By Adam Baskin: Janibek Alimkhanuly says he’s ready for a unification against the other middleweight champions after his successful title defense on Saturday night against Denzel Bentley.
Janibek’s late surge in the 11th and 12th rounds preserved his victory over Bentley, as he was able to hurt him and land a lot of hard lefts to the head.
Bentley was there to be knocked out if Janibek had thrown combinations instead of single punches. Felix Cash knocked Bentley out in three rounds by throwing combinations, but surprisingly, Janibek never even attempted that approach.
If Janibek is going to take on the other champions at 160, Gennadiy Golovkin, Erislandy Lara, and Jermall Charlo, he will need a lot of work.
WBO 160-lb champion Janibek (13-0, 9 KOs) was forced to go the 12 round distance in beating Bentley (17-2-1, 14 KOs) by a unanimous decision by the scores 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110 at the Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
Janibek, 29, wasn’t expecting as hard a fight as Bentley gave him, but he had a lot to do with making it a tougher match than it should have been. The inability of Janibek to throw combinations hurt his ability to dominate, and his fatigue in the middle rounds
Janibek’s trainer Buddy McGirt was telling him to stop waiting around and let his hand go against Bentley, but he couldn’t follow his instructions.
There was too much waiting around in between shots for Janibek and almost no combination punching. If Janibek could throw combinations of four, five, six, and seven punches at a time, tonight’s fight would have been an easy one for him. He couldn’t do it and never tried.
“It’s boxing. Anything can happen in the ring,” said Janibek following his victory over Bentley. “He came prepared. I respect my opponent because he was prepared. He was 100 percent, but I am a champion, and I fought all 12 rounds as a champion.
“I am ready for any champion, for unifications. I am ready. Let’s fight.”
Despite Janibek’s less-than-spectacular performance tonight, it’s doubtful that he’ll get any of the champions at 160 to fight him. Jermall hasn’t fought in a year and a half, and we probably won’t see him fight until 2023.
If Janibek wants a fight, he should be willing to move up to 168 because he’ll get more takers in that weight class than at 160.