Jared Anderson’s Progress Under Scrutiny: Ryad Merhy Fight a Calculated Test

By Nationvegas - 02/28/2024 - Comments

Heavyweight contender Jared Anderson will look for another knockout against little-known Ryad Merhy in a ten-round doubleheader clash on April 13th, shown on ESPN at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The event will be on ESPN and ESPN+ at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. Also on the card is heavyweight contender Efe Ajagba fighting Guido Vianello in a ten-round fight.

Merhy: A Revealing Yardstick

Merhy is coming off a ten-round split decision win over 2016 Olympic gold medalist Tony Yoka last July, which was a solid win for him. Yoka had lost his two previous fights against Carlos Takam and Martin Bakole, which kind of takes away the shine from Merhy’s win against him.

Not surprisingly, the boxing public has never heard of the 31-year-old Ryad Merhy (32-2, 26 KOs), and they don’t understand the reasoning behind Top Rank making this match for Jared. But if you saw how Anderson struggled against faded former world champion Charles Martin, this fight makes sense.

Jared Anderson uses the Shakur Stevenson style of fighting, employing the step-back approach to his fights, and it’s not exactly entertaining. It got him in trouble when he tried it against Martin, who lit him up.

Lingering Doubts

Anderson isn’t ready to fight quality opposition and might never be. If he fails this test against Merhy or looks bad in winning, Top Rank might start thinking about cutting him loose, viewing him as a lost cause. Certainly, some of the comments that Anderson has made in interviews make one question how dedicated he is

This is another grooming fight for the 24-year-old Anderson (16-0, 15 KOs) that his promoters at Top Rank are putting him with.

They’re not in a hurry to match the 6’4″, 240-lb Anderson against world-class oppoisition after watching him get hurt twice in his recent fight against 37-year-old former IBF champion Martin last July.

That fight was eye-opening, showing that Anderson isn’t nearly ready to begin fighting contenders on the world stage.

Assuming that Anderson doesn’t improve, Top Rank keeps him around long enough for the top heavyweights Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, and Anthony Joshua to retire.

Once those guys are gone, Anderson would have a chance of sliding in to grab one of the world titles, as long as he doesn’t face anyone with talent or punching power.

“Jared Anderson is the most exciting young heavyweight in the world, and he’s stepping up against his toughest opponent to date,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.

“Efe Ajagba is one of the division’s biggest punchers, but Guido Vianello is a skilled fighter who demanded a step up in competition. If you like heavyweights, this is a can’t-miss card.”