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Kholmatov vs Ford: Did Raymond Learn From Early Tests? 

Publish Date: 03/01/2024
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

This Saturday night live on ESPN+ from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Otabek Kholmatov and Raymond Ford square off in a 50-50 battle. This fight will be for a vacant strap and the betting lines have Ford a slight underdog at +125 on BetMGM. Two unbeaten southpaws should make for an intriguing main event so forget the odds and the vacant alphabet, let’s preview and predict this bout.

Raymond Ford is the more experienced boxer from the stand point of quality opponents. Opposition such as Jessie Magdaleno, Sakaria Lukas, Edward Vasquez, among others were key to the improvement we’ve seen out of Ford of late. Yes, Raymond didn’t look all that good versus Aaron Perez and you could say Edward Vazquez’s hand should’ve been raised instead of Ford. The bottom line is Raymond Ford has faced adversity and now can prove he is ready for his spotlight moment.

Similar to Ford entering the pros, Otabek Kholmatov was touted amateur. Passing the eye test plus a dominate victory over Thomas Patrick Ward is one thing. Facing a tested boxer in Ford is another thing. Is Kholmatov up for the task? It appears Otabek has the power advantage and height as well but not much taller after seeing them face-off at the presser. Let’s get into the X’s and O’s off this matchup.

Speaking of power, Otabek looks to do damage with almost every punch he throws. Kholmatov delivers hooks with both hands, many times in rapid fire combos. A fairly fluid puncher, he will double up on those hooks especially with the left hand to the head or body. With long arms and good hand speed, he likes to fight at range. He has good footwork and is definitely light on his feet but he will stand his ground as well. A bad habit Otabek has is leaving large holes in his defense while throwing those home run shots.

Ford has the faster hands and is very active with his jab. Like Otabek, Raymond throws hooks with both hands. He loves the jab-left, whether hook or straight left hand. Ford can’t make the mistake of letting his punch volume drop given Otabek’s style. Edward Vazquez’s pressure was effective throughout the fight and we saw Ford on the ropes a bunch. He did look composed somewhat but he also got hit too much. Vasquez was able to land looping punches to the body and up top while Ford was trapped.

Something to remember Vasquez has only 3 knockouts that’s not the case on Saturday versus Otabek. Some fans and media members believe those challenges that Raymond had exposed his ceiling. This boxing podcaster believes it made him a better overall boxer hence the more prepared. Look for two-way action in the middle of the ring and at times on the inside near the ropes. We’ll see some fancy footwork from both in the form of circling and pivoting. 7-5 for either man is a fair prediction in this boxing junkie’s eyes. While neither boxer has elite defense Raymond Ford is more responsible in that department. Look for him to time and counter Otabek just enough to get the nod.

My Official Prediction is Raymond Ford by Majority-Decision.

PODCAST: or The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast on Apple Podcasts


Side Note: The co-feature is Luis Alberto Lopez vs. a game fighter in Reiya Abe. Lopez will be the aggressor while Abe looks to box on the outside like Ruben Villa did. My Pick: Lopez by UD.

Also, Amanda Serrano and Jake Paul return on DAZN this weekend.

Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio

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