One of the most interesting fights this weekend features 2 fairly unknown fighters in a true 50-50 match up. A fight not for the WBC Light Heavyweight title but for the IBF Lightweight title, a fight that pits a puncher against a boxer, a crude but effective fighter against an intelligent one maybe most crucially 2 hungry young fighters trying to make a name for themselves. South Korea’s “Volcano” Ji-Hoon Kim faces Mexico’s criminally under-rated “Titere”, Miguel Vazquez. Neither fighter is unbeaten, neither fighter is a massive name, yet the fight promises to be something special.
The true fans of the sport will almost certain seen something of both fighters, Kim has been a semi-regular on ESPN in recent times due to a very TV friendly free swinging style that lacks definition but contains a clear sense of destruction whilst Vazquez was last seen 13 months ago inflicting the first loss of Breidis Prescott’s career by a split decision. Between them they have 8 losses, though even the number seems to hide the true picture. Vazquez’s losses have come at the hands of truly top tier fights, twice to Saul Alvarez and once to Timothy Bradley whilst Kim’s last loss was back in ’06 (since which Kim has run off 13 straight wins, 12 by KO). Although having the IBF bauble on the line isn’t necessarily fair, it’s with out a doubt going to be entertaining and a great clash of styles.
In Ji-Hoon Kim we have a 23 year old who has fought back from a poor start to his career, in which he was 8-5 and in fact 2-3 to become one of the most fun to watch fighters of the current generation. Kim has fought several times in the US and scored on paper very solid wins stopping Tyrone Harris, Koba Gogoladze and Ameth Diaz in the States. Promoted by Arthur Pelullo’s Banner Promotions he looks to emulate promotional buddy Dmitry Pirog who stopped Danny Jacobs just a couple of weeks back. With a rugged style that appears to lack defensive control Kim has made a name for himself based around his single shot power that has seen him amass a record of 21-5 (18). Whilst in the other corner Miguel Vazquez is a much cuter, cleverer fighter who lacks the KO punch but has the better natural skill and his career highlight is in beating a highly rated puncher in Breidis Prescott. With a record of 25-3 (12) he’s been durable having never been stopped and despite being dropped by Prescott he got up and controlled the fight.
Against Kim the way to beat him is by being clever and fast whilst also being defensively astute or being able to take a shot. He’s very clumsy and wide open, straight shots can be relatively simple to land on him though the penalty for being caught by a shot can end a fight instantly. Vazquez is talented enough to use Kims face for target practice though the question is can he manage it for 12 rounds? If he can he’ll walk away with the win by a very wide decision, though Prescott did manage to deck Vazquez in the opening round and Kim has similar sort of power in his shots. If Vazquez tastes Kims power early on he could very well be forced on the back foot though it’s more likely he’ll get stopped.
Out of the two I favour Vazquez slightly (55-45 sort of thing) he’s bigger naturally, more skilled and just has that something about him. Though he needs to be patient through out an pick his shots as Kim will want to make a statement.
Personally I’d love to see Kim v Katsidis whether the South Korean wins or not as that would be pure excitement for as long as it lasts.