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Maccarinelli to Retire if He Loses to Lebedev on Saturday

By William Mackay: Former cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli (29-3, 22 KO’s) will have his career on the line this Saturday night at the M.E.N. Arena, in Manchester, in a fight against Russian Denis Lebedev (17-0, 12 KO’s) in a 12 round bout for the vacant World Boxing Organization Inter-Continental cruiserweight title.

Maccarinelli, 28, has been destroyed in two out of his last three fights and has looked like a shell of his former self in both fights. Once a big star in the UK, Maccarinelli will have to play second fiddle to light welterweight Amir Khan on Saturday night, as Khan steps up in weight against WBA champion Andriy Kotelnik.

It’s unclear what direction Maccarinelli take if he’s beaten by Lebedev, aside from retiring. With the knowledge that Maccarinelli has, he might be a good trainer and could help in developing some of Britain’s up and coming cruiserweight and heavyweights. He might be a good trainer for heavyweight prospect Tyson Fury, who looks to be a top talent.

Although Lebedev has an unbeaten record, he’s not as good as his record would indicate. Almost all of the wins have come against second rate opposition, the kind of opponents that get mowed down by any halfway decent fighter. The real question is what Maccarinelli will do once he gets past Lebedev.

Maccarinelli can continue to fight opponents with grossly inflated records like Lebedev for awhile, but eventually Maccarinelli is going to have to test his chin against one of the better cruiserweights in the division. My suggestion is that Maccarinelli stay away from Ola Afolabi, the WBO cruiserweight champion, who stopped Maccarinelli in the 9th round in March.

Maccarinelli dominated most of the fight, but was hurt in the 3rd and then starched in the 9th. However, most of the other cruiserweight contenders don’t have the same power or skill that Afolabi has, so that’s a good thing that Maccarinelli has going for him. He really needs to steer himself towards the direction of WBC cruiserweight champion Giacobbe Fragomeni, a short 5’9” champion, with not a whole lot of power. Maccarinelli probably would do well against him. He’d struggle against IBF champion Tomasz Adamek and Victor Ramirez, the WBO champion.

However, unless Maccarinelli has learned to protect his fragile glass jaw a little better, he may not get by Lebedev on Saturday night no matter how poor of a fighter Lebedev is. Maccarinelli needs to somehow come up with a way to protect his chin, because he was wide open for every right hand that Afolabi threw in his last fight.

And before that, Maccarinelli looked equally bad against David Haye last year in March, running into a series of right hands from Haye and put down for the count in a 2nd round stoppage. Maccarinelli has better offensive tools than any fighter in the cruiserweight division by far, but he’s got to learn how to protect his chin or else he’ll not go far regardless of his superb offensive skills.

I expect Maccarinelli to take Lebedev out quick on Saturday night. The Russian has never seen a fighter with anywhere close to the power or size of Maccarinelli and he’ll be in for a rough time.

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