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Jamie McDonnell vs. Liborio Solis preview & prediction

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By Scott Gilfoid: A year out from winning a very controversial 12 unanimous decision last year in Monte Carlo, WBA World bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1, 13 KOs) will be back inside the ring defending his title against #3 WBA Liborio Solis (25-5-1, 11 KO) in a rematch on Saturday at the Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin, in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

McDonnell vs. Solis will be fighting on the undercard of the light heavyweight fight between Dmitry Bivol vs. Trent Broadhurst. That fight will be televised on HBO Boxing in the U.S. It’s doubtful that McDonnell-Solis will be shown to the U.S boxing fans, as there’s no market for this fight in the States. The casual fans in the U.S have no clue who either of these guys are.

Solis, 35, wonders why he had to wait an entire year to get a rematch with McDonnell after the World Boxing Association ordered the rematch in response to the controversy surrounding the results of last November’s fight between the two fighters. Solis fought well enough to win an easy 12 round decision, but for some reason the judges had McDonnell winning by the scores 116-112, 115-113 and 117-111. Boxing News 24 had Solis winning 10 rounds to 2 by the score 118-110. It was such a mismatch that it was difficult to give McDonnell more than 1 round in the fight, because he was getting worked over on the inside by the quicker, smarter and more powerful Solis. Even the commentators at Sky Sports, who some boxing fans feel are little more than cheerleaders for the house fighters, had Solis winning the fight.

“The English fans and the press said that I won, I got messages from them and, he looked totally surprised as did his corner when they read out the verdict,” said Solis via Fight News. “I’m fired up to show that he didn’t beat me. I’m not assuming anything though, anyone can have a bad night and maybe that was his bad night.”

It didn’t look like the gangling 5’10”, stork-like McDonnell was just having a bad night against Solis. It looked more like Solis was simply too good for McDonnell. That’s what it came down to. The 31-year-old McDonnell is a good fighter, but it’s clear that he belongs in the featherweight division. The guy drains down to make 118. I don’t know how he still does it at his age, but he’s giant after he rehydrates. It’s possible that the ordeal of McDonnell having to cut so much weight to get down to 118 is giving him diminishing returns now, leaving him weak and lethargic, which is how he fought the entire 12 round fight last November.

How 3 judges could see the McDonnell-Solis fight and have McDonnell winning is beyond me. To me, it looked like the easiest fight to score. Solis was landing all the shots, and giving the painfully thin McDonnell a royal working over on the inside. Solis was giving McDonnell a real hiding. The 2 rounds where I had McDonnell winning in the fight were rounds that easily could have gone to Solis. There were no rounds in which I could say with utmost surety that McDonnell deserved to win them. Solis simply dominated McDonnell, taking him to school and battering him. After the fight, McDonnell was congratulating himself for getting the win, while the boxing fans booed him. It was pitiful to watch.

“It was annoying that the rematch didn’t happen quickly,” said Solis. “But as much as the year out may have affected me it will have affected him as well so there is no advantage there. He may have been trying to avoid the rematch because he knows it was a robbery. He himself was surprised when they read out the verdict. I don’t know why he’s been avoiding me…he doesn’t have anywhere to run to now,” said Solis.

It’s very weird that McDonnell just sat for an entire year before following through with the WBA ordered rematch with Solis. It’s clear to me that McDonnell wasn’t eager to take the fight, as he was talking of moving up in weight to super bantamweight to fight other guys. He wasn’t talking about wanting to give Solis a rematch. The WBA changed all that by ordering the rematch. McDonnell probably should have just vacated and moved up in weight to 122 or better yet moved up to 126.

At 5’10”, McDonnell is way too big to be still fighting at bantamweight at his age. He needed to move up in weight a long time ago. McDonnell won the WBA World 118 lb. title three years ago, and he’s successfully defended it 5 times. McDonnell had a lot of trouble beating Tomoki Kameda in their two fights. Kameda fought well enough to deserve a win in their first fight in Hidalgo, Texas in May 2015. In the rematch, Kameda once again gave McDonnell all kinds of problems, but the scoring was a lot wider in that fight than it was in the first fight. A lot of boxing fans had that fight scored just as close, but the judges gave it to McDonnell by the scores 115-112, 116-111 and 117-110.

Solis might need a knockout to get the win over McDonnell. I don’t think it’s going to be any easier for Solis to get the win. McDonnell is still the A-side fighter, who is with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport. Solis is going to need to take the judges out of the equation if he wants to get the win, because he could find himself on the receiving end up another controversial 12 round decision defeat if it goes to the scorecards.

It’s good that the WBA ordered the rematch. You can imagine the WBA will be taking a lot of interest in the McDonnell vs. Solis fight on Saturday to make sure the judges get it right this time. If there is another robbery, at least Solis can count on the WBA to order a third fight. I think it’ll be forlorn by that point though. If McDonnell makes Solis wait another year before giving him another rematch, then you must hope that the WBA does the right thing and strips him of his WBA title. It’s not a good deal for the WBA to have a champion that sits outside of the ring for an entire year not fighting after a controversial decision win. That’s a year of Solis’ career that he lost waiting for McDonnell to finally fight him.

Prediction

Solis will take the fight to McDonnell on Saturday night, and batter him at will with blistering fast power shots on the inside. McDonnell will be too slow and ineffective to do anything to stop Solis other than holding him. I see Solis getting the better of McDonnell and winning 11 out of 12 rounds. However, I think the judges will score it very close and have Solis barely nicking it with a close win by a round or 2.


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