Television: ESPN2 (USA)
Time: 10:00PM ET / 7:00PM PT
Rances Barthelemy 18(11)-0 vs. Fahsai Sakkreerin 39(21)-3-1
First, let me say something about Barthelemy’s record. It looks impressive, but he should in no way be undefeated. In his last outing, he was outboxed by Arash Usmanee — but the judges apparently already made up their mind before watching the fight. It’s questionable even that they saw the fight.
But “officially”, anyway, he’s undefeated. Here’s he’s fighting for his second IBF eliminator. Should he win, he will be facing IBF titlist Argenis Mendez, and that’s a fight I don’t see Barthelemy winning.
Nevertheless, I’ll say something positive about Barthelemy. He was an outstanding Cuban amateur. Sometimes this goes a long way in the pro ranks, but often enough it does not. As a pro, he has wins over Rober Osiobe, Alejandro Barrera, and the previously undefeated Hylon Williams Jr.
As for Sakkeerin, like many Thai fighters, his record is deceiving. Mostly, he’s fought a string of nobodies. Yet, in December 2011, he fought Martin Honorio in an IBF eliminator and held Honorio to split decision — though he lost in the process. His other losses came early in his career.
Though Sakkeerin has a 49% KO ratio, he actually has greater power than advertised. Between 2010-11, 7 of Sakkeerin’s 9 fights were won by KO. Clearly, he has the capability to end a fight early.
Prediction: Sakkeerin by KO9
Caleb Truax 21(12)-1-1 vs. Don George 24(21)-3-2
Truax is known mostly for his great showing against Jermain Taylor — in which Taylor was knocked down in Round 9.
Mind you, Truax ultimately lost, but Taylor is the former undisputed middleweight champion of the world. For a glorified club fighter like Truax, this will be probably be the highlight of his career.
As it stands now, Truax is an overachiever. This isn’t a slight against him, but Truax struggled against Andy Kolle and Phil Williams. Specifically against Williams, he draw against him in the first match, then won by split decision in the rematch.
Yet apart from the loss to Taylor, there’s barely a blotch on Truax’ record. This means he’s got more to offer than the club level. George is a good opponent for him.
Still, I fully expect George to win. In his last fight, he deserved the win against David Alonso Lopez — but unfortunately the incompetent Illinois judges saw this fight as a draw.
Back in October 2012, George showed tremendous heart. Facing off against current WBC light heavyweight titlist Adonis Stevenson, George was knocked down twice in Round 5, once in Round 6, and twice more in the final minute of Round 12 — before the ref mercifully stopped the fight. His father, who’s also George’s trainer, at several points wanted to throw in the towel, but George threatened to never speak to him ever again should he stop the fight.
As for wins, George has KO victories over Dionisio Miranda, Maxell Taylor, Phil Williams, and the previously undefeated Cornelius White. George also won a decision against Osumanu Adama. On the flipside, he has losses to Edwin Rodriguez and Francisco Sierra.
One things for sure: if Truax wants to win this, he must contend with George’s power and heart.
Prediction: George by KO8.