HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Herrera vs. Benavidez, Korobov vs. Lee, Chaves vs. Bradley
By: William Holmes
Both Showtime and HBO will be televising competing cards from Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night. The Cosmopolitan City of Las Vegas will be the host site for Saturday’s Top Rank promoted and HBO televised card and will feature two world title fights supporting the main event of the night.
Timothy Bradley will take on the hard hitting Argentinean Diego Chaves in the welterweight division in the main event. Matt Korobov will face Irish Andy Lee for the WBO Middleweight title in the co-feature, and Mauricio Herrera will face Jose Benavidez Jr. for the WBA Interim Junior Welterweight title.
The following is a preview of all three televised fights.
Mauricio Herrera (21-4) vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. (21-0); WBA Interim Junior Welterweight Title
Mauricio Herrera is most famous for his last close loss to Danny Garcia than for any of his victories, as most observers felt Herrera deserved the decision win when he faced Garcia.
Herrera will be giving up about three-and-a-half inches to Benavidez and about two inches in reach. Benavidez also has a deeper amateur career. He was an eleven-time national champion, a silver gloves champ twice, a national golden gloves champion at the age of sixteen, and had a very successful amateur career.
Benavidez also has a higher knockout ratio than Herrera. Benavidez has stopped fifteen of his opponents, but only two of his past five fights resulted in a stoppage victory. Herrera has only stopped seven of his opponents, and he hasn’t had a stoppage victory since 2010.
Herrera has also been the more tested fighter of the two. His losses have all come against tough opponents, including the questionable loss to Danny Garcia, Karim Mayfield, Mike Alvarado, and Mie Anchondo.
His notable victories include Johan Perez, Miguel Huerta, Ji-Hoon Kim, Mike Dallas Jr., and Ruslan Provodnikov.
Benavidez’s opponents are nowhere near as impressive as Herrera’s. Benavidez’s best victories have come against Henry Auraad, Prince Doku Jr., and Pavel Miranda.
However, you don’t become the youngest national golden gloves champion of all time without having some type of talent, and the ceiling on Benavidez appears to be very high. He’s only twenty-two years old and he has a very long and lucrative career ahead of him.
Herrera might be too tough of an opponent for him right now, but Benavidez’s amateur experience should help him outbox Herrera for twelve full rounds.
Matt Korobov (24-0) vs. Andy Lee (33-2); WBO Middleweight Title
Both Andy Lee and Matt Korobov represented their native countries, Ireland and Russia, well on the amateur level.
Andy Lee competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics and won the bronze medal in the 2004 European Championships. Korobov competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics and won a gold medal in the 2005 and 2007 World Amateur Championships.
Andy Lee has been boxing longer as a professional, but is one year younger than Korobov. Lee has stopped twenty-three of his opponents, including three of his past five opponents. Korobov has only stopped fourteen of his opponents, but three of his past five victories have come by way of stoppage.
Andy Lee’s last fight took place in the junior middleweight division in which he scored a mild upset over John Jackson. His other big victories include Darryl Cunningham, Craig McEwan, Brian Vera, and Michael Walker. His two losses have both come by TKO. One loss was to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and the other loss was to Brian Vera, which he later avenged.
Korobov has been relatively active the past two years and has fought six times since the end of 2012. He has never tasted defeat and his notable victories include Jose Uzcategui, Derek Edwards, Grady Brewer, Ossie Duran, and Latif Mundy.
Andy Lee surprised many by stopping John Jackson in his last bout, but he was losing on the cards at the time. Korobov is a more patient boxer than Jackson and usually brings a very sound game plan into the ring. This won’t be the most exciting fight of the night, but it should be the closest.
A slight edge has to be given to Korobov.
Timothy Bradley Jr. (31-1) vs. Diego Chaves (23-2); Welterweights
Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley is underappreciated. Despite the fact this writer feels he lost to Manny Pacquiao both times he fought him, he did appear to look better in the ring the second time he fought Manny (which he lost) than the first time they fought (which he won).
Bradley is ripped to shreds, but he doesn’t have an incredible knockout ratio. He will be slightly shorter than Chaves, but will have about a two-and-a-half inch reach advantage on his opponent. Bradley is also three years older than Chaves.
Chaves won the bronze medal in the 2007 Pan American Games as an amateur and has had a more successful international career as an amateur than Bradley. Chaves has also stopped nineteen of his opponents, including three of his past five fights. Bradley only has twelve stoppages on his record, and he hasn’t had a stoppage victory since he faced an old and way past his prime Joel Casamayor in 2011.
Bradley, at this stage of his career, has already faced a beaten some of the best that boxing has to offer. He defeated Juan Manuel Marquez by a split decision, though most boxing observers felt he won by a much wider margin. He went toe to toe with Ruslan Provodnikov and was able to outlast him and beat him by decision. He also beat the likes of Devon Alexander, Luis Abregu, Lamont Peterson, Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt, Edner Cherry, and Junior Witter.
Chaves has spent nearly his entire career fighting in Argentina and lost the only times he has ever fought in the United States.
He lost to Brandon Rios in a controversial DQ in which Chaves intentionally fouled Rios three times. All three judges had the fight scored one point apart at the time of the stoppage. Chaves also got stopped by the power punching Keith Thurman in July of 2013. His notable victories are over Ismael El Massoudi, Jorge Miranda, and Walter Diaz.
Bradley is just too good of a boxer to lose to Diego Chaves.
This is clearly a “stay busy” fight for Bradley, who should escape from the bout with no marks or scratches.
Chaves does have the power to pull off an upset, but Bradley is too smart of a fighter to be caught off guard.