Photos by Sumio Yamada
TERRANCE CAUTHEN vs DANTE CRAIG
Popular Joey Gilbert from The Contender series is the main event attraction but the fight that interests me on Joe DeGuardias show is the 12-rounder between Terrance Cauthen and late substitute Dante Craig for the vacant USBA junior middleweight title.
Each absolutely must win this fight if they are to move forward.
Cauthen, 30, was the U.S. lightweight representative in the 1996 Olympics, winning a bronze medal, but with his cautious, counter-punching, southpaw style he never attracted much attention as a professional.
Craig, 28, boxed in the 2000 Olympics, losing to a Turkish boxer in his second bout in the welter division.
I thought it might be all over for Cauthen when the much stronger Teddy Reid battered him in four rounds. That was seven years ago. He has had some good, if low-profile, wins since then but he was knocked down in losing a split decision to the Dominican Dairo Esalas and then he clutched for survival in a scrambling points defeat against Paul Williams although going the distance with the towering southpaw now does not look too bad a performance after seeing what Williams did to Walter Matthysse and Sharmba Mitchell.
Craig, the taller, naturally bigger man, is a boxer-puncher type but, to put it kindly, has not shown a very reliable chin. He has been stopped in three of his four losses and he has been knocked down in a couple of other bouts including his last fight. He even got wobbled before stopping the 33-year-old Purcell Miller in two rounds last March and Miller was having only his second bout after being inactive for five years.
The good thing from Craigs point of view is that he is not meeting a seriously hard hitter in Cauthen (just eight opponents stopped in a 31-3 record). But then, Cauthen might not have to be a banger to get Craig in trouble a sharp, accurate hook or left hand could do it.
Cauthen is boxing well at the moment, having put together five wins in a row. He has boxed as a 154-pounder for the past year, outpointing the former world-class amateur Nurhan Suleyman in his last fight, although I would have thought that welterweight was the best weight for Cauthen, who has never had a particularly strong look.
In this fight Cauthen is going to have to do what he does best, moving, trying to make the taller man miss, countering, perhaps doing a punch-and-clinch routine, anything to take Craig out of his stride and stop him from getting set to punch.
Craig, too, is on a nice unbeaten run and he can certainly hit, with 13 opponents halted in his 17 wins. He had probably his finest win when stopping the seasoned if fading southpaw Carl Daniels in the 10th round in June but hitting Cauthen is never easy.
Cauthen could simply be too crafty and too cute for Craig, and I make him the favourite. If Craig fights at a fast pace, keeps punching and does not get disheartened at being made to miss, he can win. Despite the chin question mark, I have a slight lean towards Craig.