Four Potential Upsets in September

By Matt Andrzejewski on September 1, 2013
Four Potential Upsets in September

The month of September is setting up to be a very big month in the sport of boxing. The schedule is loaded with many high profile intriguing bouts. With so many quality fights, the potential that we see some upsets this month is very high. And with that said, I will take a look at a few fights in September where the underdog has a good chance to pull a surprise.

Ricky Burns vs. Raymundo Beltran

Ricky Burns is going to come into this fight as a solid favorite.  He is the champion and is fighting at home against a man who is best known as being a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao. Raymundo Beltran, however, is a much better fighter than his record or credentials heading into this fight may indicate.

Beltran suffered a TKO loss to Ammeth Diaz in 2008. Since that fight, we have seen a different Raymundo Beltran in the ring. He does have two decision losses since then to Sharif Bogere and Luis Ramos Jr. However, both those fights were close and many thought Beltran deserved the nod in each of them. And keep in mind both Bogere and Ramos Jr. were undefeated entering those fights. Since the loss to Ramos, Beltran has won three straight including an impressive win over Hank Lundy.

Beltran has much better skills than he is given credit. He throws a solid well-timed jab to keep his opponents off balance and get to the inside. When on the inside, he mixes his attack well to the head and body or vice-versa. He is also very heavy handed and if he catches an opponent flush, like he did with Lundy, can hurt them with one shot.

Ricky Burns struggled is his last fight against Jose Gonzalez. If he performs like he did against Gonzalez, Beltran will beat him. Was that performance an aberration? It very well could have been. But even if it was, Burns better be on the top of his game against Beltran. And even a Burns at his best may find a lot of difficulty in this fight.

Chris Arreola vs. Seth Mitchell

The heavyweight fight between Chris Arreola and Seth Mitchell is a classic cross roads match. Simply put, the winner turns into a contender in the heavyweight division and loser takes a major step backwards. Due to the way Mitchell performed in both his fights against Johnathon Banks, Arreola enters the bout as a pretty significant favorite. Mitchell, though, has a much better chance than most are giving him in this bout.

A factor getting overlooked in this matchup is the fact that Arreola may be somewhat shopworn. Arreola has a lot of heart but has taking some real beatings inside the ring. Vitali Klitschko pummeled him in 2009 over ten rounds before the bout was stopped. In his next fight, Arreola took a lot of punches in losing a twelve round decision to Tomasz Adamek. Bermane Stiverne extended some serious punishment over twelve rounds to Arreola earlier this year. 

In addition to the ring wars, Arreola has had some well documented weight issues. His ring weights have often fluctuated and there have been many times where he flat out appeared out of shape. This constant battle at the scale for Arreola can take its toll over the duration of his career.

Mitchell is certainly going to come out using lateral movement in attempt to keep the fight at a distance and out box Arreola. Mitchell is unquestionably more athletic than Arreola. The big question of course is Mitchell’s chin. But if Mitchell can get past the early rounds using his athleticism, the effects of the ring wars and battles at the scale for Arreola may start to show. In which case, an upset here will become very likely.

Adonis Stevenson vs. Tavoris Cloud

Adonis Stevenson became a household name in boxing with his scintillating one punch knockout of Chad Dawson in June. With his first defense, he takes on Tavoris Cloud who lost his portion of the Light Heavyweight Title to Bernard Hopkins in March. Naturally, Stevenson enters the ring a significant favorite. However, Tavoris Cloud chances in this fight should not be down played.

In boxing, styles make fights. Cloud, in his last bout, fought someone in Bernard Hopkins whose style he matched up very poorly against. Hopkins boxed, used angles, tied up when needed and fought effectively in spots to earn enough points to win a decision. Stevenson will not fight in that manner. He will use significantly less lateral movement and be more willing to stand in front of Cloud. And that style suits Cloud a lot better.

Cloud is also a pretty good puncher. Stevenson, in his one loss, was TKO’d by journeyman Darnell Boone. So Cloud will have a fighter in front of him who has been knocked out by a much lesser puncher. The ingredients are there for Stevenson getting caught and hurt early.

There is another factor to keep in mind. Stevenson has gone twelve before but has never really been pushed.  What if Stevenson lands some good shots early and Cloud is still standing in the middle rounds? And what if Cloud begins to push him in those middle rounds? How good is Stevenson’s endurance? Let’s keep in mind Cloud has shown endurance having gone twelve rounds on five occasions including an all-out slugfest against Glen Johnson in 2010.

Stevenson can punch and could certainly get Cloud out of there early. But Cloud can punch too and may test that chin of Stevenson. In addition, if the fight drags on into the middle rounds and Cloud is still going, a lot of questions will be asked of Adonis Stevenson.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Brian Vera

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. makes his long awaited return to the ring after more than a year when he faces Brian Vera later this month. And make no mistake about it, the ingredients are all there for Vera to pull off a major upset.

There are many questions about the focus and commitment to boxing of Chavez Jr. How serious is he taking this sport and his career? What kind of shape will he be in when he enters the ring? Given his past, these are all legitimate questions.

If the focus and conditioning are not there for Chavez Jr., Vera could pose some real problems. First, if Chavez Jr. is not focused and taking Vera lightly, then Vera could catch him early. Vera has a very underrated right hand. I could see a scenario where Vera jabs to the body in the early going taking Chavez Jr.’s focus downstairs and then coming back quick with the right hand to the head.

The other potential scenario I see for Vera is him wearing down a potentially unconditioned Chavez Jr. late. Vera is very tough and if he can withstand the punches of Chavez Jr. early then conditioning may become a factor late. And if Chavez Jr. is not in good shape, Vera may begin to wear him down with his body shots and tenacity. To my point here, I ask this question. Is there anyone who truly believes that Vera will not enter the ring in much better shape than Chavez Jr.?

There is absolutely no doubt that Chavez Jr. is the more talented fighter in this matchup. And his talent alone may be enough to get past Vera. But in boxing it’s not always the most talent that wins the fight.

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