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Khurtsidze vs. Langford & Murray vs. Rosado this Saturday

Image: Khurtsidze vs. Langford & Murray vs. Rosado this Saturday

By Scott Gilfoid: This Saturday night #1 WBO Avtandil Khurtsidze (32-2-2, 21 KOs) will be mixing it up with #3 WBO Tommy Langford (18-0, 6 KOs) for the interim World Boxing Organization middleweight strap at the Leicester Arena in Leicester, England. The Khurtsidze-Langford fight will be televised on BoxNation in the UK.

Ideally, the 37-year-old Khurtsidze should be fighting WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders for his title, as it’s about time that he defends against the No.1 guy. Saunders has been the WBO 160lb. champion for over a year now, and he still hasn’t defended his title against his mandatory. You’d hate to see Khurtsidze age out before he finally gets a shot at the WBO belt. At least with Khurtsidze fighting the 27-year-old Langford for the interim WBO strap, he’ll be in position to take the title in the near future if Saunders opts not to fight him.

The hard hitting Khurtsidze has to be viewed as a huge favorite over Langford, who isn’t much of a puncher and looked dreadful in winning a very, very controversial 12 round split decision on November 26 last year against Sam Sheedy. There were many boxing fans that felt that Sheedy had done enough to deserve the decision. I saw the fight and I had Sheedy easily winning. He outclassed Langford in giving him a boxing lesson on the night.

I still don’t know how 2 of the judges scored the fight for Langford, because it seemed like a clear cut win for Sheedy. That was easily the toughest fight of Langford’s 5-year pro career, and the thing is, he wasn’t fighting a guy that was anywhere close to being as talented as what he’ll be dealing with when he gets inside the ring with Khurtsidze this Saturday night.

It’s bad news for Langford unless he can find some punching power somewhere. At 27, I’m afraid that Langford is about as powerful as he’s ever going to be. If he can’t punch with any authority now, he’s probably not going to ever have any power in the future. I’m just saying. It’s DEFINITELY not good for Langford that he’s facing a knockout artist like Khurtsidze.

This guy is like a machine right now. If you saw how easily Khurtsidze took care of a very good fighter in Antoine Douglas in stopping him in the 10th round last year in March, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Khurtsidze looked devastatingly powerful in beating a guy that I would favor over Langford. That kind of tells you what Langford is up against in facing Khurtsidze. It’s a mismatch, and it doesn’t matter that the fight is taking place in Langford’s home country of the UK. His loyal boxing fans aren’t going to be able to protect him from the thunderous punches from the short 5’4” Khurtsidze.

The only real advantage the 6’0” Langford will have inside the ring on Saturday night is an 8” inch height advantage over Khurtsidze. Unfortunately, Khurtsidze is Mike Tyson-like with the way he’s able to cut off the ring and get in close to pound away against his taller opposition.

Against the light hitting Langford, Khurtsidze will have things a lot easier due to him not having to deal with anything powerful being thrown his way while he’s working his way to the inside. You’ve got to have power, height, each, speed and mobility to beat Khurtsidze. Langford only has height. All the rest of the ingredients needed to beat Khurtsidze are totally missing.

Khurtsidze isn’t unbeatable, but it takes a good fighter to defeat him. The last guy that was able to beat Khurtsidze was Hassan N’Dam, who out-boxed him in winning a close 12 round unanimous decision 7 years ago in October 2010. N’Dam barely won the fight in winning by the scores 118-111, 115-114 and 115-114. There were some boxing fans that thought that Khurtsidze did enough to win the fight. However, the match took place in N’Dam’s home country of France, so it was always going to be incredibly tough for Khurtsidze to win a decision over there as the visiting fighter. He did show a lot of talent in that fight despite being the much shorter guy.

“I am very excited to finally get this opportunity,” said Khurtsidze. “I’ve worked real hard these last few years to get another shot at a world title and I will give my best on Saturday to achieve my dream. It will be an honor to add the first loss to Tommy Langford’s record and to seize the interim WBO middleweight world title. After I defeat Langford, Saunders is next.”

I just hope for Khurtsidze’s sake that he gets a crack at Saunders’ WBO title before the end of the century, because I’d be a tragedy if he has to wait eons for his title shot. I don’t know why Saunders doesn’t just get it over with and face Khurtsidze. But then again, Saunders looked out of this world bad in beating Artur Akavov last December in a close 12 round decision. If that’s the best that Saunders can do against a fringe contender, then I think he’s pretty much doomed when he eventually faces Khurtsidze one of these days in the future.

Khurtsidze helped Daniel Jacobs train for his fight with Gennady Golovkin last March. The sparring obviously will help Khurtsidze against Langford, who is nothing like Jacobs in terms of talent and punching power. I’m wondering who Langford sparred o get ready for what he’s going to be dealing with when he gets inside the ring with Khurtsidze on Saturday night.

Martin Murray says he’s better than 2 of the world champions Gabriel Rosado has fought

Martin Murray (34-4-1, 16 KOs) likes his chances of defeating former world title challenger Gabriel Rosado (23-10, 13 KOs) in their scheduled 12 round fight this Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. The fight will be televised live in the UK on Sky Sports 1 HD. It’s one of those 50-50 type of fights where it’s impossible to tell for sure who will win. Rosado has a mess of wins during his 11-year pro career, but some of them have been controversial ones.

Rosado is a lot better than his record would have you believe. But when you’re the B-side fighter like Rosado has been in many of his fights in his boxing career, it’s difficult to get the ‘W’, because you’re facing a guy that is supposed to be able to beat you. I had Rosado beating Jermell Charlo, D’Leon Love, Derek Ennis and Fernando Guerrero. Those were all fights where Rosado failed to get the victory despite looking like the better fighter on the night. If you take away those losses from Rosado’s record, he suddenly looks like a much different fighter coming into this Saturday’s match against Murray.

Rosado realizes that his back is against the wall in his career. He was beaten in his last fight by Willie Monroe Jr. last September, and he cannot afford another defeat at this point.

“In terms of world title hopes, then yes,” Murray said to I feel like I’m better than two of the world champions [Rosado] has fought, David Lemieux and Peter Quillin. No disrespect, but if I can’t beat Rosado then my dreams of winning a world title are over. He’s been beaten by all the top boys. He gives it a good go, he puts it all on the line, but he’s fallen short.”

It almost sounds like Murray is talking about himself when he speaks of Rosado falling shot when he fights the “top boys.” That’s exactly what’s happened with Murray. He beats on the lower level guys, but when Murray faces fighters with some ability, he falls apart and doesn’t throw punches. I don’t know what it is about Murray, but when he faces guys that good basic fighters, he clams up and hides behind his guard instead of throwing punches. That’s why Murray lost to George Groves, Gennady Golovkin, Sergio Martinez and Arthur Abraham. That’s why Murray fought to a draw against Felix Sturm.

“I feel like I’m better than two of the world champions [Rosado] has fought, David Lemieux and Peter Quillin,” Murray said.

I hate to say it but I do not see Murray being anywhere close to the level of guys like David Lemieux and Peter Quillin. I don’t know how much Quillin has left in the tank at this stage in his career. He doesn’t look that great anymore, but I still think he would take career of Murray without any problems if those two mixed it up. Lemieux is way too good for Murray in my opinion. It’s like apples and oranges. We’re talking two completely different types of fighters when you compare Lemieux with Murray.

Lemieux has major power and he throws punches. Murray is more of a tapper on offense, who covers up behind his high guard at the first hint of danger. I do not see either of those guys being similar in talent.

Murray should just give it his best shot on Saturday night against Rosado, and not get stuck seeing himself as better than this or that fighter. If Murray studies Rosado’s last fight, he’ll know that he looked like he froze against Willie Monroe Jr. and lost his nerve.

All Monroe Jr. did was fight hard, and he had Rosado looking like he was afraid to mix it up. Rosado should have put it on the line by attacking Monroe all out like Gennady Golovkin did, because that’s how you beat him. If Murray can make Rosado afraid to mix it up with him early on, then he can probably dominate the remainder of the fight with his jab alone. The trick is for Murray to make Rosado respect him right off the bat in order to make the rest of the fight easier.

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