A Pay-Per-View event is a lot like a 5-course meal. The mains are the real reason you splashed your cash, but it never hurts if the other 4 meals are just as enticingly delicious as the main course.
In the case of this Saturday’s Box Office attraction, Gennady Golovkin vs Kell Brook is the pièce de résistance, while the entrée is highlighted with two more world title fights and a total of 4 championship distance contests.
Lee Haskins 33-3(14KO’s) will meet bitter rival Stuart Hall for the second time in a prizefight.
This time the Bristol fighter comes in as a world champion, as he wears the IBF Bantamweight title that once belonged to Hall.
Hall 20-4-2(7KO’s) believes he is the one to have improved the greater since the pair met in 2012.
The vacant European Bantamweight title was at stake that night, where Haskins’ better boxing skills helped him to a wide unanimous decision win.
A lot has happened in the space of 4 years. Hall has contested 4 world title fights, with a combined record of 1 win, 1 draw and two defeats. The two reverses are the most recent on his resume.
He initially lost his title via split decision in Newcastle to fellow Brit, Paul Butler. Then after Butler vacated the crown, Hall got a second crack at it, losing against Randy Caballero in Monaco, this time a unanimous loss.
Haskins never had the opportunity to relieve Caballero of his title.
The former champion weighed heavily over the limit for their world championship bout and the fight was off, Haskins was the new IBF champion of the world. A comprehensive win over Ivan Morales in May confirmed the feat in Cardiff.
(The pair almost came to blows in the final press conference this week – Credit: EJ BOXING LIVE Youtube)
Haskins is an extremely tricky operator, and despite more contests under his belt, may be the fresher of the two. Hall is 4 years the senior of Haskins, making his path to the boxing ring after living a care-free but hectic lifestyle in Ibiza.
But while the rangy Hall has never been stopped, Haskins has been halted in all three of his defeats.
Stoppages at the hands of Tshifhiwa Munyai and Ian Napa came early in his career at Commonwealth and British level respectively, while he was also halted in 2012 by Belgium’s Stephane Jamoye.
Hall can take heart from that, but in spite of his aggressive style and high punch output, he is not a big puncher, and he has already seen just how hard Haskins can be to catch clean.
But with his herky-jerky style, Haskins can be vulnerable with his hands down by his sides, and if Hall can rack up enough clean blows round-by-round, he could find that his aggression will earn him more credit from the IBF’s sanctioned judges.
Hall’s obvious dislike for Haskins may prove his undoing on the night. Unable to keep a lid on his emotions could see Haskins seep out to a healthy lead by the halfway mark of the fight.
Hall will drag himself back into the contest in the final 6 rounds, but will narrowly lose, dropping a split decision in a fight that will have ringside observers divided in their scoring of a thrilling contest.
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