Yoan Pablo Hernandez vs. Braithwaite On Saturday
By Scott Gilfoid: Former WBC cruiserweight champion Wayne Braithwaite (22-3, 18 KOs) steps up to the plate tomorrow night against undefeated Cuban prospect Yoan Pablo Hernandez (14-0, 8 KOs) in a 12-round championship bout for the little known WBA Fedelatin and WBC Latino cruiserweight titles at the Sparkassen-Arena, Kiel, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Braithwaite, a former WBC cruiserweight champion from 2002 to 2005, lost his title to Jean Marc Mormeck in a 12-round unanimous decision loss on April 2005.
Before that, Braithwaite had successfully defended the title three times, beating the likes of Ravea Springs, Luis Andres Pineda and Louis Azille, none exactly household names to be sure. However, Braithwaite, a fighter with excellent power, was considered was arguably the top fighter in the cruiserweight division during that three year period. With all things there comes an end, however, for Braithwaite would be defeated by the aforementioned Mormeck in 2005. Following that loss, it’s been pretty much non-stop bad news for Braithwaite since then, losing again in his very next fight, this time to Guillermo Jones by 4th round TKO in a WBC title eliminator in September 2005. The loss was a big upset, in that Braithwaite was thought to be a level above Jones and most people expected a relatively easy victory for him. It didn’t turn out that way, though, as Jones blasted Braithwaite out with a series of punishing hooks in the 4th round.
Braithwaite finally took an easy bout in his next fight, beating Gustavo Enriquez by a 7th round TKO in February 2007. Just when things were starting to turn around for Braithwaite, he was defeated in his next fight against Enzo Maccarinelli by a 12-round unanimous decision in July 2007. Braithwaite has taken eight months off, a practical lifetime for him, since his last fight. The time off, one would hope, will help him against Hernandez, 23, a former 2005 Cuban National amateur boxing champion who was considered as one of the rising stars in the country before he left the country in 2006.
He has since immigrated to Germany, where he quickly shown himself as one of the brightest stars in the cruiserweight division. He’s arguably the best cruiserweight in Germany, which is saying a lot given the large number of excellent cruiserweight prospects that the country has recently began to horde, such as Alexander Frenkel, Alexander Alexeev and Marco Huck.
At 6’4,” the southpaw Hernandez has huge size for a cruiserweight. However, his size isn’t what makes him so good, it’s his technical skills that he learned while in Cuban. He does everything like a seasoned professional – throws devastating body shots, uses uppercuts, hooks, jab and a power driving straight left hand down the middle. Need less to say, Hernandez is really hard to beat, and it’s going to take something exceptional for Braithwaite if he hopes to come out on the winning end on Saturday. Perhaps Braithwaites’ only chance, the way I see it, is for him to try and score a quick knockout. I say quick, because Hernandez often knocks out his opponents in a round or two, so unless Braithwaite can get to him before he gets started, this fight will likely be another early win for Hernandez.
Ideally, Braithwaite should go right at Hernandez and try to take him out in the first minute, for if he waits longer than that, Hernandez will connect with one of his looping hooks to the body or midsection and quickly drop Braithwaite. Though he’s starting to get up there in age and is showing signs of losing his speed, Braithwaite still has excellent power in the early rounds. The trick, however, is for him not to wait on his opponent like he did in his loss to Maccarinelli in 2007. If Braithwaite had gone directly at Maccarinelli in the 1st, putting everything he could into scoring a knockout, the fight may have had a different out come with Braithwaite winning. He needs to realize that sometimes it doesn’t pay off to try and take a fight deep, hoping to win in the later rounds, because he doesn’t seem to carry his power late like he used to in his early years of his career.
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