Kubrat Pulev vs Kevin Johnson Preview April 28th
Veteran Kevin Johnson of America will be challenging Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria for his WBA Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship this Friday, April 28th at the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria. Johnson was last in the ring on March 11th when he beat Jamal Woods by a six-round unanimous decision. Pulev’s last outing was in December when he stopped former WBC World Champions Samuel Peter after three rounds. It was Pulev’s first pro fight in his homeland.
Pulev vs Johnson Odds
Here are the winner odds from online sportsbook 5dimes.eu
- Kevin Johnson +3000
- Kubrat Pulev -7500
The 37-year-old Johnson, who hails from Asbury Park, New Jersey has become somewhat of a regular performer over in Europe over the past few years. He was beaten by Tor Hamer in the final of the Prizefighter tournament in 2012 and then dropped a lackluster 12-round decision to Britain’s Tyson Fury later the same year. He’s also been beaten by Christian Hammer, Dereck Chisora, Manuel Charr, Anthony Joshua and Vitali Klitschko while fighting in Europe.
In fact all seven of Johnson’s pro losses have been on the other side of the Atlantic as he enters the bout with a record of 30-7-1 with 14 Kos. He’s been stopped just once, and that was by Joshua in the second round of their contest in May of 2015. Johnson had lost six of seven fights and four in a row before snapping the skid against Woods last month. It’s safe to say Johnson’s best days are behind him and he’s now used as a ‘name’ opponent.
While Johnson is usually in decent physical shape he’s not always ready to fight and can go 12 rounds without throwing much leather at all. He’s a good defensive boxer, but has to throw punches to win. He has a good chin and that’s one of his strongest points. Vitali Klitschko shut him out over 12 rounds in a title fight in 2009 as Johnson was worrying too much about defense. He didn’t learn his lesson though as he fought the same way against Fury in 2012 and lost by a wide decision.
Johnson stands 6-feet-3-inches tall with an 82-inch reach and has plenty of experience with 235 rounds under his belt since turning pro in 2003. He needs to utilize his jab and keep the taller Pulev at bay here because Johnson doesn’t have much in the way of power with a current knockout percentage of just 37 per cent. Sooner or later he’s going to have to throw some power punches to keep the Bulgarian off of him though. Basically, Johnson needs to show up to fight not just to last the distance.
The 35-year-old Pulev has won four straight fights since being stopped by Wladimir Klitschko in the fifth round of their meeting in November of 2014, which has been his only career loss as a pro. Pulev’s a former Olympian and had a fine amateur career who owns a record of 24-1 with 13 Kos to his name. He turned pro in 2009 and has fought 162 rounds so far. Pulev isn’t a knockout artist by any means and has a current knockout ratio of 52 per cent, but almost any heavyweight can end a fight with one perfect punch.
Pulev has a slight height advantage as he stands just over 6-feet-4-inches tall, but has a two-inch shorter reach at 80 inches. Most North American fans may not know much about him, but he stopped Alexander Dimitrenko in 11 rounds in May of 2012 for the European title and then stopped Alexander Ustinov in the same round four months later. He also beat the ageing Tony Thompson by a unanimous decision in 2013 and stopped Joey Abell the same year.
Pulev also has wins over the likes of Peter, Michael Sprott, Dominick Guinn, Derric Rossy, Matt Skelton and Zack Page. Pulev has good boxing skills and understands the importance of distance and timing, but needs to be wary of Johnson’s boxing skills even if they are fading.
At this stage of their careers and with Pulev fighting in his hometown I’ll be going with him by decision or late stoppage.
Pulev should be too good for Johnson at this point.
Play: Pulev-7500 @ 5dimes.eu
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