By: Sean Crose
Looking to prove that age is just a number, Zab “Super” Judah will return to the ring to face Cletus Seldin on June 7th. Judah, 41, has held major titles in two weight divisions, but hasn’t fought in well over a year, and has only fought sparingly since his heyday as a major force in boxing. The fight with Seldin will go down at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in upstate New York. It’s being promoted by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing Promotions and is being intentionally scheduled to occur during the nearby International Boxing Hall of Fame’s inductee weekend.
Judah, a 44-9 native of Brooklyn, was one of the top names in boxing during the first decade of the 21st century. Although he frequently lost his biggest matches, the fighter has faced a laundry list of some of the sport’s marquee names throughout this career. Kostya Tszyu, Floyd Mayweather, Danny Garcia, Miguel Cotto, Paulie Malignaggi, Amir Khan, and Lucas Matthysse have all shared the ring with Judah. In his prime, the man held titles at junior welterweight and also earned the undisputed and lineal welterweight championship of the world.
Although the 23-1 Seldin doesn’t represent the high level fare Judah is known for having faced, the Long Islander is a colorful and exciting foe. Known as the “Hebrew Hammer,” Seldin is a popular, come forward brawler who came to the public through notable wins on ESPNs now defunct Friday Night Fights, and HBOs now defunct boxing programming. Given the colorful personalities and pedigrees of both fighters (especially the pedigree of Judah), the fight should at least generate some interest. The Judah-Seldin match is to be fought at junior welterweight. Whether it will be a scheduled ten or twelve round bout is reportedly yet to be determined.
Also to appear on the June 7th Turning Stone card is middleweight James “Buddy” McGirt Jr, son of the famous fighter turned trainer James “Buddy” McGirt, who will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of fame that very weekend. McGirt Jr. is scheduled to face David Papot in what will be the night’s co-main event. The entire card is expected to blend nicely with Hall of Fame weekend. “Boxing fans will…have an opportunity to socialize with Boxing Hall of Fame VIPs and inductees during Friday night’s title fight at Turning Stone,” reads a press release.
By: Eric Lunger
Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) made his third defense of his WBO middleweight belt tonight at the he Place Bell in Quebec, Canada, taking on fearsome power-puncher and former IBF World middleweight champion David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs).
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing
Saunders won the WBO strap almost two years ago to the day, nipping Andy Lee by majority decision. After lackluster performances against Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe, Jr., meeting David Lemieux on his home ground was a significant step-up in opposition for Saunders, and marked his first professional foray outside of the United Kingdom. A southpaw and counter-puncher, Saunders is notorious for his trash-talking and his willingness to try to win on points.
David Lemieux is a more fan-friendly, pressure fighter who has knockout power in both hands. The match-up, a classic southpaw boxer vs. orthodox puncher, promised an intriguing show, and betting odds were virtually even going into fight week. The British media and fans were, not uncharacteristically, favoring Saunders, while most fight critics on this continent were leaning towards Lemieux.
Saunders took the first round, boxing and moving, while Lemieux was trying to find his range, but Saunders confidence soared in the second, as the Englishman danced and landed almost at will. In the third, Lemieux gave the crowd something to cheer about, landing a few shots, but Saunders continued to outbox him. In the fourth, Saunders elicited boos from the crowd, moving around the ring, dropping his hands, not throwing punches, but he clearly won the round. The boxing lesson continued in the fifth, as Lemieux could not find Saunders, and Saunders managed the distance with ease.
The one-sided nature of the bout continued: in the seventh, Saunders caught Lemieux with a good combination, snapping the Canadian’s head back. Then came a straight left down the pipe, staggering Lemieux, as though Lemieux had never sparred against a southpaw. And in the eighth, Saunders continued to be three or four steps ahead of the home town fighter.
To put it simply, Lemieux had no answers to the puzzle in front of him. In fact, he never started to figure out Saunders, and could not cut off the ring — the only way to make progress against a fighter of Saunders talent and style.
The judges saw it 120-108, 117-11, and 118-110 for Saunders.
The featured undercard bout saw Antoine Douglas (22-1, 16 KOs) of Washington, DC, took on Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (26-2, 18 KOs) of Cork, Ireland, in a ten-round middleweight bout. The colorful O’Sullivan, 33, lost to Saunders in July of 2013. Douglas came out in the first slowly and tentatively — nervous almost– and let O’Sullivan land on him frequently, despite appearing the faster fighter with quicker feet. The second round was a brawl, with both men throwing and landing big shots. The third was similar, as Douglas stayed in front of O’Sullivan, not using his feet to outbox the Irishman.
In the middle rounds, both fighters continued to land heavy power shots upstairs, but Douglas was absorbing a number of big right hands from O’Sullivan. The end came in the seventh as O’Sullivan caught Douglas against the ropes and batter him to the canvas. A dazed Douglas beat the count, but the referee wisely called off the bout.
Earlier in the evening, undefeated Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (21-0, 17 KOs) took on Yves Ulysse, Jr. (14-1, 9 KOs), in a ten-round super lightweight clash. With a combined seventy-two percent KO average between the two fighters, this one wasn’t likely to go the distance.
Seldin, from Long Island, NY, fought last month on the undercard of the HBO broadcast of Jacobs vs. Arias, and has built up something of a cult-following in the Metro area.
Unfortunately for the “Hammer,” Ulysse’s superior movement and hand-speed exposed Seldin as a one-dimensional slugger. In the first round Ulyssse scored his first knockdown, beating Seldin to the punch inside. In the second round, the Canadian fighter timed Seldin with a beautiful straight right, and, in the third, a combination uppercuts and hooks thrown in wicked succession dropped Seldin again. The Long Island man showed a ton of heart, especially in a brutal tenth round where he took significant punishment, but he was simply outclassed by a fast, fluid, and talented Yves Ulysse. The final scores: 99-88 across the board for Ulysse.
by B.A. Cass
Only three boxers have fought on HBO in back-to-back months. The first two are Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Tyson. The third is Cletus Seldin, who on Wednesday found himself walking down an aisle of a Walmart in Laval, Canada. “I gotta buy food and my recovery stuff for after the weigh-in,” he told me over the phone as he shopped. In the background, I could hear the voice of a French speaker through the store intercom. Cletus was also looking for a bowl. “I have no bowl,” he said. “I’ve been eating my oatmeal out of a cup for the past day. So I’m trying to move on up in life.”
Photo Credit: Star Boxing/Dan McCabe
Cletus is in Canada because on Saturday he will fight Yves Ulysee Jr. at Place Bell, the multi-purpose sports arena that looks a bit like a gigantic white phone jack. Celtus and Ulysse Jr. will meet on the undercard of the much-anticipated Saunders vs. Lemieux fight.
Seldin’s promotor, Joe DiGuardia of Star Boxing, compares Cletus to Arturo Gatti and Jake LaMotta. Still, he thinks considers Ulysse Jr. a skilled fighter who may prove difficult for Seldin because of his quick footwork and the fact a good counter puncher.
But Seldin isn’t so sure of that. “They were prospecting him as the next Sugar Ray Leonard. Good on his feet, good amateur. He’s a solid Olympic alternate. Those are the kind of guys I like to fight, the ones I prefer to fight. You know, these long-known Olympians, guys with 100, 200 amateur fights who everyone thinks is gonna be the next best thing. And then there’s guys like me, 30 amateur fights and it works. I work hard every day, and I am determined to knock every one of them out. That is my job, and that’s one thing that I take personal.”
In November, just a week after Seldin defeated Roberto Ortiz by third-round TKO, Peter Nelson of HBO asked DiGuardia if Seldin would be ready to fight in December. “Absolutely,” DiGuardia said. He knew he didn’t have to okay it with Seldin because Seldin is adamant about fighting as often as he can.
So Seldin went right back to West Palm Beach, Florida for to start his training camp again. When he came home to Long Island four weeks later, he unpacked his bags and then repacked them the same night so that he could head to Canada.”
He traveled first class. “I told Star Boxing unless they give me first class seats, I’m going to tell everyone at the press conference,” Seldin joked, but he had practical reasons for wanting to fly in such luxury. “In first class, like two bags fly free. I knew it was going to be cold here. I packed a lot of sweaters. I had to bring my suit for the press conference, my work out equipment. People think fight week is easy on the athlete. It’s not. We still gotta make weight. We all gotta do our social media stuff.”
It was snowing when Seldin and his team arrived in Quebec. Their driver showed up half an hour late, and then they got stuck in traffic, which had slowed to 25 MPH due to the weather.
After checking into the hotel, he spent time alone in his room fighting what has become one of his toughest battles outside of the ring—trying to beat Zelda on Nintendo Switch.
“I tried to beat this one boss. It took me like the whole fight from West Palm to New York. And then I beat him yesterday, and it was like, Perfect, yes, got that done,” said Cletus, who considers himself half-geek, half-gladiator.
Later, Cletus decided he wanted to take a hot yoga class to help him shed pounds for the weigh-in. He got on his computer but found that when he searched the internet, everything came up in French. He tried to figure it out, thought he found one studio, and then called an Uber to pick him up. It was the first Uber he had ever taken in his life. When he arrived, he discovered the place was closed.
Lost in a foreign country that had apparently gone shut down because of the snow, Cletus turned to his driver. “Can you take me home?” he asked.
Back at his hotel, Cletus used Google Translate on his phone (his computer kept turning everything to French) to help him find a yoga studio that was open. He found a place, paid for the class beforehand, and took another Uber.
“It was the best experience of my life,” Cletus said. “To be in another country the next day, lying on the floor doing a mediation/hot yoga class, hearing nothing but French music and French language . . . it was so friggin’ awesome. I was just smiling the whole class. I was like Yeah, baby.”
Cletus uses yoga classes to prepare himself for fights. “I have to prepare my mind especially,” he told me, “because I know what I’m about to do to my body. I’m about to take my body and send it right into a car crash. I don’t fight the typical point scoring fight. I’m coming in to hurt you, to damage you up.”
Cletus’s trainer, Pete Brodsky, has trained six world champions. He did with Cletus what he has done with every fighter who comes to his gym. When he first met him, he assessed what his physical and mental traits were and what he thought Cletus would be best at doing.
“I took a combination of the cross-over defense of Archie Moore, Joe Frazier, George Foreman,” Brodsky says of Cletus. “Then I decided with his leg strength and his ability to stay down in a certain stance, he would be best taught to be a really good body puncher. I taught him to work the body and then move his way up.’
There aren’t many fighters like Cletus left. According to Brodsky, that’s because trainers today weren’t around and didn’t have access to boxing before the 80’s but get their direction from Olympic and amateur boxing. And in Olympic and amateur boxing, judges don’t give fighters credit for being good body punchers or good defensive fighters.
“They give you points for how many times you touch the other guy, no matter how effective or ineffective,” says Brodsky. “I know that because I was the president of amateur boxing in New York City for ten years. So I saw the whole thing turn around, from guys being aggressive, good body punchers and having a certain kind of defense to what they would teach at the Olympic level. And what they taught there filtered down to the boxing gyms.”
The style that Cletus has embraced isn’t easy. “I’m in pain during those fights,” he told me. “My hands, I hurt my hands in most of the fights. I punch hard. They say I need surgery on my hand, my shoulders, my back.”
And yet it’s hard to think of Cletus, a man who embraces humor more readily than he does the forced machismo of most boxers, as a man who goes into the ring wanting to inflict pain on his opponents. I asked him about that, about the change that must take place to allow him to want to hurt another human being.
“I don’t know,” he said and paused for a moment. “As soon as I start to get my hand wraps on and I’m able to put my ring attire on, I become—I’m big into Marvel and DC and superheroes. And someplace inside me, I become a superhero. I’m not a person anymore. If you look at my face in the ring, I’m a wild, wreaking machine. I have no care for my body.”
I didn’t respond, and he didn’t say anything. Again, I heard the same French speaker come over the store intercom
“It’s the only time in life that, when the bell rings, nobody cares what happens to either one of them,” Cletus said after giving it some thought. “Somebody could die, somebody could get injured really bad, and it’s legal. You just have to be a different type of human being to fight my kind of style.”
By this point, Cletus had found the aisle with the Funko Pops, the bobblehead toys based on TV and film characters.
“I have one of the largest Funko Pop collections in the country. I have over 1,500 pops, an estimated value of over 60,000 dollars,” Cletus boasted before we said goodbye.
He also told me that there were some Pokémon cards that he was considering buying.
After Walmart, Cletus planned to attend another hot yoga session, go to the press conference the next day, do a little work out in the morning and afternoon, and then probably go to the mall—to do some more Funko Pop shopping.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada will be the host site for an HBO Triple Header to take place on HBO World Championship Boxing.
The opening bout will be between Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Yves Ulysse, Jr. in the junior welterweight division. The second bout of the night will be between Antoine Douglas and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan in the middleweight division. The main event of the night will be between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux for the WBO Middleweight title.
Photo Credit: Vincent Ethier/Eye of the Tiger Management
This fight card will help lend some clarity to the middleweight division behind the two current kingpins of the middleweights, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. This card will also feature Cletus Seldin, a popular Jewish fighter that HBO seems keen on featuring in the future.
The following is a preview of all three bouts.
Cletus Seldin (21-0) vs. Yves Ulysse, Jr. (14-1); Junior Welterweights
The opening bout of the night is between the Hebrew Hammer Cletus Seldin and Yves Ulysse.
Seldin is a compact power puncher who has seventeen stoppage victories on his record. He’s thirty one years old and needs to make a serious run now if he ever wants to fight for a legitimate world title.
He’ll be about the same height as Ulysse as both are 5’7”. Seldin is also the more powerful puncher of the two. Ulysse only has nine stoppage victories to his credit. However, Ulysse is two years younger than his opponent.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Ulysse fought four times in 2017 and once in 2016, while Seldin has fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Neither boxer had a notable amateur career, but Seldin appears to have had more success than Ulysse. Seldin was a Long Island Amateur Champion and lost in the finals of the New York State Golden Gloves.
Seldin has defeated the likes of Robert Ortiz, Renald Garrido, Jesus Selig, Orlando Vazquez, and Bayan Jargal.
Ulysse has defeated the likes of Ricky Sismundo and Zachary Ochoa. His lone loss was in his last fight to Steve Claggett.
Seldin fights a style that leaves him open to counters but puts on an exciting fight for his fans. Ulysse has a good record, but is the underdog going into the fight.
However, Ulysse was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and will have the support of the fans in attendance.
Antoine Douglas (22-1-1) vs. Gary O’Sullivan (26-2); WBO Inter-Continental Middleweight Title
Antoine Douglas is a good middleweight prospect who’s rise to the top was briefly derailed when he faced and lost to Avtandil Khurtsidze. He has since won three fights in a row and looks to reclaim his spot as a can’t miss prospect.
Douglas is still young and is in the middle of his prime at twenty five years old. O’Sullivan is getting near the end of his prime and is currently thirty three years old.
O’Sullivan and Douglas have similar knockout power. Douglas has stopped sixteen of his opponents and has one stoppage loss. O’Sullivan has stopped eighteen of his opponents and also has one stoppage loss.
Both boxers fought once in 2016 and three times in 2017.
Douglas has defeated the likes of Juan De Angel, Istvan Szili, and Thomas Lamanna. His lone loss was to Avtandil Khurtsidze and he drew with Micahel Soro.
O’Sullivan has defeated the likes of Nick Quigley, Melvin Betancourt, Milton Nunez, and Matthew Hall. The two times he faced good opposition, Chris Eubank Jr. and Billy Joe Saunders, he lost.
Douglas has quick hands and is willing to throw combinations and take risky exchanges. But his opponent is a veteran with knockout power.
This fight should be a tense and close fight, but it’s a fight that Douglas should be considered a close favorite.
Billy Joe Saunders (25-0) vs. David Lemieux (38-3): WBO Middleweight World Title
The main event of the evening is between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux for the WBO Middleweight Title. The winner of this bout may set himself up for a future fight with either Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez.
Both boxers are twenty eight years old and are in the midst of their prime. Saunders will have a slight inch and a half height advantage on Lemieux, but Lemieux has thirty three stoppage victories to his credit while Saunders only has twelve stoppage victories.
This will be Saunders first fight outside of the United Kingdom, but he doesn’t seem bothered by it. He recently stated, “I’m used to fight outside the UK, I’m a traveler of the world. I don’t care if there’s a million people. It’s just me and him in that ring, end of the story. As for the rest, I don’t care.”
Saunders does have a better amateur resume than Lemieux. He is a former Commonwealth Champion and competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Lemieux was the Canadian Junior National Champion in 2006.
However, Lemieux does seem confident in his power and his ability to hurt Saunders with his power. He stated, “I’ve never said that I doubted his chin. Regardless he will hit the floor. And whether I win by knock out or go 12 rounds, it’s no matter. But I will drop him and I will hurt him”
Saunders has defeated the likes of Willie Monroe Jr., Artur Akavov, Andy Lee, Chris Eubank Jr., Gary O’Sullivan, Matthew Hall, and Jarrod Fletcher.
Saunders though has not been very active the past two years. He only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016.
It should be noted that his win against Andy Lee was a majority decision and his win against Eubank was a split decision.
Lemieux has defeated the likes of Curtis Stevens, Glen Tapia, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gabriel Rosado, Fernando Guerrero, Hector Camacho Jr., and Elvin Ayala. His losses were to Marco Antonio Rubio, Joachim Alcine, and Gennady Golovkin.
The biggest intangible of this fight is the fact it takes place in Quebec, Canada and Lemieux is Canadian. The fans will be backing Lemieux in this fight and that kind of support has been known to influence the judges.
Saunders two biggest victories were close decisions in the United Kingdom. It’s unlikely he’ll get a close decision in Canada.
As long as Lemieux can keep up his energy and pressure for all twelve rounds it’s a fight that he can and should win.
By: William Holmes
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sports put on their first HBO card featuring their newest signee, middleweight Daniel Jacobs, at the NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
Three bouts were televised tonight. The opening bout was between Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Roberto Ortiz in the junior welterweight division, the second bout was between Jerell Miller and Mariusz Wach in the heavyweight division, and the main event was between Daniel Jacobs and Luis Arias in the middleweight division.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The first bout of the night was between Cletus Seldin (25-0) and Roberto Ortiz (35-1-2) in the junior welterweight division.
Cletus Seldin wasted no time and took the pressure right to Roberto Ortiz and knocked him down with a big overhand right in the first twenty seconds of the opening round. Ortiz was able to get back up and had to withstand an aggressive assault by Seldin. Seldin as able to land two good uppercuts that forced Ortiz to take a knee, who complained about getting hit behind the head.
Seldin continued his pressure into the second round and opened up a bad cut over the left eye of Ortiz from a hard right hook. The ringside doctor took a look at the eye of Ortiz but allowed the fight to continue.
By the third round blood was pouring out of the cut above Ortiz’s eye, and Seldin was loading up with his right hands and was looking for a stoppage. An elbow to the nose by Seldin forced Ortiz to take a knee, but his cut above his eye was bleeding badly.
The ringside doctor took another look at the cut over Ortiz’s eye and told the referee the fight should be stopped.
Cletus Seldin wins by TKO at 2:43 of the third round.
The next bout of the night was between Jarrell Miller (19-0) and Mariusz Wach (33-2) in the heavyweight division.
Wach was active with his jab in the first round and was able to use his height advantage to keep Miller at bay. Miller was able to land a few jabs of his own, but Wach was more accurate with it in the opening round.
Miller was landing more punches in the second round, including some good short right uppercuts. Miller’s hand speed controlled in the third and fourth rounds and he was showing a good variety of punches and combination.
Wach was able to have some success with his straight right hand in the opening four rounds, but stopped throwing it midway through the fifth after lading a good straight right hand.
Wach complained to his corner that he hurt his right hand before the start of the sixth and basically stopped throwing it during that round. Miller was greatly outlanding Wach by this point and even had Wach momentarily stunned in the middle of the seventh round.
Wach’s corner could have stopped the fight before the start of the eighth round, but they allowed Wach to continue fighting while only using one hand. Wach’s right hand hurt so bad that he showed visible signs of pain even when he blocked a punch by Miller.
Wach came out for the start of the ninth round but he was still not using his right hand. The referee jumped up to the ring canvas and told the referee to stop the fight.
Miller wins by TKO at 1:02 of the ninth round.
Daniel Jacobs (32-2) and Luis Arias (18-0) met in the middleweight division in the main event of the night.
Jacobs was the taller fighter and had the obvious power advantage going into this fight. His power was evident in the opening round when he landed a hard right cross that forced Arias to try to tackle Jacobs to keep from taking more punishment. Jacobs landed a good lead left hook at the end of the first.
Arias was warned to keep his punches up in the second round but he continued to focus to the body. Jacobs ended the second round with a good combination.
Jacobs walked Arias down in the third and fourth round and was able to land some good right uppercuts. Arias had a good right hand in the fifth round, but that was his only effective offense displayed in the first half of the fight.
Jacobs looked extremely confident in the seventh and eighth round as his accuracy gradually increased. Arias was fighting while moving backwards in the ninth round and Jacobs did not look worried about Arias’ power at all.
Arias needed a knockout or at least a flurry of knockdowns in the championship rounds in order to win the fight, but that never came. Jacobs just continued to apply pressure and land hard shots to the body and head and was able to score a knockdown in the eleventh round, even though it was a clipping hook that landed behind the head.
The judges scored it 118-109, 120-107, and 119-108 for Daniel Jacobs.
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Eddie Hearn’s latest acquisition, Daniel Jacobs, will be on display on HBO. He will be facing Luis Arias in the main event of the evening. Two other bouts are also planned to be broadcast, a heavyweight fight between Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller and Mariusz Wach in the heavyweight division and a junior welterweight bout between Cletus Seldin and Roberto Ortiz.
The NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York will be the host site for Saturday’s boxing card.
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing
The following is a preview of Saturday’s HBO card.
Cletus Seldin (25-0) vs. Roberto Ortiz (35-1-2); Junior Welterweights
The opening bout of the night will be between Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Roberto Ortiz in the junior welterweight division.
Seldin is a local fighter with a large, supportive fan base. He’s fought in New York for most of his career with a large majority of his fights taking place at the Paramount Theatre. He’s undefeated, but he is currently thirty one years old and his window of opportunity for a legitimate world title fight is getting smaller.
His opponent Roberto Ortiz is the same age and has fought mainly in Mexico. He fought one time in the United States and was stopped by Lucas Matthysse. Ortiz will have a slight two and a half inch height and reach advantage.
Neither Seldin or Ortiz has a notable amateur background in boxing. However, Seldin does have experience in wrestling and judo. He also was a finalist in the New York Golden Gloves tournament.
Both boxers have decent power. Seldin has sixteen stoppage wins on his resume while Ortiz has twenty six. Seldin has never tasted defeated while Ortiz was stopped in his one fight against a big name opponent.
Neither boxer has any big name victories. Seldin’s best wins were against Jesus Selig, Johnny Garcia, and Bayan Jargal. Ortiz’s best wins were against Reyes Sanchez and John Aparicio.
This is an excellent test for Seldin and it will be the toughest of his career. Ortiz has a good record, but lost the only fight in which he faced a good opponent. Seldin should be able to win a close victory, but we’ll definitely have a better idea if he’s a legitimate contender on Saturday night.
Jarrell Miller (19-0) vs. Mariusz Wach (33-2); Heavyweights
Jarrell Miller is an intriguing heavyweight prospect in that he has experienced some surprising success in another combat sport, that being kickboxing.
He was able to defeat UFC veteran Pat Barry in a kickboxing match and went 19-0 in Muay Thai before going to kick boxing. He found some success in kickboxing’s prestige league, K1, and lost to UFC veteran Mirko Cro Cop twice by decision.
He has been very successful since switching to boxing. He’s undefeated and has seventeen stoppage wins, including eight stoppage victories in a row. He fought once in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Miller does have some amateur boxing experience. He made it to the finals of the New York Golden Gloves and lost to Tor Hammer on points. His opponent, Mariusz Wach, also had a successful amateur career and was a Polish National Champion and an Olympic alternate.
Miller will have an eight year age advantage on Wach, who is currently thirty seven years old. Wach will have a height advantage of about three and a half inches and a reach advantage of four inches.
In addition to being tested as a kickboxer, Miller also has defeated some notable heavyweights. His notable wins include Gerald Washington, Fred Kassi, and Donovan Dennis.
Wach’s biggest wins have come against Tye Fields, Kevin McBride, and Jason Gavern. His losses were to Alexander Povetkin and Wladimir Klitschko.
Wach’s age and relative inactivity is a concern. He fought only once in 2017 and once in 2016, against less than impressive opposition.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about a potential heavyweight fight between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, but an impressive win by Miller could result in him getting a title shot before Wilder and Joshua meet inside the ring.
Daniel Jacobs (32-2) vs. Luis Arias (18-0); Middleweights
Daniel Jacobs earned the title of “Miracle Man” after defeating a diagnosis of bone cancer in 2011. He was previously signed to Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) but has recently decided to sign with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport.
Jacobs had a very successful amateur career. He was a Junior Olympics National Champion, a Police Athletic League (PAL) National Champion, and a National Golden Gloves Champion. His opponent, Luis Arias, also had a very successful amateur career. He was a US National Champion at middleweight in 2008 and 2010 and was also a Gold Medal PAL winner.
Arias is twenty seven years old and three years younger than Jacobs. Jacobs will have a very sleight half an inch reach advantage over Arias.
Jacobs has a large edge in power over Arias. Jacobs has stopped twenty nine of his opponents and nine of his past ten fights were TKO victories. Arias only has nine stoppage victories, but three of his past four fights were TKO victories.
Jacobs has the better professional resume of the two boxers. He has defeated the likes of Ishe Smith, Jarrod Fletcher, Caleb Truax, Sergio Mora, and Peter Quillin. His losses were a close decision loss to Gennady Golovkin and a shocking knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog.
Arias has defeated the likes of Arif Magomedov, Scott Sigmon, and Jorge Silva.
Arias does have an edge in activity. He already fought twice in 2017 and fought three times in 2016. Jacobs has only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.
This should actually be a tougher fight for Jacobs than most expect. Arias has the amateur background to match Jacobs and he has never tasted defeat. He’s also been in the ring more often than Jacobs and won’t have to worry about ring rust.
However, Jacobs was very impressive in his defeat to Gennady Golovkin and is filled with confidence. Arias has never felt the power of a boxer like Jacobs and has never been in the ring as a professional with someone of Jacobs’ caliber.
This is Daniel Jacobs’ fight to lose, but Arias has enough talent to make it closer than expected.