On May 8th the story of forty-two year old rising Heavyweight contender Amir Mansour continued as he faced Joey Dawejko at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although Mansour has earned a reputation as a “Knockout Artist” having scored sixteen knockouts in twenty-one career victories prior to facing Dawejko, Mansour showed in this fight that he is more than a fighter with punching power.
In what was a tactical fight Mansour overcame a cut over the right eye in the second round as a result of an accidental clash of heads to outwork Dawejko over the course of ten rounds to win a convincing unanimous decision. What impressed me about Mansour’s performance was the measured way in which he fought Dawejko.
There were several rounds in this fight where neither fighter was able to stand out from the other. The difference in this observer’s eyes however, was Mansour’s ability to stay busy throughout this fight, particularly during rounds that could have been scored either way and this was what allowed him to win rounds. Although Dawejko, who also suffered a cut over his left eye as a result of an accidental clash of heads in round three, was able to have his moments periodically in this fight, he was simply not able to be busy enough to win rounds.
The win for Mansour, his second victory since losing a hard fought decision to former Cruiserweight world champion and current Heavyweight contender Steve Cunningham in April of last year, earned him the Pennsylvania State Heavyweight title. An interesting question coming out of this fight is what is next for Amir Mansour?
An important thing to keep in mind after all is that Mansour is forty-two years old and one could assume that Mansour would want to face a fighter that would present an opportunity for him to get into the top ten of any of the sport’s world sanctioning organizations as quickly as possible. Of course, the goal of any Heavyweight contender is to ultimately secure an opportunity to face either of the two division’s world champions Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder.
Although Mansour is known for his punching power, he has also shown that he has Boxing ability not only in his fight against Joey Dawejko, but also in his fight against Maurice Harris in 2013. It is also important to remember that Mansour’s loss to Cunningham last year was the only loss of his career.
What will be interesting to this observer is whether or not Mansour might face someone who is rated in the top ten in his next fight, or if he will face a fighter who one might argue is at a similar stage in their career before facing a top ten contender. Fighters such as Chazz Witherspoon and Travis Kauffman could each provide an interesting challenge for Mansour.
Much like Mansour, both Witherspoon and Kauffman have an ability to end a fight early. Witherspoon has scored twenty-five knockouts in thirty-three career victories registering a career knockout percentage of nearly 70%. Kauffman meanwhile, has scored twenty knockouts in twenty-eight career victories, also registering a career knockout percentage of nearly 70%.
Witherspoon has won his last three fights, all by knockout and in his last fight scored a fifth round stoppage of Galen Brown on April 18th. Kauffman has been undefeated since suffering the only loss of his career, a knockout at the hands of Tony Grano in 2009. Kauffman has won his last ten fights, scoring knockouts in five of those bouts. In his last fight, Kauffman scored a ten round unanimous decision over Vincent Thompson in January of last year.
If a fight with either Witherspoon or Kauffman against Mansour can be made it may provide the winner with an opportunity to face someone in the top ten. If Mansour is looking to face someone in the top ten in his next fight however, I believe an option that could be considered might be a rematch with Steve Cunningham.
The fight between Mansour and Cunningham was after all one of the best Heavyweight fights of 2014. It was a grueling fight that could have gone either way and I believe a rematch between might be the best option for both at this stage in their respective careers. Cunningham, who is currently rated number six by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and number fourteen by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) lost a close twelve round unanimous decision to current IBF number one contender Vyacheslav Glazkov on March 14th. Many observers, including this one felt that Cunningham deserved the decision.
A rematch with Cunningham for Mansour would offer an opportunity to potentially catapult himself into the top ten where he could find himself in position to challenge for a world title. A rematch with Mansour for Cunningham, meanwhile might offer him an opportunity should he be successful to maintain his ranking and potentially secure rematch with Glazkov down the line or to be able to challenge for a world title himself.
Whomever Amir Mansour will fight next is anyone’s guess, but I believe the most important thing for him is to stay active. If Mansour can stay active and continues to win, a storyline of a fighter who established himself as a rising contender over the age of forty fighting for a World Heavyweight championship may become a reality.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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