By Chris Cella
Ukrainian middleweight Serhiy “The Razor” Dzinziruk was cruising along in his career; undefeated, he held the WBO light middleweight belt for over five years until he met Sergio Martinez in the ring. Despite a valiant effort, Dzinziruk (37-1-1, 24 KO) was outclassed by the middleweight champ and suffered an 8th round TKO loss. In his comeback fight last September against Jonathan Hernandez, a fight which was supposed to get him working in the right way back towards a title bout, he fought to a draw.
So now, the former champion who hasn’t had his hand raised in nearly 33 months, Dzinziruk will go to battle tomorrow night on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights as he battles Brian Vera in a 12-round bout for the WBO NABO middleweight title.
Vera (21-6, 12 KO) is a former participant on the show The Contender and is coming off by far the best and biggest win of his career. Last August Vera out battled Sergio Mora in a hard-fought war in which he emerged from the ring with a majority decision victory, claiming the vacant WBO NABO title.
Dzinziruk’s manager Harry Kazandijan commented about the fight with Vera, “Serhiy’s got to win this fight. Brian Vera is a tough guy, but Serhiy needs to beat him and look good. He’s got to win convincingly.”
The southpaw Dzinziruk is bringing more power and experience into the ring, and will undoubtedly look to establish the pace of the fight early and force Vera into fighting on his terms.
Vera has risen to the occasion at times through his career, defeating Mora twice and Andy Lee once, but has lacked consistency as of late. In his last 10 fights he has gone 5-5, and has had his struggles against quality opponents.
“I think Dzinziruk is good, he’s technical,” Vera said. “I think my style is perfect for him. I’ll put a lot of pressure on him and I don’t think he likes that. I think he likes to dictate the pace of the fight and kind of control things. But somebody that’s going to stay on top of him and put a lot of pressure on him, is going to throw his game a little bit. I’m going to be the bigger, stronger guy, and am going to impose my will on him and take it from him.”
In order to be able to pressure him, Vera will need to get inside on the Ukrainian, who has shown his ability to stay strong late in the fight and finish an opponent off in the championship rounds.
If Vera wants to keep the belt tomorrow night, he will need to choose his battles with Dzinziruk; if he tries to get into a war round after round, he is going to find himself on the losing end.
Dzrinziruk knows how important this fight is to reestablish himself on the championship contention level; Vera is an obstacle he needs to roll through to once again fight for the belt.
The action begins live on ESPN at 9 p.m. Eastern.