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Banks-Maccarinelli In February

Enzo Maccarinelli Johnathon BanksBy Chris Williams: Former WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli (29-2, 22 KOs) is looking to recapture his WBO title against number #1 ranked Johnathon Banks (20-0, 14 KOs) in February. Maccarinelli, 28, lost his WBO cruiserweight title in July, getting stopped in the 2nd round by arguably the best fighter in the cruiserweight division David Haye. Maccarinelli never really had much of a chance to show what he can do to Haye, as the fight was over so quickly.

In February, Maccarinelli should be in a better position to show what he can do in the ring, because Banks, 26, isn’t nearly the same kind of puncher that Haye is, which should give Maccarinelli plenty of chances to land his big shots. Banks and Maccarinelli were previously scheduled to fight in December. However, Banks was injured while training, which caused the fight to be canceled.

With Haye now out of the picture, Maccarinelli has a good chance of becoming the dominant fighter in the cruiserweight division. Before that can happen, though, Maccarinelli will have to first face top cruiserweights Alexander Alekseev (16-0, 15 KOs), an unbeaten former 2004 Olympian, and Tomasz Adamek. Of the two, Alekseev is perhaps the best of the two due to his ability to box, defend and punch with power. If Maccarinelli ends up defeating Banks in February, Maccarinelli won’t have much time to ponder about Alekseev, because he’s currently ranked #2 in the WBO, meaning that Maccarinelli will be forced to fight him at some point in 2009.

Banks has looked good since turning pro in 2004. Trained by Emanuel Steward, Banks was a former amateur star in the U.S. With good power and extraordinary boxing skills, Banks is a very tough fighter to beat in the division.

At 6’3”, Banks is big for a cruiserweight, although he often negates his power by choosing to fight on the inside where he likes to throw uppercuts. In his last fight, Banks looked beatable against Italian Vincenzo Rossitto in July. Banks ended up winning the fight on a 12-round majority decision but he looked bad in the stretch run of the fight, getting hit often by Rossitto.

This would seem to be Maccarinelli’s best chance at beating Banks, because if Enzo comes out to quickly, like he did against Haye, then he might run into something big from Banks, a hard puncher. Maccarinelli has to understand that Banks is whole lot better than the mostly average European opponents that Maccarinelli has built up much of his impressive 29-2 record on.

If Maccarinelli comes out too fast against Banks, then I see this as a repeat of the Haye- Maccarinelli fight, with Enzo getting stopped in the 1st or 2nd round. However, if Maccarinelli can take his time and wait until the 2nd half of the fight before he starts making his push, I think he can beat Banks and possibly knock him out. By then, Banks should be sufficiently tired enough for Maccarinelli to dominate, if not take out.

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