Tomorrow, Showtime will be presenting a few good fighters and a really good main event as Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere will slug it out for the vacant WBA World Lightweight title. Even though both fighters haven’t fought in almost a year, the winner of this will be moved right into the top 5 in the division that is very top heavy with Adrien Broner, Miguel Vasquez, and Ricky Burns. Also on that card will be the be the impressive young fighter, Gary Russell Jr, squaring off against a mostly unknown Russian fighter named Vyacheslav Gusev, in what Russell will hope to be a step in the right direction towards being in bigger, more televised fights.
Richard Abril (17-3-1), like most Cuban fighters, is very highly skilled and uses his defense and jab to win his fights. He doesn’t have much power, but he’s a person that can make you look very bad in the ring if you are just a puncher and not a boxer. Speaking of that, this is Abril’s 1st fight since the very controversial loss to Brand Rios last April, a fight that most people not only think Abril won, but dominated. I personal scored the fight 9 rounds to 3 in Abril’s favor. He now re-enters the ring trying to capitalize on the underground popularity he has made off of that fight. He has said he will fight any range from 135 to 140, so a win for him could lead to much bigger things.
Sharif Bogere (23-0 with 15 KOs) is a 24 year old hungry fighter with above average, solid power that is looking to put his name on the map, similar to what Abril did vs. Rios. His best opponent so far was Raymundo Beltran back in 2011. He is also coming off a long layoff as his last fight was 7 months ago, a 2nd round KO of Manuel Leyva. Abril will be his toughest fight and the undefeated Bogere is trying to show that he is ready for the big lights. Bogere is still young, but has talent, he will try to get inside and wear down the body of Abril, but he will have to box his way in because as shown in the Rios fight against Abril, you won’t be able to force or bully him in anyway.
I think this fight is more even than people thing. Abril has the experience and technical skill advantage, but Bogere also has some good skill and definitely has the power advantage. It seems to be 1 of those fights that if it is stopped early, it’s probably a Bogere win, but if it goes the distance you usually go with that more technically sound fight, who in my opinion is Abril. The biggest question is who does this layoff favor the most? This fight was supposed to take place November 24th, and then Bogere suffered an Achilles tendon injury. Because you can never be too sure of someone coming off an injury, or if he can re-injure it, I’m going to have to go with Abril by decision.
As I said earlier, also on this card with be Garry Russell Jr (21-0 with 13 KOs) vs. Vyacheslav Gusev (20-2 with 5 KOs). I don’t think this fight will be close as Russell is on another level. This fight is more of a showcase for Russell Jr as hopefully it gets him quicker to a title shot in the near future. So far however, he hasn’t face any good competition, but he has time, as he is only 24. He does need to slowly upgrade his quality opponents and Gusev will not do that. I’m going with Russell by 4th round stoppage, maybe if it’s a KO, he can generate some buzz from it, but until then, he will at least provide some depth to a pretty good Saturday night of boxing. Enjoy the fights.