Somewhat understandably in the light of Pacquaio vs Rios and Froch vs Groves, there hasn’t been a vast amount of interest in the other bouts going on this weekend. That’s somewhat unfortunate as there’s a pretty decent card from Germany this Saturday night that may well be worth a watch.
The main event sees Yoan Pablo Hernandez defend his IBF 200lbs title against Alexander Alekseev. Hernandez had a solid amateur career and appeared to be well set for a great run as a pro until a surprising upset loss to Wayne Braithwaite. He quietly rebuilt his career and then burst back into prominence with two wins over Steve Cunningham to win and then defend the world title he now holds. The second bout in particular was a great bout to watch. A good athlete, technically sound and still fairly young, the only real questions about Hernandez have been the standard accusations against defected Cubans; gorged on freedom does he really care about his boxing career that much?
Alekseev’s career mimics Hernandez’ in some ways. An excellent amateur himself, highlighted by winning a world title, he’s seen his progression as pro stalled by some key losses, notably being demolished in short order by Denis Lebedev. A fairly stereotypical European boxer with an upright style, Alekseev uses his jab and straight right well but tends to struggle when opponents can really pressure him.
Prediction: Hernandez by Decision.
In a bout of two “nearly men” of the 175lbs division Eduard Gutknecht takes on Dmitry Sukhotsky. Gutknecht is a former European champion who has boxed for a world title before (being comprehensively outpointed by Robert Stieglitz back in 2010) and recently saw a march toward a world title shot end when Juergen Braehmer beat him. At 31 years old another loss to a contender would likely be the end of Gutknecht’s world title ambitions. Sukhotsky was at one stage the mandatory contender for Nathan Cleverly when he held a 175lbs belt, but gave up that position following some promotional shenanigans only to find himself completely outclassed by Cornelius White. At 32 he’s in the same position as Gutknecht; while a win would make him a viable contender if he were to lose it’s hard to see where he goes.
Neither man is particularly great and both have struggled when asked to step up. Against White Sukhotsky simply couldn’t handle the American’s power but Gutknecht isn’t a big puncher by any stretch of the imagination. I think in a close, nip and tuck fight Sukhotsky has a slight edge and slips away with a decision.
Prediction: Sukhotssky by Decision.
The other contest worth a watch on the bout features Australia’s great heavyweight hope Alex Leapai against stalled European contender Denis Boytsov. Leapai’s been on the fringes of the world title scene for at least the past four years but never quite seems to make the step up. Somewhat crude but a big puncher, his most notable wins came back in 2010 when he stopped Travis Walker and Owen Beck before decisioning Darnell Wilson, Any momentum he may have had quickly disappeared though as he was outclassed and eventually stopped by Kevin Johnson in what was meant to be his coming out party as a heavyweight contender. He’s picked up a number of routine wins since then but this is his first big test and much like Gutknechy and Sukhotsky above, at 34 the sense is that it’s win this or go home in terms of his career.
Boystov is a name that kept popping up in “heavyweight prospects to be excited about” in the late 2000’s. A good amatuer at the cadet and junior levels he turned pro and has boxed frequently. The issue is that there’s rarely been a clear indication that he wants to step up his level of opposition. Comfortable wins over the likes of Ondrej Pala, Vinny Maddalone and Taras Bidenko showed that he had the talent to step up a level but neither he nor his promoters ever seemed inclined to and as such he’s continued to look good against mediocre opposition for years. A bad hand injury certainly didn’t help but regardless, it’s hard to look at the last few years of Boystov’s career as anything but a disappointment. That said he is still only 27 and thus there’s a while yet before people should write off the powerful, quick and skilled Russian.
Leapai’s power means he always stands a chance in bouts but I think he lacks the skills to compete with Boystov. Boystov’s quick and technically sound and as long as his hands are healthy he hits with sapping power. I think he overwhelms Leapai who simply can’t land his own shots while eating far too many to the head and body himself.
Prediction: Boystov by TKO.