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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Heyman-Krasniqi Preview

Max Heyman faces light heavyweight contender Robin Krasniqi at Maritim Hotel in Magdeburg, Germany on Friday. Heyman will fight in Europe for the first time in his career and is the clear underdog in this contest. He is essentially a veteran opponent brought in by Krasniqi's handlers to allow their man to look impressive. But Heyman intends to write his own narrative.

Krasniqi (38-2, 14 KOs), a 25-year old ethnic-Albanian born in Kosovo, has not lost since a 2006 defeat in his third professional bout to a winless fighter. He now resides in Munich, Germany and has fought all 40 of his contests in his adoptive home country. A win would likely land him a fight with WBO light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly, according to Scott Gilfoid of BoxingNews24.com (Incidentally, Jewish light heavyweight contender Isaac Chilemba has publicly challenged Cleverly, but the beltholder hasn't yet shown interest in accepting).

Krasniqi is an athletic mover with fast hands. His primary weapon is his right hand, particularly the uppercut. In his last fight in August, he floored the undefeated Serdar Sahin with that right uppercut twice, winning by fourth round TKO. In his previous fight, Krasniqi unloaded a series of overhand rights against Hakim Zoulikha in the twelfth, before the referee became tired of watching the beating and waved off the contest.

A cocky kid with quick hands, Krasniqi often keeps his guard low. That leaves him susceptible to an overhand right if he pulls straight back or a counter right if he sits in the pocket and admires his last punch too long. Those two options will be the best hopes for Heyman (25-11-4, 14 KOs). Both Sahim and Zoulikha, who are not the most skilled fighters, were able to tag Krasniqi repeatedly with overhand rights. Heyman, a 33-year old New Mexico-native, will need to improve upon his recent defensive performances in order to land those big rights against his younger, slightly taller opponent. The hand injuries that have recently plagued Heyman are another potential aspect of this fight.

"Mad" Max has fought the better competition in his career, but not recently. In his last fight, Heyman decisioned journeyman Chris Thomas on September 22, his only fight in the past two years. Of this next bout, Heyman said, "Robin Krasniqi is a young, strong boxer. I was well informed about him. This is a tough fight and I have to do my best."

The matchup is scheduled for twelve rounds and is for a minor belt.

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