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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nakash-Del Valle Preview

Ran Nakash is scheduled to take on Lou Del Valle in a cruiserweight affair at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on August 27. Del Valle is a former beltholder and a seasoned veteran of the game. He was the first man to knock down Roy Jones Jr. as a pro. Yet, at 43 years old, Del Valle must be considered a heavy underdog against Nakash, a recent title challenger.

Del Valle, nicknamed Honey Boy, was 22-0 when he faced Virgil Hill for a light heavyweight belt in 1996. Del Valle lost by slim unanimous decision. The next year, Honey Boy won a vacant world title by besting Eddy Smulders. He faced Jones a year later, and legitimately knocked down the world's pound-for-pound best in the eighth round. The eighth was the only round he took, falling by UD in the title unification bout.

Del Valle's career has pretty much petered out since. He's 1-3-1 in his last five fights, a stretch that dates back to 2006. He last fought on October 31, 2009, a draw with Joe Spina. Del Valle is currently 36-6-2 with 22 KOs.

The Long Island-native is a slick southpaw and an effective defensive fighter. He has never been stopped. Del Valle will have to keep the hard-charging Nakash off balance to avoid punishment. Counter-intuitively, the 43-year old will want to take the Israeli bruiser into the late rounds as Nakash has had issues with his stamina. But can the 19-year pro maintain a pace that will wear down the 33-year old Nakash? That is Del Valle's dilemma.

Nakash (25-1, 18 KOs) challenged beltholder Marco Huck on short notice in April. Nakash seemed to control the first half of the fight. By the ninth round, he was exhausted. Yet, unable to mount an effective offensive attack and receiving wounding blows from Huck, Nakash amazingly continued to push forward, displaying a tremendous amount of will and heart. Huck was awarded the UD in his adopted home country of Germany.

Last year, Nakash went ten rounds against Victor Barragan and admitted that fighting that many stanzas "was hard." He has only seen the eighth round three times in his career (including his last two fights). With Del Valle's defensive ability and sturdy chin, Nakash will need to exhibit better stamina in the scheduled twelve-round affair.

Even if Nakash isn't able to become the first man to stop Del Valle, he will likely win by way of sheer activity and aggressiveness. Nakash is a pressure fighter, who enjoys tagging his opponent's body. Del Valle is a boxer, a cutie, who doesn't move as he used to. He possesses a good jab, but most of his damaging blows come from the left.

Unless Del Valle's southpaw stance poses a sincere problem for Nakash or Ran runs out of gas, Nakash should add another victory to his resume. A win that will hopefully lead to another important match against a world class foe.

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