James DeGale vs. Cristian Sanavia on Groves-Anderson undercard on March 16th at Wembley Arena
By Scott Gilfoid: EBU super middleweight champion James DeGale (11-1, 8 KO’s) will be defending his European Boxing Union strap against 36-year-old former WBC super middleweight champion Cristian Sanavia (45-5-1, 13 KO’s) on the undercard of the George Groves vs. Kenny Anderson bout on March 16th at the Wembley Arena in London.
Normally I would say this should be an easy fight for the 25-year-old DeGale but in watching him struggle against Groves and Piotr Wilczewski in his last two fights, I really don’t know what to expect of DeGale. I think he could lose this fight if Sanavia gets in close and is able to test DeGale’s midsection. The little Italian can really punch to the body and I don’t think DeGale is ready for that kind of puncher. We night see DeGale transform into a Amir Khan by running all around the ring to try and escape the inside pressure from Sanavia. I just hope DeGale doesn’t resort to fouling like Khan because that would look bad in front of all the British fans in Wembley. They shouldn’t have to see those kinds of things.
Although I thought he deserved to get the decision in the Groves fight, DeGale showed some serious flaws with his slow plodding footwork, his slapping punches, lack of a good jab and the absence of power. I think he’s a bigger puncher than Groves but that’s not saying a whole heck of a lot.
Sanavia, 5’7 ½” is kind of lacking in the height department in a major way. He reminds me of Ricky Hatton with his body attacks. Sanavia can really punch to the body when he’s able to get inside on his opponents. He likes to throw double and triple hooks to the midsection and he can really get a lot torque in his shots.
But he lacks power when throwing to the head, and that’s obviously why he has only 13 knockouts on his resume. Sanavia, a 15-year pro, has been around for what seems like forever. In June 2004, Sanavia defeated World Boxing Council super middleweight champion Markus Beyer by a 12 round split decision in Germany, which says a lot about the performance from Sanavia.
He must have really whipped Beyer in order to get a decision in Germany. Unfortunately, Sanavia lost his title in his very next fight in a rematch with Beyer. He later won the EBU super middleweight title in June 2007 with a 12 round decision win over David Gogiya. Sanavia then lost the belt two fights late to Karo Murat in Germany. He probably did enough to win but they didn’t give the decision. Sanavia got a rematch with Murat and this time was stopped in the 10th round in February 2009. Since that loss, Sanavia has won his last five bouts against mediocre opposition.
You have to wonder why Sanavia was picked out to fight DeGale. I wonder if it has anything to do with Sanavia being at the very tail end of his career and no longer a real threat to DeGale?
DeGale looked horrible in his last fight against Wilczewski in winning a controversial majority decision last October. DeGale was hit cleanly all night long and appeared to lose the fight.