Photos by Sumio Yamada
MAXIM VLASOV vs JERSON RAVELO
Russian prospect Maxim Vlasov meets, on paper at least, his sternest test when he faces substitute Jerson Ravelo in a 10-rounder in the super middleweight division on Friday Night Fights.
Ravelo is 3-3 in his last six fights, but the 32-year-old usually loses only to world-class fighters.
Form points to the unbeaten Vlasov: he outpointed the solid and under-appreciated Don Mouton, whereas Mouton stopped Ravelo in the final round of an eight-rounder. Ravelo was in front on two scorecards in the fight with Mouton, however.
Vlasov, 23, showed some substance in his win over Mouton. The tall and rangy Russian was cut over the left eye early in the fight and seemed to have been shaken several times, but Vlasov kept his composure, used his height and reach to box nicely on the outside and towards the end of the fight was backing up Mouton and outworking him.
I liked Vlasovs grit and determination. He knew the fight with Mouton was probably close on the cards and he made sure he finished strongly, taking the fight to his opponent and pouring in the punches for a well-earned win.
Ravelo is an impressively muscled fighter who boxed for the Dominican Republic in the Olympics and won a national Golden Gloves title. However, Ravelo was revealed to be something of a front runner when Mexican southpaw David Lopez stopped him in an upset six years ago he looks good when hes on top but seems inclined to falter when under pressure.
I make Vlasov a clear favourite, but this could turn out to be an interesting and competitive fight. Ravelo doesnt have very good punch-resistance, but Vlasov isnt what you could call a seriously hard hitter the opponents he has stopped were for the most part there to be stopped, while Julius Fogle went down so easily in the first round it was embarrassing. Ravelo does have ability, and he can be dangerous, especially early in a fight (eight first-round KO wins). If Vlasov cant hurt Ravelo significantly, he will, I believe, have a fight on his hands.
Still, I have to go with Vlasov here. I think he can box well enough to score points at long range and fight well enough to have an advantage up close. The Russian boxers workrate will, I think, be too much for Ravelo, but I dont make this an easy fight for Vlasov and I wouldnt be surprised to see him have to fight through some rough spots.