In addition to the Heavyweight bout between former WBC Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder and former European Heavyweight champion Robert Helenius, a bout that was previously covered here in preview on The Boxing Truth®, Saturday, October 15, 2022 will feature much more for Boxing fans. Firstly, on the undercard of the Wilder-Helenius bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY that can be seen here in the United States on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View as well as on digital combat sports streaming network and pay-per-view platform FITE, will be a bout in the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division between former world champions Caleb Plant and Anthony Dirrell.
Some may call this a “Crossroads Fight” for both men. As some may recall, Plant was last in the ring in November of last year when he lost his unbeaten record and IBF Super-Middleweight world championship in a unification bout with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for the Undisputed world championship in the division. Although Plant would be stopped by Alvarez in eleven rounds, he did make a solid account of himself in defeat. Much like Deontay Wilder, Plant now looks to rebuild and the first step in that process will come in the form of former WBC world champion Anthony Dirrell. Dirrell, a veteran of thirty-eight professional fights, has also been looking to get back into position to fight for a world title and will come into this bout unbeaten in his last two fights having a draw and a win to his ledger in those bouts since suffering a knockout loss at the hands of David Benavidez in September 2019.
Although the story at least going into this fight will be one fighter looking to bounce back from the first loss of his career going against a fighter looking to continue building momentum, what this will come down to in the eyes of this observer could be who will be able to dictate the combat. What we have here is an encounter between two fighters who can do a little bit of everything. Two boxer/punchers that are capable of scoring a knockout should an opportunity arise and are also capable of Boxing to a decision victory.
While it may be logical to expect that Plant may want to make a statement in his first fight back, it may be wise to implement a tactical approach here as Dirrell has sixteen more bouts in his career compared to him and has scored knockouts in twenty-five of those bouts compared to Plant’s twelve knockouts in his twenty-one career wins. While this will likely be viewed as an advantage by some in Dirrell’s favor, one aspect that normally works in Plant’s favor is his lateral movement and ability to use angles.
In his fight against Saul Alvarez, his movement and ability to attack Alvarez from various angles did for a time particularly early in the fight bring Plant success. As they bout went on however, Alvarez was able to put consistent pressure on Plant and gradually broke him down with body punches in addition to what he was able to land to his head.
Dirrell likely saw that fight and will likely be looking to implement a similar approach in his own way. What he needs to keep in mind is that Alvarez himself had trouble with Plant throughout that fight and it was largely his consistency in how he approached Plant that led to his success in the middle and late rounds and ultimately to his victory over him. Dirrell must also keep in mind that Plant does have quick hands and the ability to attack in spurts. If he is able to find success against him early, he must not get complacent and allow Plant any openings. Plant is the type of fighter that can take advantage of lulls throughout a fight and Dirrell needs to be aware of that.
As is the case for pretty much any fighter in the Super-Middleweight and 175lb. Light-Heavyweight divisions, the end goal for both fighters is likely an encounter with Saul Alvarez. With Alvarez maintaining his position as Undisputed world champion in the division, despite being shelved with an injury to his left hand following his third bout with Gennady Golovkin, this bout will likely amount to an audition among the potential opponents for Alvarez once he heals and is able to return to competition.
The Plant-Dirrell bout is not however, the only bout outside of Wilder-Helenius that will likely draw the interest of Boxing fans throughout the day on October 15th. Two events will be taking place outside of the United States that also have intrigue. First, at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England the highly anticipated Women’s world championship unification doubleheader featuring Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall meeting for the Undisputed Women's Middleweight championship of the world and a Jr. Lightweight unification bout between undefeated WBO/IBF world champion Mikaela Mayer and WBC/IBO world champion Alycia Baumgardner, which can be seen here in the United States on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+.
The card, which was scheduled to take place on September 10th, was delayed due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8th as the United Kingdom entered a period of mourning, which suspended many activities including sports.
While all four fighters were in Manchester and participating in fight week activities including the pre-fight press conference prior to the Queen’s passing, an obvious question as these bouts near taking place is what affect if any will the one month delay have on the fighters.
The Shields-Marshall unification bout is one of the most anticipated fights throughout the entire sport. Two undefeated world champions putting their respective portions of a world championship on the line to unify and determine one champion alone is enough to draw interest even amongst casual fans, but this fight also has bad blood between the champions attached to it.
This stems from the meeting the two had as amateurs in May 2012 where Marshall scored a four round decision over Shields, in what was the only defeat Shields has suffered in a Boxing ring in a career that has seen her win two Olympic Gold medals as an amateur and win world titles in three weight divisions as a professional including briefly becoming the Undisputed Super-Middleweight world champion.
Obviously, the bad feelings between the two has simmered in the decade since that bout including a heated exchange between the two in a post-fight interview following Shields victory in February of this year over Ema Kozin. While some may view such an exchange “Pull Apart” as a means of promotion, this observer was vocal in saying that it was a negative for the women of the sport to see such an incident particularly when the sport is taking advantage of unprecedented exposure and long overdue recognition for the female fighters in the sport.
The view of yours truly notwithstanding, the fight between the two, this time as professionals appears to be an even fight. Shields has been splitting time between Boxing and competing in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) where she has a 1-1 record currently.
Although one should not compare Boxing with the sport of MMA as it is two different sports and require different attributes, it is nevertheless interesting that someone of Shields’ caliber would be willing to venture into a different sport while still at the top of her game as a boxer. Given the demands and tone each sport requires to compete at a high level, a question done might ask is how will this impact her preparation for this fight particularly because it comes against not only the only boxer to defeat her as an amateur or professorial, but also someone that has proven to be very dangerous as a professional. Marshall has scored knockouts in ten of her twelve pro fights and will enter into this fight having scored eight consecutive knockouts.
At her best, Claressa Shields is a compact combination puncher that often overwhelms and out works her opponents with activity. While Shields only has two knockouts in her twelve career wins as a professional, she has on occasion shown punching power in her own right. Wisdom would suggest that she look to out box Marshall over the course of the scheduled ten round bout. Even though you can never dismiss the possibility of a knockout for either fighter and keeping in mind that Claressa Shields has yet to really be in danger in a fight to this point, sure must be wary of Marshall’s power because she has shown the ability to end a fight with one punch before. Despite the bad blood between the two, Shields must be tactical and not allow her emotion to dictate how she approaches this fight.
For Marshall, her fight plan should be looking for a way to limit Shields’ offense over the course of the fight. While one could make an argument based on statistics that she might have the edge in terms of power, Marshall must not head hunt and should be tactical as well, but try not to leave Shields openings. Marshall must dictate how the fight is to be fought in other to be successful.
Although the winner of Shields-Marshall will have status as Undisputed world champion in the Middleweight division, the co-main event could lead to an undisputed championship fight for the winner in 2023 in the 130lb. Jr. Lightweight division.
The fight between world champions Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner presents an interesting clash of styles. Mayer is a solid boxer/puncher that uses lateral movement and hand speed to get the upper hand on her opponents. Unbeaten in seventeen pro bouts with five knockouts, Mayer has gradually been working her way towards unifying the division by successfully adding the IBF crown to the WBO championship she won in October 2020 with a ten round unanimous decision over Ewa Brodnicka. In the fight where she added the IBF championship, Mayer scored a ten round unanimous decision over Maiva Hamadouche in November of last year. While Mayer has not faced much resistance on her path towards an undisputed championship bout, her opponent Alycia Baumgardner could prove to be a dangerous obstacle in that path. Baumgardner won her portions of the World Jr. Lightweight championship by scoring a one punch knockout over previously undefeated world champion Terri Harper in November of last year a knockout where Harper appeared to be out cold on her feet. Since that victory, which some called an upset, Baumgardner successfully defended her crown in April by scoring a ten round unanimous decision over Edith Mattysee.
Despite her rise to the top of the division coming quickly and as a surprise to some, Baumgardner has shown obviously that she does have the punching power and credentials that should be taken seriously by fans and more importantly her opponents. This could potentially be a close fight depending on who is able to dictate how the fight is fought. Mayer must rely on what has gotten her in this position and box Baumgardner by being a tactician. Baumgardner meanwhile needs to find a way to cut the ring off and limit Mayer’s ability to move.
Although Mayer likely has an edge in regard to hand speed, she has not been put in a position thus far in her career where her ability to take a punch from a fighter with significant punching power has been tested. If Baumgardner is able to dictate the tempo of the combat, Mayer may well be tested in what has the appearance of a close and competitive bout at least on paper.
Following the Women’s world championship unification doubleheader, ESPN+ continues their Boxing programming of the day by presenting the rematch for the Undisputed Lightweight championship of the world between undefeated world champion Devin Haney and the former champion George Kambosos. A contractually mandated rematch that will take place in the country as their first encounter Melbourne, Australia.
In their first bout in June of this year, Haney thoroughly out boxed the previously unbeaten Kambosos over twelve rounds to win the Undisputed championship in what was a pro-Kambosos environment before the champion’s home country.
Although this rematch was pre-ordained per contractual terms for the original bout and there remains a possibility that there could be a third bout between the two per the same contractual terms should Kambosos regain the championship, done questioned the wisdom of the former champion for exercising his rematch clause.
This is due to how the first fight was fought where Haney was simply too quick and too elusive for Kambosos. While some may say that it was a matter of the adage of “Styles Make Fights,” the onus is on the former champion to show that he had a bad night at the office and this fight will be different.
How can Kambosos accomplish this? It is certainly easier said than done, but he needs to bring the fight to Haney from the outset and apply pressure on him. The difference in hand speed in the first fight was clear and some might be wondering how Kambosos can combat that speed this time around.
This observer is a firm believer that one of the best ways to try to negate a fighter’s hand speed is through timing. Although keeping in mind that it is easier said than done, Kambosos has to find a way as he is applying pressure on Haney to make the champion miss and counter his offense. This was accomplished by former world champion Jorge Linares, who was able to badly stun Haney in the closing seconds of the tenth round of their fight in May 2021. To date, this was the only time Haney has been hurt in his career. While he was able to recover and go on to win a convincing unanimous decision, it did show how an opponent needs to approach Haney.
Kambosos must find the balance of applying pressure, being more aggressive, but doing so tactically and trying to bait Haney into creating openings for him to exploit if he wants to be successful in this fight. Simply put, he cannot try to box with someone who might prove to be a master boxer by the time his career is over. He must force Haney into his role of fight.
The task for the champion going into his first title defense is to try and repeat a near-perfect performance that he was able to produce in the first fight. Haney must however, not be complacent and must be prepared for any adjustments that Kambosos might make this time around. While both fighters are likely going to be moving up to the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division in the not too distant future, there remains unfinished business and we will see if Kambosos can find a way to force a chapter three in this rivalry.
As tends to be the case especially as the sport of Boxing moves more in the direction of digital streaming on terms of how it is broadcast to the public, this day of Boxing truly offers a little something for every type of Boxing fan. How October 15, 2022 will be remembered in the history book of Boxing however, remains to be seen.
“And That's The Boxing Truth. “
Wilder vs. Helenius (Featuring Plant vs. Dirrell) takes place on Saturday, October 15th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The fight can be seen in the United States on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT for $74.99. In addition to being streamed on the Fox Sports app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices/Smart TVs, the event will also be streamed in the United States and globally on digital combat sports streaming network and pay-per-view platform FITE in addition to also being available via traditional cable/satellite pay-per-view throughout the United States and Canada.
To order and stream on the Fox Sports app download the Fox Sports app on your preferred device and follow the ordering instructions or visit www.FoxSports.com/PPV for ordering information.
To order and stream on the FITE app, download the FITE app on mobile, tablet or connected streaming devices/Smart TVs, or Click the following link to order and for instructions on how and where to download the FITE app: https://www.fite.tv/watch/wilder-vs-helenius/2pbyb/
Shields vs. Marshall /Mayer vs. Baumgardner takes place Saturday, October 15th at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The full card can be seen in the United States on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+ beginning at 2:30PM ET/11:30AM PT. ESPN+ is available through the ESPN app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices, platforms, and Smart TVs. For more information about ESPN+ including schedules, to subscribe, and where and how to access the ESPN app please visit: www.ESPNPlus.com.
Haney vs. Kambosos 2 takes places Saturday, October 15th at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. The card can also be seen in the United States on ESPN+ beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT. The main event will also be simulcast on the main ESPN cable network across cable and satellite providers with a scheduled start time of 10:30PM ET/7:30PM PT.
*Fights and Cards Subject To Change
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