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News – Pascal vs. Branco tonight; Salita Looking to Stop Khan

By Dave Lahr: World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (23-1, 15 KO’s) will be making his first defense of his WBC title tonight against 43-year-old two-time WBA light heavyweight champion Silvio Branco (59-9-2, 36 KO’s) in a scheduled 12 round bout at the Bell Centre, in Montreal, Canada. Pascal, 26, captured the WBC title with a 12 round decision over then champion Adrian Diaconu in June.

What’s odd about this fight is why the 43-year-old Branco is ranked number #1 by the WBC. Branco has fought exclusively B and C level fighters since being defeated by Stipe Drews by a 12 round decision two years ago in April 2007. You would think that Branco should at least have had to fight one top tier fighter since then to keep being moved up in the rankings to the number #1 position.

salita454Branco may have been a halfway decent fighter in his youth, but I can’t see any particular reason why he’s ranked number #1 or even in the top 10 at all, based on what he’s done in the past two years. Branco’s last three opponents have had the following records: 10-8, 9-19 and 10-14. Obviously, we’re talking C-class opponents for Branco.

As such, I don’t think he deserves to be in the top 10, and from what I’ve seen of him in his fight two years ago against Drews, I don’t see Branco as a top tier fighter anymore. The light heavyweight division has gotten better since that time and he seems more like a relic from the past. Still, if this fight was in Branco’s native Italy, I would give him a chance to win by decision, but not because he would be the better fighter.

Look for Pascal to have far too much hand speed, talent and youth for Branco. Pascal should win this one easily by a 12 round decision.


Salita looking to Stop Khan

Number #1 challenger Dmitri Salita (30-0-1, 16 KO’s) plans on trying to take World Boxing Association light welterweight champion Amir Khan (21-1, 15 KO’s) out when they meeting in December. Salita said this to writer James Slater of East Side Boxing: “I do envisage a knockout as a real possibility.” Salita then went on to say that he plans on neutralizing Khan’s speed and movement, although Salita wouldn’t say how he plans on going about doing this.

Salita says that Khan has a weak chin, and thinks that Amir is basically stuck with the weak chin that he’s been given and can’t really improve on that like he can on other areas of his game. But, Salita won’t be going after Khan’s chin, he says, and instead will be focusing on attacking Khan in other areas.

It seems like a strange strategy if Salita won’t be attacking Khan in the area where he’s most vulnerable but perhaps Salita is giving out misleading information to try and throw Khan off. I don’t see the point, to be honest. Khan knows that Salita will be trying to take him out with every punch he throws.

It’s really Salita’s only chance, because he doesn’t have the hand speed and big power needed to fight Khan competitively for 12 rounds, so he has to try and take him out.

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