height advantage. In this fight he will be the aggressor, utilizing his height advantage to set up his punches behind his left jab. Centeno throws an excellent straight right hand behind that jab, a punch that has scored some highlight reel knockouts for him. And that is also a punch that Monroe has been somewhat vulnerable to in the past.

    I really think both fighters feel they can knock the other out. And just as important, each will feel they need to get that knockout to get them back to where they think they belong in the division. Monroe will probably land the higher volume but Centeno could turn the course of the bout anytime with the right hand. This is a really interesting fight that may even steal the show this weekend.

    Please Don’t Marinate Berchelt-Herring

    In the business aspect of this sport, it is sometimes necessary to hold back on certain potential fights, to “marinate” them as they say. I get it. But sometimes it is just smart business to just jump right in. In the case of a potential 130-pound unification fight between WBC champion Miguel Berchelt (36-1, 32 KO’s) and newly crowned WBO champion Jamel Herring (20-2, 10 KO’s), the time is now.

    First off, the fight has already been built up some with each having fought within a span of two weeks on ESPN. But most importantly, if they do take interim fights before facing one another, there is significant risk that one or both could lose as each have exploitable flaws.

    Berchelt is an all-offensive fighter with heavy handed power but he lacks technique and defense. Herring is a very technically sound fighter who does a lot of things very well inside the ring but, that being said, he is not blessed with a ton of athleticism or power. Herring’s technical superiority would certainly give issues to Berchelt. However, Berchelt’s constant pressure and power could get very troublesome for Herring.

    Whoever can impose their style best will win this fight and a case can be made for either man. While it is tough to forecast a winner, the styles of the two can only lead to a high contact, fan-friendly fight. So we have an evenly matched fight that will no doubt in spots turn into a slugfest. This is why I consider this such an enticing matchup and why I don’t want to see anything happen to derail it.

    As it stands right now, Berchelt-Herring is a significant fight that really can’t get much bigger and it needs to happen next without any so-called marination.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Devon seems to think he has Ivan scared of him?!?

    I think Alexander is past it and gets humiliated in a loss.