On the heels of an active boxing weekend, the schedule for this upcoming Saturday is jammed-pack with action. Miguel Berchelt versus Mickey Roman promises to be a barnburner. The quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series continues, next on tap is the junior welterweight and bantamweight divisions. At 140, Josh Taylor returns to face Ryan Martin, both men are unbeaten. For the bantamweights, Ryan Burnett meets former pound-for-pounder Nonito Donaire.
Let’s begin the breakdown of an all-Mexican showdown that could very well steal the weekend. On the way up the ladder as a professional boxer Miguel Berchelt made it to 21-0. In his 22nd bout he was stopped via technical-knockout in the very first round by a 15-1 Luis Eduardo Florez. Usually an early exit can be difficult to decipher when prognosticating a fighter’s future. Sometimes its proof the fighter wasn’t ready for a step up at that point, if ever. Other times it can be as simple as getting caught with a perfectly landed punch early when a fighter’s body is not all the way warmed and susceptible. It was a left hook that froze and then dropped Berchelt, as he was standing right in front of Florez irresponsibly.
Berchelt bounced back from that TKO by winning nine straight, putting him in line for a matchup with Francisco Vargas. Vargas was riding high, having engaged in consecutive wars with Orlando Salido and Takashi Miura. Little known Berchelt got his shot to shine on HBO and took full advantage of the opportunity. Berchelt followed his 11th round KO of Vargas, earning a well-deserved victory over Miura.
Berchelt will be sharing the ring with Miguel ‘Mickey’ Roman, winner of 22 out of his last 23 outings. Roman’s string of victories came against the likes Orlando Salido and Daniel Ponce De Leon. Mickey’s record of 60-12 can be deceiving and Roman shouldn’t be overlooked as a quality opponent. Mickey’s resume reads like a prospect list of the who’s who, in and around the lighter-weight divisions.
Roman will likely set the pace using pressure in his quest to cut the ring off. Berchelt will set the tone with a stiff jab and a good output of combination punching. Berchelt’s foot movement is his best method of defense. Miguel has a large advantage in height, holding nearly a 5-inch reach on Mickey.
Roman will exploit Berchelt’s loose defense with straight ahead pressure, but it won’t last past 4 or 5 rounds. At that point Berchelt will have caught up to Roman’s bully-tactics. By the mid to late rounds it will be Berchelt landing in rapid-fire. What starts out to be a two-way scrap, slowly but surely turns in favor of the more skillful and accurate punches, stopping Roman in his tracks.
My Official Prediction is Miguel Berchelt by late knockout.
Josh Taylor busted on to the UK scene in 2017 by easily dispatching Ohara Davies. It was a matchup of undefeated prospects, with Taylor separating himself from Davies, putting the rest of the junior welterweight division on blast. Taylor followed the Davies win by beating an awkward veteran in Miguel Vazquez. After knocking out Vazquez, he won again which led to a very important bout against Viktor Postol. Taylor was tested by Postol, but managed to withstand more than a few rallies by the Ukrainian native.
Ryan Martin is 22-0 but has yet to fight a top flight foe. For the most part Martin’s cruised right along as a hot prospect, facing decent opposition like Marcos Jimenez and Briedis Prescott. The fight that gave Martin some trouble was a split decision win over Francisco Rojo. The first half of the Rojo fight, Martin was pushed almost to the brink. Not that he was ever badly hurt but he did face plenty of adversity. Eventually, Martin created enough space to keep Rojo at bay for the most part.
Martin has good hand speed with solid fundamentals on offense. Ryan uses a quick jab and likes to throw an overhand right. The missing link for the Ryan ‘Blue Chip’ Martin is defense and a bad habit of getting caught in exchanges. Martin compounds his lack of defense when he resorts to a high guard shell. Instead of picking his spots or catch and shoot, Martin allows his competition to unload as he covers up with an ear muff guard.
Taylor will mix his offensive attack to the head and body along with moving around the ring on the outside to remain more elusive. Martin will definitely have his moments or even win a few rounds, however Taylor’s versatility will be the difference maker.
My Official Prediction is Josh Taylor by Unanimous Decision.
At 118 Nayoa Inoue and Ryan Burnett stood out as the class of the division heading into the World Boxing Super Series. Inoue took care of business when he completely obliterated Juan Carlos Payano a month ago. Now it’s Ryan Burnett’s turn to match Inoue as he takes on one of the most talent fighters of the last generation.
Nonito Donaire’s left hand assumedly carries some heat to it but that may be his only path to victory. Donaire just isn’t the same elite level talent he once was even at 118. Losses to Carl Frampton and Jessie Magdaleno showed Donaire’s age. Nonito can no longer pull the trigger at the correct time. During his prime, Donaire relied on reaction time and speed to deliver his killer-counter left hand. Without the same reflexes he now struggles to land a significant shot and is mediocre on defense.
Burnett’s stock and confidence is clearly on this rise with impressive victories over Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov especially. Unless Donaire can land a lucky left and catch Burnett slipping, it will be a long night. Burnett may not have deafening power but he is a very skilled fighter able to sharp shooter from just outside of punching range.
My Official Prediction is Ryan Burnett by Unanimous Decision.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Net. Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio