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Weights: Flanagan 135, Mathews 134.4

Derry MathewsBy Scott Gilfoid: WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (29-0, 12 KOs) and his opponent #10 WBO challenger Derry Mathews (38-9-2, 20 KOs) both successfully made weight on Friday for their clash this Saturday night on March 12 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK. The 26-year-old Flanagan weighed in at the lightweight limit at 135lbs.

His opponent Mathews weighed in at 134.4lbs. The Flanagan-Mathews fight card can be seen on BoxNation.

Flanagan looked in good shape, as did Mathews. Their conditioning has never been a question with these two fighters. The only thing that you can question is their overall talent in comparison to the other top fighters in the division. We have already seen Mathews exposed repeatedly in the past.

Flanagan has not been beaten yet, but he also has not fought anyone that you can call a good fighter at this point. We have not seen Flanagan step it up against the cream of the lightweight division for some reason. I don’t know why. Flanagan should have already fought Jorge Linares, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Rances Bathelemy, Denis Shafikov and Raymundo Beltran by now.

I can’t really put my finger on it in trying to understand why Flanagan hasn’t fought those guys other than perhaps he might be a little reluctant due to their incredible talent.
This will be the second defense of his WBO 135lb title for Flanagan, who easily beat previously #1 WBO Diego Magdaleno by a second round knockout last October in Manchester.

That fight was supposed to have been a competitive one, but Magdaleno’s lack of height was too much for him to overcome against the much taller and heavier looking 5’9 ½” Flanagan.

“All the talking is over and now it’s time to get in the ring and get it on. I’ve put everything into my training and I’m ready to show everyone that I’m the best lightweight in the world. I’m expecting a tough fight from Derry, we’re both in the best shape of our lives but I’ll have too much for him to handle,” said Flanagan.

Other weights on the card:

Paul Butler 130 vs. Sebastian Sanchez 128.3
Zolani Tete 130.6 vs. Jose Santos Gonzalez 132.25
Tommy Langford 159.4 vs. Lewis Taylor 159.1
Matty Askin 199.25 vs. Simon Barclay 200

I don’t know where the winner of the Flanagan-Mathews fight goes. Ideally, I’d like to see them face the likes of Linares, Gamboa or Bathelemy. The reality of the situation is I don’t see that happening. At best, I think the winner of the Flanagan vs. Mathews fight will face #2 WBO Ricky Burns, a former two division world champion. I don’t see the winner of the Flanagan vs. Mathews fight facing #3 Felix Verdejo because he’s probably too good for them.

As far as who will win Saturday’s Flanagan vs. Mathews fight, I would have to say the younger guy Flanagan will win. He’s younger, bigger, stronger and has less mileage on him right now than Mathews. However, you never know. Flanagan looks pretty old for someone 26. I mean, I honestly can’t tell the difference in estimating youth when looking at Flanagan and Mathews.

Both guys look like they’re in their early 30s. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Mathews wins this fight, because Flanagan hasn’t really been tested yet, and this is one of the rare fights where he’s facing an opponent about the same size as him. I think Flanagan might be one of those types that can dish it out but who can’t take it.

Something around the eyes of Flanagan tells me that he’s not going to be able to handle it once Mathews starts giving it to him on Saturday night. Flanagan is so accostomed to being the bigger guy and getting his way against his smaller less talented opponents. In this fight, Flanagan is going to finally be facing an opponent that will be able to look him in the eye and return fire with almost the same power that he has.

Flanagan might be a little bit of a better pncher. However, when he starts getting hit hard by Mathews, I can see Flanagan checking out mentally and choosing to to run and retreat rather than stay and fight. In other words, I think Flanagan will wave the white flag of surrender rather than stick it out and go out on his shield like a brave sort in this contest. I hope I’m wrong, but something around Flanagan’s eyes tell me he’s going to quit.

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