CompuBox Analysis: Adonis Stevenson vs. Tony Bellew

by CompuBox

Who would have ever thought on January 1, 2013 that by late-November Adonis Stevenson would be a contender for Fighter of the Year? But after avenging his only defeat by knocking out Darnell Boone in six rounds, winning the WBC light heavyweight title in 76 seconds from Chad Dawson and defending it by TKO over ex-titlist Tavoris Cloud, the 36-year-old southpaw is in prime position to make a strong case for the honor.

On Saturday, Stevenson hopes to put a bow on a life-changing year when he takes on mandatory challenger Tony Bellew, who is looking to create his own dreams by capturing a major title on the road. The question is will he?

Statistical factors that may shape the outcome include:

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CompuBox Analysis: Sergey Kovalev vs. Ismayl Sillakh

by CompuBox

What a year 2013 has been for Sergey Kovalev. In January, the “Krusher” crushed former light heavyweight titlist Gabriel Campillo in seven-and-a-half minutes while in June he did the same to the 21-1 Cornelius White in a little less than eight minutes. Just two months after that he traveled to Cardiff, Wales to take on Welshman Nathan Cleverly, who also happened to be the defending WBO light heavyweight titlist. Many thought Cleverly’s volume-punching and home ring advantage would prevail, but in the end it was Kovalev’s aggression, accuracy and power that prevailed in scoring a fourth-round TKO.

On Saturday, the globe-trotting Kovalev will again travel to hostile territory to make his first defense against Ismayl Sillakh in Quebec City. The mission: Score an eye-catching KO before the home fans of his next potential rival, WBC titlist Adonis Stevenson, in the hopes of generating interest in a Kovalev-Stevenson unification fight. The Ukrainian challenger has other ideas, however, and he believes his long-armed style and superior mobility will “Krush” Kovalev’s aspirations.

Factors that may influence the outcome include:

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Writer Predictions: It's Unanimous for Pacquiao

Photo Credit: Will Hart

There are a lot of things boxing writers disagree about, but apparently the outcome of this weekend's fight is not among them. In the admittedly small sample size of HBO Boxing Insiders, not one brave soul was willing to predict a Brandon Rios victory. That isn't to say we're not expecting fireworks, but they're likely to be the type of fireworks heralding the return of a champion, and not a new ascendant to the throne.

Here's how our writers see the fight playing out:

Kieran Mulvaney

The big question about Manny Pacquiao is whether he is still Manny Pacquiao, after the years of tough fights and particularly the nap he took at the end of his last one. But even 75 percent of Manny Pacquiao should be too versatile, too fast, and too strong for Brandon Rios. A game Rios has his moments, but Pac-Man chops him up en route to an 11th round stoppage.

Eric Raskin

I've been among the bigger believers in Brandon Rios for the last couple of years, but I expect he'll find himself overmatched on Saturday night. This isn't Mike Alvarado or Miguel Acosta; this is Manny Pacquiao. His speed, accuracy, and athleticism threaten to overwhelm the more stationary Rios. I don't think we'll see significant residual effects from Pacquiao's knockout loss to Marquez, so I expect Manny to stop a very game Rios in about seven or eight high-contact rounds.

Nat Gottlieb

Although I think Pacquiao has lost his edge, Rios is a one-dimensional brawler with a poor skill set. Pacquiao boxes circles around him, winning every round.

Hamilton Nolan

I think Pacquiao by decision is the most likely outcome, and the second most likely outcome is Rios by KO, if it turns out Pacquiao got old after the Marquez fight. I wouldn't necessarily bet on that, though.

Tim Smith

Brandon Rios likes to sit in the pocket, but he doesn't play peek-a-boo with his defense. He relishes taking shots. Pacquiao has some of the heaviest hands in the welterweight division. That spells trouble for Rios. Pacquiao KO 7.

Bob Canobbio, CompuBox

Rios has limited movement and is the busier fighter, throwing 74 punches per round in his last 6 fights.  As a result, opponents landed 40% of their power shots.  Pac (69 punches thrown per round) has better lateral movement and a better jab. Pac landed 47% of his power shots in his last 9 fights, while opponents landed 33% of their power shots. Pacquiao TKO 10 Rios.

Diego Morilla

Rios presents a difficult challenge, but his level of opposition hasn't been anywhere near Pacquiao's, and that difference will become evident as soon as the fight starts. This one looks just like Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Juan Diaz all over again: young, volume-puncher with decent power against a tough veteran who knows how to counterpunch and has the patience to wait for his chance to hurt him. Pacquiao wins by late-round TKO.

Michael Gluckstadt

As much as I'd like to go against the grain, Manny Pacquiao is just too good of a fighter to be beaten by Brandon Rios. Rios almost seems custom-built as an opponent that Manny could look good against in his comeback fight; someone who can take a punch, a lot of them actually, and give Pacquiao the canvas he needs to turn in a masterful performance. Pacquiao UD.