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Fight Picks: Mairis Briedis-Yuniel Dorticos

22
Sep

The cruiserweight final of the World Boxing Super Series between Mairis Briedis and IBF titleholder Yuniel Dorticos will take place at the Plazamedia Broadcasting Center, a leading live sports production house in Munich, Germany, on Saturday.

The winner will be crowned The Ring Magazine champion and will also collect the prestigious Muhammad Ali Trophy.

Briedis, who is rated No. 1 by The Ring at 200 pounds, edged Noel Gevor (UD 12) and stopped Kryzysztof Glowacki (TKO 3) in a wild and controversial affair to reach the final. The 35-year-old Latvian is a former WBC beltholder but lost the title and his undefeated record to WBSS Season 1 winner Aleksandr Usyk (MD 12).

Dorticos, who is rated No. 2, by the Ring, labored in his win over Mateusz Masternak (UD 12) but was much more impressive knocking out the unbeaten American Andrew Tabiti (KO 10) to secure safe passage to the final. The 34-year-old Cuban lost at the semi-final stage in Season 1, when he was stopped by Murat Gassiev (TKO 12) in a barnburner.



Briedis (26-1, 19 knockouts) hasn’t found his best form since losing to Usyk and he’ll have to find it to see off Dorticos. Both are concussive hitters, but who will take the better punch? Can Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs) keep the fight at range and prevent Briedis from making it rough on the inside? The fight had been scheduled for March and then May in Riga, which would have been a big advantage to Briedis, but that no longer applies. Who has dealt with the lay off and disruption better?

Online gambling group William Hill lists Briedis as an 8-15 (-188) favorite, while Dorticos is priced at 11-8 (+138); the draw is 18-1 (+1800).

Here’s how the experts see it:

THE RING MAGAZINE/ RINGTV.COM

Mairis Briedis. Photo by World Boxing Super Series

TOM GRAY: BRIEDIS UD
“I liked Briedis ahead of the original date in March and I still do. Briedis has superior ring craft and he’s never been stopped. Both guys are warriors, so I expect some great action, but I think Briedis will control the beginning, the middle and the end of the fight. Dorticos might struggle to last the full 12 and could suffer a knockdown or two during the championship rounds. The one caveat I have now is that the result could be dependent on how each fighter has dealt with the pandemic and subsequent inactivity.”

ANSON WAINWRIGHT: DORTICOS TKO 10
“Briedis has made Riga something of a fortress over the past couple of years, and that [location] would have been a big advantage for him going into this fight. However, the playing field has now levelled up. Both hit hard, although Dorticos is probably the bigger one-punch knockout artist. He’s also the better athlete and his speed may cause Briedis some issues. Briedis has the better chin and I don’t think he’ll have a problem making this an all-out brawl. I think things may be close at the halfway point and go back and forth until ‘The KO Doctor’ breaks through and lands a barrage of shots that hurt the Latvian. Dorticos to will jump on him and force the referee to stop the fight.”

LEE GROVES: DORTICOS UD
“When this fight was first scheduled, Briedis would have enjoyed an enormous home ring advantage in Riga, but now that the fight is being held on neutral ground in Munich that edge disappears. I believe that Dorticos will apply his five-inch reach advantage and box at long range; if he chooses to follow that blueprint for the entire fights, he can set up his bombs while minimizing his exposure to Briedis’. While Briedis’ power is a wild card, I think Dorticos will see it through.”

RON BORGES: BRIEDIS PTS
“I’m sticking with my earlier prediction that Briedis outpoints Dorticos despite the fact Dorticos is the more dangerous puncher. Originally Briedis would have had the crowd on his side but in a locked down arena in Munich he won’t have that edge, but he’ll still have the advantage in boxing skills and enough power to make Dorticos hold back just enough to lose a close decision.”

MARTY MULCAHEY: DORTICOS TKO
“With the defection of Aleksandr Usyk to heavyweight, this is the best possible matchup that can be made at cruiserweight. It will rightfully crown a Ring Magazine champion, and on paper it looks like a traditional puncher versus boxer match. Dorticos is the slugger while Briedis works angles and has a slight speed advantage. However, Dorticos matriculated through the vaunted Cuban amateur system, and that is why I give him the edge, and I believe the veteran will find a way to win over the Latvian who came to boxing late. Look for Briedis to start strong (despite not having a home country advantage as was the case when this fight was originally scheduled before COVID hit) but fade in every round after the fourth and become Dorticos’ 23rd stoppage victim in the championship rounds.”

MICHAEL MONTERO: BRIEDIS UD
“It’s only a hunch, but I feel that Briedis has a little more left in the tank than Dorticos does. Briedis has defeated the better opposition as a pro and, in terms of x-factors, the Latvian has fought in Germany five times (5-0, 4 KOs), while Dorticos is yet to do so. I like Briedis by decision.”

MICHAEL WOODS: BRIEDIS UD
“How you saw this one could change, couldn’t it, from BC to AC? Before COVID to “after” COVID, do I tend to find more favor in one or the other because of the length of time since they gloved up (June 2019)? Some eyes were open to the fact that the Latvian owns a real good arsenal when he was winning plenty of minutes during rounds with Aleksandr Usyk (January 2018). That was his sole loss, by the way. He is 35, turns 36 in January, but it’s not like I worry more because he’s fighting a young gun. Dorticos, age 34, turns 35 in March. Dorticos has more pop on paper, but anyone assessing this thing should ideally add an asterisk. You are, because of COVID protocol variations, less likely to know how training went, and if the time off between fights might lessen someone’s expected effectiveness on fight night. Breidis is an under-radar guy, but he’s fun to watch. Aggressive, has fun while he works, looks to destruct and destroy, and yet he can be countered, he squares up, sometimes gets “too” aggressive. Will be fun to see if Dorticos can time him, deliver a crackerjack right down the middle, while Breidis is about to start his own right hand. This had the makings of a good one when we entered the “virus interruptus” period of pugilism, and that still holds. I think. I had thought “BC” the Latvian could be able to defuse that Cuban power pack over the whole 12…and get a UD, close on points. I still hold to that.”

NORM FRAUENHEIM: BRIEDIS UD
“Dorticos has scary power, summed up by his knockout percentage of 91 percent. But Briedis isn’t frightened by much of anything, mostly because of a versatile skillset that includes the resilient durability he’ll need against Dorticos. It promises to be an up-and-down fight. Might be controversial, too. In the end however, Briedis has the wherewithal to elude and withstand big shots in the early going. In the late moments, he’ll make the kind of adjustments that show up on the scorecard for a narrow decision.”

BOXING INSIDERS

Yuniel Dorticos. Photo courtesy of World Boxing Super Series

DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER THREE-DIVISION TITLEHOLDER/ TV ANALYST): BRIEDIS UD
“I like Briedis for this fight. I think both fighters are showing signs of wear and tear, but I just feel that Dorticos has more miles on the clock than his nemesis. In another hard-fought battle of attrition, Briedis wins a unanimous decision.”

MARC RAMSAY (TRAINER): BRIEDIS UD
“Briedis impressed me a lot when he fought Usyk. I think he’s an underrated fighter. People think he’s not that good, but he is good, he’s very good. I’ve known Dorticos since he was an amateur. He fought [Eleider] Alvarez and Artur [Beterbiev], both of my fighters, and he was a really good amateur fighter. I think the speed of Briedis is going to be a problem for Dorticos. He has very good power, but he misses a little bit of speed to challenge a guy like Briedis. I think Briedis will win, probably a unanimous decision, but with a good puncher like Dorticos you have to be careful. One second and the fights over. It’s a good fight, every round will be close; it’s not a one-sided fight.”

KATHY DUVA (PROMOTER, MAIN EVENTS): BRIEDIS PTS
“I have always been a big fan of Mairis Briedis. We even had him under contract here at Main Events for a little while. One of my great regrets is that I was not able to convince the powers that be at HBO at the time to invest in the cruiserweight division because it was quite obvious to me that Mairis was destined to be a star. He is exciting and powerful. He has fought much, much better competition than Dorticos throughout his career. Briedis’ only loss was a razor-close decision to Usyk, who I believe is one of the top 10 fighters in the world at any weight. Dorticos has some boxing skill, but I think that Briedis has a lot more going for him in this fight. So, with the advantages of experience and punching power, I pick Briedis by decision. I’m sure it will be exciting, as just about all of Briedis’ fights tend to be a lot of fun.”

VADIM KORNILOV (MANAGER): DORTICOS PTS
“I know Dorticos has exceptional boxing skills and power. Briedis probably has the better conditioning. I think Dorticos on points.”

GARY LOCKETT (TRAINER): BRIEDIS PTS
“Both are warriors. It’s a very close one, but I can see the overall toughness and good all-round game of Briedis getting him the nod on the scorecards.”

STEPHAN LAROUCHE (TRAINER): BRIEDIS PTS
“I have to go with Briedis. He has fought great opposition and knows how to win on points if needed. He has the better overall resume.”

EDUARD KRAVTSOV (TRAINER): BRIEDIS KO
“Both have similar power, however, Briedis has a much better chin, hence he will win the exchanges. Briedis is much better at mid-range distance and has long combinations, which Dorticos is vulnerable against. Briedis wins by KO in eight or nine rounds.”

RODNEY BERMAN (PROMOTER, GOLDEN GLOVES): DORTICOS
“Too close to call. Both have almost identical records, both have good chins, both can punch. It will be very competitive. I favor Dorticos to win a points decision, only because in my opinion he has fought a better class of opponent.”

THABISO MCHUNU (CRUISERWEIGHT CONTENDER): BRIEDIS PTS
“I like Briedis, I think he is craftier. Dorticos is easier to hit. Briedis can steal rounds. Briedis on points.”

PETER SMITH (TRAINER): DORTICOS PTS
“This is going to be an amazing fight. I think Dorticos will take charge in the later rounds. I’m going with Dorticos on points.”

TOM LOEFFLER (PROMOTER, 360 PROMOTIONS): BRIEDIS UD
“Great fight. I lean toward Briedis by unanimous decision.”

KEVIN LERENA (CRUISERWEIGHT CONTENDER): BRIEDIS PTS
“It’s a very good fight, a very hard fight to call. I’m going to stick my neck out and say Briedis on points.”

MAX ALPEROVICH (MANAGER): DORTICOS KO
“All out slugfest. Dorticos is more powerful, wins by KO between six and eight rounds.”

Final Tally: Briedis 14-7

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright

 

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