Year of the Heavyweight (Weekend Preview): young HWs look to make statements


Dominic Breazeale“The Year of the Heavyweight” continues this weekend with three fights in particular that have significant meaning to the division as prospects attempt to move one step closer to that ever so coveted title shot. All three of these fights will be available to either watch live on television or through a streaming service, and here is a full preview of all three:


Jarrell Miller (15-0-1, 13 KOs) vs Donovan Dennis (14-3, 11 KOs)


Shobox will make its 2016 debut live from Tucson, Arizona with a solid heavyweight matchup in the co-main events between two young power punchers, both with a lot on the line. Jarrell Miller is high on several boxing pundits list of top heavyweight prospects, and for good reason.


Miller is a 6’4 polished 27-year-old from Brooklyn who has dabbled in the likes of kickboxing, where he compiled an undefeated record and MMA. He also served as a sparring partner for both Klitschko brothers years’ back just as most young highly touted heavyweight prospects do. As a pro boxer, Miller has passed the eye test thus far but does tend to have some weight issues.


For his last fight back in October, Miller weighed in at 280 ½ pounds, the fourth heaviest fighting weight of his pro boxing career. He weighed in at 274 for this fight, a slightly better fighting weight for “Big Baby”, who ideally should be in the 250s-260s range once he starts contending.


Yet, this fight just isn’t about Jarrell Miller, because Donovan Dennis can make a big statement tonight with an emphatic win as well. Dennis was recently stopped in the ESPN Boxcino Finals by Andrey Fedosov in the eighth round, marking the second time he had been stopped in his career.


Dennis is a 6’4 southpaw who has a dangerous straight left hand that he displayed in the Boxcino Tournament with two vicious knockouts in his first two fights. There are chin issues to consider, and Donovan will need to show better head movement and defensive tactics in this fight, as those were lacking against Fedosov.


Prediction: Miller KO round 8-10


I wanted to go with the upset in this one…but I just don’t trust Dennis’ chin, which has failed him before, and with Miller weighing in at 274 for this fight, he should be quicker, resulting in sharper harder punches, and he’ll be a bit more mobile and able to take away the speed advantage that Donovan will have. I’m going with Miller by late knockout in a great back and forth action packed fight that should have multiple knockdowns and big punches.


Joseph Parker (17-0, 15 KOs) vs Jason Bergman (25-11-2, 16 KOs) 


If you haven’t watched Joseph Parker of New Zealand fight yet, you should probably do yourself a favor and go on YouTube and take some time out to watch some of his fights. You’ll notice that there not that very long, there’s a Burger King logo in the center of the ring for most of them, and the guys he is knocking out are mostly older, slower, punching bags. Yes, all these factors are evident.


However, Parker is considered the second best heavyweight prospect in boxing right now behind Anthony Joshua, and who knows: Parker may be better. Parker is a gifted athlete, standing tall at 6’4 with a 76’ reach, and has a rather larger muscular frame, weighing in at 240 for this fight, the heaviest weight of his career.


From what I have seen of Parker I can assess this. Parker is very technically sound for a prospect of his age, keeping his hands held high and not opening himself up while on the attack, and throwing punches in combinations with rapid speed.


His opponents have been there to be hit, but he does appear to know how to cut off the ring with relative ease, and his chin hasn’t been tested, but it hasn’t faltered or failed him yet, either. One thing I know for sure about Parker is this: he does not have the power of a Wilder or Joshua, but he may be a better boxer and better defensively than both.


Bergman does not present much of a challenge at all, and in fact Parker has faced much tougher opponents than the one he will face in the ring tomorrow. Bowie Toupu, Yakup Salgam, and Sherman Williams are some of the modest names on Parkers resume.


After Joe disposes of Bergmann within four tomorrow, what will be next for him? Parker holds residence in Las Vegas and an American return (fought Keith Thompson in August 2014 in Pennsylvania) is just what he needs to jump-start his career, with the competition level in his area being average at best. Parker would attract many right away if he were to fight on PBC or American TV in general due to his crowd-pleasing style.


Prediction: Parker TKO1


Not much to say about this one. Parker by destruction early.


Dominic Breazeale (16-0, 14 KOs) vs Amir Mansour (22-1-1, 16 KOs)


This fight will open up the PBC on FOX telecast tomorrow night from the Staples Center. Originally, Dominic Breazeale was supposed to fight Charles Martin, and Amir Mansour was scheduled to fight Artur Szpilka: but that is a whole other story.


So now both men attempting to make their case to become a legit contender for one of the titles in the heavyweight division. This will be the third PBC fight for Breazeale, and a statement needs to be made if he wants to stay relevant. Dominic was last on the undercard for Wilder-Duhapaus in September, and he did not perform particularly well against Fred Kassi.


Mansour last fought in October against another fighter similar to Breazeale: Gerald Washington, whom he fought to a draw in a fight that many (including me) thought he won. Mansour and Breazeale will hopefully both come out guns blazing not wanting it to go to the scorecards.


The height difference in this fight is monumental, with Dominic being 6’7 with an 81’ reach, and Mansour sizing up at 6’1 with a 74’ reach, so with that said: The key to this fight for Breazeale will be to constantly throw his jab and to somehow keep Mansour off of him. Also, Dominic should mix up some of his punches, and not just throw the straight right hand, as it was extremely inaccurate against Kassi.


For Mansour, he needs to use his Tyson-like head movement to get inside while avoiding the big right hand, and dig into the body of Breazeale early on in the fight to keep the big man unsteady on his feet which may cause his hands to drop, and for Mansour to go for the knockout punch.


Prediction: Mansour by stoppage, later rounds


Dominic Breazeale has shown some promise as a prospect, but he has looked far too stiff and unable to avoid punches or cut off the ring, so I’m going with Mansour by late stoppage. I think Amir senses that his time in the ring may be up, and he will come out the aggressor this fight.


I do believe that Dominic has a solid chin, so he will take punishment from Mansour for the first few rounds, and might even win some rounds back towards the middle of the fight. But in the end, Mansour stops him late with a barrage of punches, too much experience, and too much power.


The Year of the Heavyweight is in full swing, with some of the best prospects of the division taking over this weekend looking to prove that they are ready for that next level.