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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Brooks-Dargan Preview

Michael "Lefty" Brooks takes on Karl Dargan on Saturday at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. Heading into the bout, Dargan must be considered the favorite. These two men were scheduled to fight in August, but Dargan backed out of that one.

Dargan (13-0, 7 KOs) is a fast-handed counterpuncher from Philadelphia. When not in the pocket looking for a counter, the former amateur standout is able to box effectively from the outside. Nicknamed "Dynamite," Dargan was a sparring partner for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez when the Mexican champion was preparing to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. this past September. It was a good choice by Canelo's camp because Dargan utilizes the same shoulder roll defense as Mayweather.

Dargan is three inches taller than Brooks, has faster hands, a more notable amateur pedigree, and a more renowned trainer- his uncle Nazim Richardson. Describing himself, he told The Ring this autumn, "I have good defense, great reflexes, good hand speed, good ring generalship, and a good knowledge [of] the game." Dargan's two best punches are the counter left hook and the straight right; both are effective against southpaws. In addition, Dargan is relatively experienced against southpaws in his young career.

Brooks (10-0-1, 2 KOs) is two years younger than Dargan and has been more active of late. Brooks last fought in August while Dargan hasn't fought since March. Brooks can box or stalk and has good power to the body. Both men have a similar reach.

Dargan will want to box from the outside and counter when Brooks comes into punching range. That will allow him to use his hand speed advantage. When Dargan has fought on the inside, he's been less successful, so Lefty's plan will be to come forward and cut off the ring.

Getting to the inside will be a challenge for Brooks. If he jabs in, he opens himself up to Dargan's left hook. If he barrels his way in, Dargan will pick him apart with the straight right. Brooks will have to eat punches either way in order to get inside. Once there, Lefty will want to attack Dargan's body. Not only is a body assault Michael's best weapon, but it will slow Dargan down in the later rounds.

This fight will likely go to the cards. If Dargan can stick and move, he'll cruise to an easy decision. If Brooks can continuously throw combinations on the inside, he'll have a chance to pull off the upset. Dargan can score a knockout with a well-timed counter as Brooks rushes in. The best chance for Brooks to stop Dargan is with a liver shot.

The bout can be seen at 2:30pm eastern time on NBC in the United States (NBC, not NBCSports the cable channel). It is scheduled for ten rounds. Dargan has never fought beyond the sixth round; Brooks has fought one eight rounder, in scorching heat, and he stayed strong throughout that fight.

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