140 Khabib WBA, Provodnikov WBO, Shafikov IBF
The Russian contingent at 140 is all making their move to the top at the same time and im excited to see them all tested against the best in the division.
Allakhverdiev - Is the WBA and IBO Champion. Garcia has the WBA Super & WBC belts with Matthysse being the WBC Interm Champ and he's fighting on the Garcia/Judah undercard so looks like Garcia will Unify that WBC situation first in a superfight with Lucas. That would be good for Khabib to have a couple more fights before facing the elite of the division.
WBA top 10 before Khabib/Joan fought
1. Joan Guzman
2. Khabib Allakhverdiev
3. Amir Khan
4. Souleymane M’Baye
5. Karim Mayfield
6. Antonio Lozada Jr.
7. Johan Perez
8. Volodymyr Kravets
9. Vicente Mosquera
10. Pablo Cesar Cano
Defending against a couple of these guys would be beneficial for him to keep improving as a fighter.
Provodnikov - Ruslan and Rios have been ordered to fight for the vacant WBO belt since JMM moved up to fight Pacquiao. If Rios can get a money fight against Pac/JMM winner he may take that instead (Alverado is #3) but Ruslan will get a shot at the belt. I would favor Rios especially with the syle matchup and Ruslan's history with swelling and cuts but he certainly has a chance.
I don't think anyone is physically stronger than Provodnikov at 140 including Rios and he's been working on his footwork, movement and all around boxing ability recently. His defense has never been the best but he's as tough has they come, can punch and wouldn't be a easy fight for anyone especially another banger like Rios or Alverado.
Shafikov - With his dominant win over Mensah he's now rated #2 in the IBF
1. Zab Judah (fighting Garcia)
2. Denis Shafikov
3. Mike Alvarado
4. Kendal Holt
5. Brandon Rios
A title eliminator against Alverado may be a possibility if he's still rated at #3 since the Rios loss. That would be a tough fight especially in the US as i cant see him stopping Mike and winning rounds convincingly against him with a swarming approach would be difficult lending itself towards close rounds in additon to the obvious danger of being hurt himself.
He's going to have it tough if he wants to be a real factor in the division and with guys like Alverado, Rios, Garcia, Matthysse he'll have to show that his boxing and swarming can be effective against big, hard punching guys. I think a fight against the IBF Champion PEDerson would be a easier fight than either of the four named above although still a difficult one.
Shafikov said that he walks around under 145lbs so his team thinks moving to 135 might be smart and he'll probably end up fighting at both. Considering his position at #2 IBF at 140 i cant see them turning down a Title Eliminator oppertunity but if he were to lose a drop down to 135 seems likely.
Any thoughts on the fighters themselves or the likely matchups for them mentioned above?
Last edited by Vysotsky; 12-02-2012 at 03:47 AM.