A POUND-FOR-POUND TOP NIGHT OF BOXING
By Frank Warren
Forget, for now, all the shenanigans and posturing by the Eubanks over a date with middleweight great Gennady Golovkin and Kell Brook stepping up to the September plate, this Saturday another pucker pound-for-pound puncher will strut his stuff for the first time in the UK.
Guillermo Rigondeaux is a ring magician with more than a few tricks up his sleeve to keep the boxing fans who will flock to the Ice Arena in Cardiff captivated. The job of Jazza Dickens is to spoil the show and seize the spoils which, on this occasion, is the WBA super title.
It is quite a job the Liverpool favourite has got on his hands, but it is one the British super bantamweight champion is more than up for – and is supremely confident of accomplishing.
Jazza is a man of few words, but he means what he says and is not bluffing when he relays his belief in himself to overcome perhaps the greatest current champion of them all – a double Olympic gold medalist and probably the most avoided fighter on the planet.
Of course, this is take two for this particular match-up, one that we had booked in for Liverpool in March. The visa issues encountered by the Cuban must have proved a crushing disappointment for Jazza, but not that he let it show.
He is an uncomplicated individual and a pleasure to deal with. He adopts a ‘what is meant to be will be’ philosophy and firmly believed his time would come again.
Despite the fact that we all felt let down by the no-show in March, I was determined to resurrect the fight because it is one Jazza really wants and truly fancies it. Dino Duva from Roc Nation, a great old pro who has been around the game as long as me, also wanted to fulfil his side of the bargain and the fans in Cardiff have ended up with the golden ticket.
The experts and pundits are struggling to build a case for the challenger, but that doesn’t bother Jazza, he is convinced he has got what it takes and his team at the Everton Red Triangle have prepared meticulously.
It is impossible to identify a sparring partner to replicate the technical artistry of Rigondeaux, so what they have done is employ a collection of training partners in order to mirror the champion’s many strong points. They have covered all the bases and for Jazza it has been like the putting together the pieces of a Rigondeaux jigsaw.
There will have been no stone left unturned in preparation, but on Saturday he will be meeting Rigo for real and he will definitely have to execute his game-plan to perfection.
It won’t be me dishing out the instructions in the corner but, to my mind, you have to grab the initiative to have any chance of unravelling Rigondeaux. I am almost certain no-one can outbox him, so the key, I imagine, will be to create a real pace and make him work.
It will be fascinating to watch this one unfold and it is one of many tasty scraps on the Cardiff card. Most in the house will be there primarily to see if Liam Williams can withstand the challenge of the very game and dangerous Gary Corcoran for the British and Commonwealth super welterweight titles.
We are all going to see what Liam is made of. Does he punch as hard as Colin Jones did or possess the tenacity of Joe Calzaghe? He will need to because Gary is a tough cookie and is not coming to lie down. A victory for Liam, I believe, will begin his journey to becoming, in my opinion, the best fighter to come out of Wales since Calzaghe and, if Gary wins, you will simply have to take your hat off to him because he is going to be up against it.
Other top names keep busy and further progress their careers and wins for World Champion Terry Flanagan and future stars Tommy Langford, Bradley Skeete and Jamie Conlan, will see them take a big step forward in securing big fights in the new season.
It is going to be a long night and hopefully a memorable one with lots of quality match-ups. The football is done for now, Wimbledon is over for another year and I personally cannot wait to get stuck back into a night of top notch boxing.