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Friday, January 6, 2023

Cletus Seldin to Fight Reshat Mati at MSG

Junior welterweight Cletus "Hebrew Hammer" Seldin is scheduled to face Reshat "The Albanian Bear" Mati in a ten-round fight at Madison Square Garden, in New York, New York, USA on Saturday, February 4. While Seldin is a step up for the undefeated Mati, this is a crossroads fight for Cletus.

A 36 year old from Long Island, New York, Seldin is an eleven-year pro with a record of 26-1 and 22 KOs. He possesses a wrecking ball overhand right but has been inactive in recent years. In the past 35 months, he has fought only once. While Seldin has registered six first-round KOs and four second-round KOs, he can be outboxed.

In 2017, Yves Ulysses Jr. did just that on route to scoring three knockdowns and winning a wide unanimous decision. In Seldin's last fight, which was 15 months ago, William Silva used purposeful movement to lure Cletus into his punches for the first four rounds before Seldin switched tactics. In the seventh, Seldin scored a stunning knockout with two overhand rights.

Mati (13-0, 7 KOs), a 24 year old from Staten Island, New York, has the skills and speed to outbox Seldin, but he may not possess the necessary temperament or in-ring discipline to do so. Though Mati has faced some guys with good records, Seldin signifies his toughest opponent to date by far. Reshat's hands and feet are fast. His lefts, in the form of a jab and left hooks to the head and body, are his best punches. He typically lands one flashy shot at a time, which is why his last four fights have gone the distance. Mati keeps his left low and is susceptible to the overhand right.

When at his best, the Albanian Bear is able to maintain distance with precise footwork. His hands are faster than Seldin's, so if he keeps distance and uses his jab regularly, he should coast to a wide unanimous decision victory. But Mati, who has been ten rounds only once, hasn't shown he can stay poised. He seems to get frustrated easily. Against an overmatched Vladyslav Baranov in '21, Mati became disgusted by Baranov's movement. Mati fought with his hands down in stretches, a recipe for disaster against the Hebrew Hammer.

Mati often taunts his opponents, which shows he can be distracted. Whenever fouled, he emphatically complains instead of focusing on his opponent. In his last fight, he impressively outboxed Eduardo Rodriguez in Mexico City until the middle rounds when Mati complained of altitude sickness. He got hit often down the stretch but managed to crawl to a lackluster unanimous decision win.

Mati has a three-inch height advantage, a 12-year age advantage, and has been the far more active fighter. Since March 1, 2020, Mati has fought seven times while Seldin has fought once. Mati is the naturally bigger man. He's only made 140 pounds once while Cletus has made the weight in eight of his last 13 bouts. Since this is for Seldin's NABA 140-pound title, trimming down to junior welter could drain Mati. Seldin should have the advantage if it goes to the later rounds; he's a fitness freak who has gone past eight rounds four times to Mati's once. Cletus has twice the experience in terms of professional rounds as the Bear.

Seldin will want to make it a rough fight to disrupt Mati's game plan, which happens to be the way Cletus fights anyway. If Mati can maintain discipline and distance for thirty minutes, it'll show meaningful improvement. He might look very good early, but based on his past performances, he's likely to slip up mentally, and he's never faced anything like Seldin's hammer.

This fight really only has two likely outcomes: Mati boxing his way to a wide unanimous decision or  Seldin by devastating knockout. If boxing ability were the only criterion, Mati should be the favorite, but since the mental aspects of the sport must be considered, Seldin by KO is the way it'll go. 

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