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Alekseev vs. Ramirez For interim WBO cruiserweight On Jan 17th

Alexander AlekseevBy Jim Dower: Without David Haye in the division, all eyes now turn to cruiserweight contender Alexander Alekseev (16-0, 15 KOs), the new star in the division, as he fights Victor Emilio Ramirez (13-1, 11 KOs) for the interim WBO cruiserweight on Jan 17th in Düsseldorf, Germany. The winner of this fight will be facing the winner of the Enzo Maccarinelli vs. Johnathon Banks bout which takes place next month in February.

Alekseev, 27, has risen quickly in the cruiserweight division since turning professional four years ago after narrowly losing to Odlanier Solis, the eventual heavyweight Gold Medal winner, in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. As it turned out, Alekseev gave Solis by far his toughest match in the Olympics and came close to beating him.

Alekseev, a southpaw with excellent counter punching and good power, has made it look easy in mowing down his first 16 opponents since turning professional in 2004. Some of that, of course, is due to his weak opposition put in front of him but he’s done well in beating capable fighters like Talmadge Griffis, Louis Azille, Rob Calloway and Darrin Humphrey, stopping all of them early.

At first glance, Alekseev doesn’t look especially powerful in that he doesn’t try to load up with his shots. Instead, he fights in a relaxed way, moving, jabbing and waiting for his opponents to make a mistake after throwing a shot. In a way, Alekseev is similar to super bantamweight Juan Manuel Lopez, fighting smoothly and not looking like a knockout artist until he suddenly lets his hands go.

Alekseev’s opponent for January 17th, Ramirez, is from Argentina, only 24, and known for having a lot of power. Ramirez likes to come forward looking to slug with his opponents and doesn’t put too much concern on his defense. This is going to be a big step up in competition for Ramirez, because he’s fought exclusively in Argentina his entire career and has yet to face the same kind of competition that Alekseev has fought.

His strategy will be pretty simple. Ramirez will be going after Alekseev hard from the opening bell, trying to pressure him, land big shots and hope to score a knockout. He’s going to have to try and cut off the ring if he hopes to beat Alekseev, because the Russian will be moving constantly in and out, and also using a lot of lateral movement on him.

It’s doubtful that Ramirez will be able to make it to the midway point of the fight, much less actually winning the bout. A win for Alekseev will put him in position to face the Banks-Maccarinelli winner, which will likely be Enzo. That fight will easily be the best cruiserweight match-up of 2009. I think Maccarinelli is a great fighter, but I like Alekseev in this one. He’s too elusive, powerful and hard to get a hold of for a puncher like Maccarinelli. This one may end as early as Maccarinelli’s fight with Haye, a bout that saw Maccarinelli getting stopped in the 2nd round.




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