Miguel Vazquez vs Denis Shafikov February 22
Miguel Vazquez of Mexico will defend his IBF lightweight title against undefeated Denis Shafikov of Russia this Saturday evening February 22 in Macau, China. The fight can be caught live in North America on HBO at 5pm EST. Vazquez enters the bout with a record of 33-3 with 13 Kos while Shafikov sports a mark of 33-0-1 along with 18 Kos.
Vazquez may not be a hard-hitting power puncher as we can see by just 13 Kos in 36 contests, but he’s one of the hottest boxers out there at the moment. He’s won 12 consecutive fights and has successfully defended his crown five times so far. He stands 5-feet-10-inches tall so usually has a height advantage on most opponents. In fact, he’s got five inches on Shafikov. Combined with his boxing skills and counter punching ability, he’s usually able to keep his opponents at a distance and box his way to decisions. He may not be the most exciting boxer around, but he gets the job done.
The 28-year-old Shafikov has a bit more power than Vasquez and is an equally good boxer, so he could have a bit of an advantage here. The Russian challenger is a southpaw and also has a more appealing style for the fans. Vazquez knows he’s got a tough fight on his hands and will be a long way from home with a neutral crowd in the arena. He said he’s confident his skills will see him through the title defense though, no matter where the bout is held.
The 27-year-old Vazquez doesn’t want to get into a firefight though and will need to use the same tactics that have worked for him up until now. Shafikov’s style is quite contrasting from Vazquez’s and this could make for an entertaining showdown. The Russian likes to apply the pressure and get off first. He’s also got a pretty solid chin. He earned a shot at Vazquez’s title by stopping Santos Benavides in the seventh round last summer.
Shafikov’s definitely taking a step up in class with this fight. Vazquez’s three losses have all come be decisions and these were two losses to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and one to Timothy Bradley. Vazquez actually dropped a four-round split decision to Alvarez in his pro debut back in 2006. He then lost a 10-round unanimous decision to Bradley in 2007 and Alvarez got the better of Vazquez again over 10 rounds in 2008.
Vazquez is a very underrated boxer and isn’t too well known by the average fan because of his style. But it’s been working for him and the purists appreciate it. He’s a skilled boxer with a better-than-average chin and with the height advantage he should be able to keep Shafikov at bay most of the night. Shafikov will be on him like a pit-bull though, making this a hard fight to predict. When it’s over though, look for Vazquez to keep the belt by a decision.
Sportsbook 5dimes.eu has the latest odds on all of the big fights with a Vasquez win being listed at -115 and a Shafikov victory at -105. Visit 5Dimes.eu to see up to date odds and to bet on this fight. You should also check out our recent boxing betting predictions to see how we’ve done of late capping the fights.