Photos by Sumio Yamada
JASON BOOTH vs MARK MORAN
Fighters originally scheduled to meet different opponents now face each other on Britains Sky Sports on Friday when veteran Jason Booth moves up in weight to box for the vacant British super bantam title against Mark Moran.
Booth, 31, from Nottingham in the English midlands, holds the Commonwealth bantam title and brings a wealth of experience that includes 14 title fights in a 36-bout career.
Moran, a 27-year-old southpaw from Liverpool, is unbeaten in 12 bouts but has only once gone past the sixth round.
This is clearly a massive step up in class for Moran. He is the bigger man, though, having boxed at super bantamweight throughout his career with even a couple of contests at featherweight, whereas Booth turned pro as a flyweight.
Booth has been boxing with skill and enthusiasm lately and seems to be at the top of his form. He outclassed a durable Ghanaian named Lante Addy with a delightful display of boxing in March of last year, and in his last fight he punched strongly to the body in a wearing-down stoppage win over the southpaw Sean Hughes. Booth, who calls himself 2 Smooth, has boxed for European, British, Commonwealth and IBO titles in a 13-year career and he has been in the ring with a very respectable standard of opposition.
There was a difficult passage in Booths life due to a drinking problem, but he pulled himself together, rededicated himself to his ring career, and is boxing as well as he has ever done.
Moran cannot come close to matching Booth for seasoning, but he was a good-quality amateur, winning a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games. From what I can gather, Moran is quite an aggressive boxer-fighter type but one who can be a bit open to right hands. He had a tough fight with a more experienced boxer named Danny Wallace, and seemed to be wilting in the middle rounds, but he rallied to floor Wallace and overwhelm him in the ninth round.
That fight showed that Moran can battle back from adversity and that he has the stamina to come on strongly in the later stages of a fight.
On paper, Booth will be too classy and simply know too much for Moran, and it could turn out that way. Morans apparent size and strength advantages even things up a bit, though.
I think Booth has to be considered the clear favourite, but I give Moran a good chance. The problem is that Moran will have to give the performance of his life to win box out of his skin as they say in Britain. Im expecting a Booth win on points, but I dont think it will be easy for him, and Moran just might come into the live underdog category.