What to Watch: May 4-5

By Caryn A. Tate on May 2, 2018
What to Watch: May 4-5
Cecilia Braekhus is without a doubt in the top two or three ranking of female fighters in the world.

Join me as I break down which of the week’s televised fights are most interesting and why. Here’s this week’s rundown…

Join me as I break down which of the week’s televised fights are most interesting and why. Here’s this week’s rundown:

Friday, May 4
7:30pm PT/10:30pm ET - ESPN2
Ryan Garcia vs. Jayson Velez; Gary O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs) vs. Berlin Abreu (14-1, 11 KOs) - 10 rounds, middleweight

In the main event, Velez (26-4-1, 18 KOs) represents a good test for prospect Garcia (14-0, 13 KOs). The Puerto Rican fighter gave JoJo Diaz a lot to handle two years ago and has never lost by stoppage. He has huge heart and solid skills, all of which should provide all the right questions for a young knockout artist like Garcia. If he doesn’t stop Velez, what will Garcia’s response be? A lot of fighters who become accustomed to knocking out their opponents don’t work on their fundamentals enough and that becomes clear when they finally face a foe who doesn’t go down. It will be very interesting to see how Garcia responds and how well Velez fares.

Saturday, May 5
10:00am PT/1:00pm ET - Sky Sports (UK)
Tony Bellew vs. David Haye

One of my picks this week is the heavyweight rematch between Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs) and Haye (28-3, 26 KOs). It’s unfortunately not being broadcast in the United States, which is a miss on the part of American networks.

Their first fight took place over a year ago, in March 2017, and both fighters have been out of the ring since. They were scheduled to run it back in December, but Haye suffered a bicep injury and it was pushed back. The original bout was an exciting contest that surprised a lot of people when Bellew, competing for the first time as a heavyweight, stopped longtime heavyweight Haye in the 11th round. Afterward, Haye stated he had an ankle injury but regardless, it was an impressive showing by Bellew considering the circumstances. It should be another great fight regardless of how it plays out this time.

8:00pm PT/11:0pm ET - HBO
Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) vs. Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs) - 12 rounds, unified middleweight titles; Cecilia Braekhus vs. Kali Reis

My second pick is undisputed women’s welterweight champion Braekhus (32-0, 9 KOs) defending her four major world titles (and one minor) against former middleweight world champion Reis (13-6-1, 4 KOs). HBO is airing their first female fight—a great step forward for the sport.

While Braekhus’ undefeated record is indeed impressive, it’s important to remember that women’s boxing is different from men’s as far as records are concerned. Female fighters by and large have dramatically fewer opportunities than their male counterparts, which includes training and (particularly prior to 2012, when women’s boxing was finally allowed into the Olympic Games) an amateur career. Because of this and the shocking difference in pay compared to male fighters, most women boxers have to learn on the (pro) job. Hence, most of them have losses, so looking at paper alone isn’t an indicator of a fighter’s skill level. All this to say that Reis is a better fighter than perhaps her six losses would indicate; she has solid fundamentals and, as stated above, has been a world champion three times before.

Braekhus is without a doubt in the top two or three ranking of female fighters in the world. She’s an anomaly in the sport, having fought as a professional since 2007 and never suffering a loss. On top of her excellent fundamentals and classic schooling, she’s a star in her native Norway—Braekhus’ bouts regularly draw big crowds, and she does her share of modeling in Europe.

Despite Reis’ ability and prior world title experience, I can’t see her being able to overcome the skillful Braekhus. Cecilia’s footwork, defense, and other fundamentals are just too big of a hill to climb for the younger fighter. It will likely be a great showcase of the champion for her first fight on HBO (with hopefully many more to come).

Rumors have been swirling of a potential future catchweight showdown between her and two-time Olympic gold medalist/unified super middleweight world champion, Claressa Shields. That would be a great match-up, but the future bout I really want to see Braekhus take is her longtime mandatory, Layla McCarter, another top two or three pound-for-pound fighter. Hopefully, with this bout being her first in the US, it will set up more mouth-watering fights like these.

Check out more of Caryn’s work at http://www.CarynATate.com and follow her on Twitter@carynatate

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  1. Balaamsass 08:45am, 05/03/2018

    GGG beat and put 185 lb Jacobs on his ass in the process and he beat juicy Canelo 8 rounds to 4. He beats all of those guys that Redplains is “interested” in but guess what ....all of those guys beat the redhead whether he’s juiced or not! Even though Crawford would be a hammer and tong affair! Seriously…how long do you think Red could hold off Lurch/Hurd?!

  2. Balaamsass 08:26am, 05/03/2018

    GGG’s fight is just not interesting to Redplains….as a matter of fact GGG is not interesting….period! Hell! The redhead is not interesting either for that matter! Now you take the Charlos or Hurd…or Spence….or Crawford….well now…. you can bet your bippy there’s an intense interest there!

  3. Lucas McCain 07:57am, 05/03/2018

    I’m also looking forward to GGG, though I sincerely hope his challenger does not become a martyr-osyan.  My sense is that GGG only has another year or two of top or close-to-top performances, and that makes even a fill-in fight special.

  4. Steve 04:10am, 05/03/2018

    Not a big fan of watching women attempting to render each other unconscious. Just saying.

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