The 'Russian Mike Tyson' moves ever closer to a Klitschko fight
Much touted Russian slugger Denis Boytsov faces by far the toughest test of his career when he takes on former contender Dominick Guinn of the United States at the Lanxess-Arena in Cologne, Germany on Friday night. Boytsov is considered by many experts to be the heir-apartment to Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko - the giant Ukrainian brothers who hold all four major belts between them. The German based Russian has been carefully managed, and until now his promoters Universum had seemed in no hurry to match their charge with either brother. Guinn, who exposed Audley Harrison's limitations in a 2006 fight, is something of an underachiever, and once made the cover of Ring Magazine as one of the brightest heavyweight prospects in the world – along with Audley Harrison!
36 year old Dominick Guinn (33-8-1, 22 KOs) from Houston, Texas stands 6'3'' and usually scales between 225 – 230 lbs. He would have been considered a big heavyweight 20 years ago, but based on the size of the Klitschko brothers plus contenders like Robert Helenius, Tyson Fury, Alexander Dimitrenko and prospects David Price, Mariusz Wach and Deontay Wilder who all stand more than 6'6'' and scale around 250 lbs (except for Wilder, who often scales less than 220 lbs), Guinn must now be considered a relatively small heavyweight. He will still have a slight size advantage over the 6'1'' Boytsov who has scaled just 213 lbs in his last two bouts.
A former gang member who served jail time in the mid-90's, Guinn had a stellar amateur career and won two National Golden Gloves titles on the way to compiling a 290-26 amateur record. Turning pro in June 2000, Guinn went 24-0 with good wins over Michael Grant (TKO 7) and Duncan Dokiwari (W 10) before losing for the first time in March 2004 on a split decision to the talented but erratic future world title challenger Monte Barrett.
Guinn bounced back with a one round blast out of former contender Phil Jackson, but then lost again – to Belorussian future WBO world champion Siarhei Liakhovich via a close but unanimous decision. It was the beginning of a slump in form that saw Guinn win just once in five fights – also losing to James Toney and Tony Thompson and drawing with Friday Ahunanya. Ironically, his sole win in that stretch was arguably the best of his career – a ten round decision over Britain's 2000 super heavyweight Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison in April 2006.
After two wins over moderate opposition, Guinn was thrashed on points by Eddie Chambers in May 2007, losing every round. When he was subsequently well beaten by journeyman Robert Hawkins in his next fight, Guinn's time as a serious contender was effectively over.
Between 2008 and 2010 Guinn strung together five straight wins, including quick KOs over prospects Jean Francois Bergeron (KO 2) and Johnnie White (KO1), but he has since been comprehensively outpointed by unbeaten stars Kubrat Pulev and Amir Mansour, barely winning a round in either bout.
At 36, Guinn is in danger of slipping into the role of top-quality trail horse. It will be interesting to see how much desire he has left on Friday, and how he approaches his fight against the heavy hitting Boytsov.
26 year old Denis Boytsov (30-0, 25 KOs) has been touted as the heavyweight division's ''Next Big Thing'' for some time now. I wrote an article three years ago for Bettingpro entitled ''Remmember the name: Denis Boytsov'', and at that time he was already ranked in the top-five by three of the four main governing bodies.
Since then, Boytsov's progress has been minimal, although he has remained unbeaten, scoring just four knockout wins in the last 28 months against average opposition, most recently a fourth round KO over Darnell ''Ding-A-Ling Man'' Wilson. He is currently ranked 2nd by the WBC, 3rd by the WBO, 4th by the WBA and 5th by the IBF.
In a recent Q & A with fans on Sportbox.Ru Boytsov said:
''I don’t want to say anything bad about the Klitschkos. They reached the highest level and proved that they are the strongest. But they spoil the heavyweight division by their perfection, making it less colorful. At the same time, the brothers pick up only those rivals who are very convenient for their boxing style and career growth.''
Boytsov also spoke of his desire to fight Vitali Klitschko before the 40 year old retires.
''It would be more interesting for me to fight with the eldest of the brothers (WBC champ Vitali). I think he'll have another bout or two and then quit boxing. Although it would have been easier to fight against the younger of the Klitschkos (WBA/IBF/WBO title holder Wladimir). Vitali has a very unpredictable style and he throws his punches in an unusual manner, while Wladimir is more about technique. It’s easier to find the right tactics against such fighters.''
Boytsov hopes to fight in the US in 2012, but doubted it would happen.
''My managers promise to organize fights in the US in the near future, but at the moment I’m not sure whether they will be able to reach an agreement with the Americans. My management are deliberately pushing me in the rankings, in which I already occupy a high spot. I think that by the end of the year you can see me fighting for the championship.''
With his exciting, aggressive Tyson-esque style, Boytsov remains one of the more compelling fighters in the heavyweight division. His decision to drop weight in his last two fights (he had been competing in excess of 220 lbs) is no doubt done to improve speed and stamina, though how he would cope in a mauling fight with Chris Arreola or Dereck Chisora at 213 lbs remains to be seen.
Boytsov will have too much of everything for Guinn on Friday. The American's languid, relaxed style will see him out-hustled and out-punched by Boytsov from the opening bell. Guinn has a great chin and excellent defence, so it will be a major achievement if the Russian can become the first man to stop him. However, I feel he will do just that, and I see Boytsov making his breakthrough in the eighth round, where a barrage of hard shots will stop Guinn, and may just send him into retirement.
Boytsov by TKO in eight.
Fight Odds: Denis Boytsov 1/20, Dominick Guinn 15/2 bet365