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Guillermo Rigondeaux

Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of boxing's most explosive new stars

Weekend preview:
Pacquiao, Haye & Rigondeaux
are easy choices

Last week I was three for four picking the winners of the fights, and two for four with exact predictions (Guerrero, Lopez). I almost got the Matth

ysse decision my way, too, so not a bad week for picks at all. And for those who made money, can I expect my cheque in the mail as a thank you?

On to this week. Three notable fights on tap: Haye vs. Harrison, Rigondeaux vs. Cordoba, and of course, Pacquiao vs. Margarito.

Weíll start by going overseas for this all-British title fight. Haye has been known to have a questionable chin, and in his most-recent fight Audley Harrison won in the last round via an overhand right hand that laid out Michael Sprott. But letís face it: This is nothing but an easy defense for Haye that will result in a good payday. Harrisonís only prayer is to land a flush shot. Thatís about all he can do. Harrison isnít the type of fighter who uses his jab enough to rack up points on the scorecards, and canít take a great shot himself.  Haye should win by the sixth round. If not, thatís just a testament to how poor the heavyweight division is.

For those who havenít yet seen much of Guillermo Rigondeaux, YouTube him now! Considered to be the best amateur of all time, the Cuban has been pretty impressive in his young career, going 6-0 (5 KOs). He can dominate opponents from pillar to post. In Cordoba, heís fighting the last guy to beat Celestino Caballero. Cordoba is young at 27, while Rigondeaux is surprisingly the older fighter at 30. A stern test, for sure, for the Cuban. Should he win, Rigondeaux can chase the bigger names and bigger dollars at 126, where Lopez, Gamboa, Caballero and Chris John are campaigning. Expect him to break Cordoba down and stop him late, somewhere between the ninth and 11th.

As horrible as this fight is on so many levels (Margaritoís hand wrap controversy, the catch weight of 151 pounds for a 154 pound title), itís still intriguing and should be entertaining. And after the struggling year boxing has had, some entertainment will satisfy the fans for a night. Despite the apparent and well publicized distractions that Pacquiao has endured during this training camp, I simply donít think he would be entering this fight at anything less than 100 percent. Freddie Roach would not go public stating that his camp is falling apart if it really was. Also, theyíre now saying Manny is good to go for the fight and is looking impressive during training sessions. While the worry remains that the job of a congressman will steal Manny away from boxing, he is a professional if there ever was one. He wonít go into a major fight without being at his best, especially with Alex Ariza and Freddie Roach in his camp.
Margarito seems to have trained pretty well, but Iíve been watching the 24/7 HBO episodes and to me it looks like the final few pounds will be a battle for Margarito to lose. His weight on the third episode of the series was 154 pounds and Margarito looked pretty trim -- a little too trim. If he peaked early, itíll show up during the fight.
Itís hard to go against Manny, and I wonít. Heís too quick, skilled and most importantly, heís a very smart fighter. I donít think heíll get the knockout because, contrary to what his camp is saying, Manny probably wonít trade with the bigger Margarito. Heíll use his skills, box, and move in and out using angles to hit Antonio.
Iíll take Manny via comfortable decision.
Another decent night for fight fans. For the Pacquiao-Margarito ticket holders, itís good to know thereíll be at least a few fans walking out being satisfied with the result of the event. Obviously, fans walking out of Cowboy Stadium content nowadays is a rarity.


More columns
by Rizwaan Zahid:

Fighter of the year candidates for 2010

A disappointing year isn't over yet; exciting fights loom

Cunningham's thumb, not his fist, ended fight with Troy Ross

The search for boxing's next 'star'

Monte Barrett: The career of a dedicated fighter

Allan Green was not Super Six material

The mess at junior welterweight

Khan & Ortiz figure to beat savvy vets

Haye and Adamek: A report card after 3 fights

Joan Guzman: Best welterweight in the lightweight division

Devon Alexander/Female Boxing

Impressive U.S. debut for Campillo

Williams ready to punish at 147

Happy birthday, Champ!

Stars to Shine in 2010

The Grinches steal Christmas

Malignaggi-Diaz showed why instant replay is needed

Williams, Martinez show why they're avoided

Lucian Bute impresses America, and the world

James Kirkland: So promising, yet so wasteful

Suspension for foul language? That's bull$#:+!!!

Pacquiao-Cotto: Who wins?

Super Six Will Still Have Controversies

Haye, Angulo proved little

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Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Rizwaan Zahid is a recent graduate from Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication Program, and is currently pursuing his aspiration of becoming a professional sports journalist.
Although relatively young, Rizwaan has shown his passion of writing the beautiful sport of boxing and has worked with Bragging Rights Corner, Boxing Banter, Diamond Boxing,
Fightfan.com, East Side Boxing as well as The Fight Network for over three years. With Fightfan.com, Rizwaan has been awarded the feature article of the month numerous times.
Over these past few years, Rizwaan has interviewed and conducted conferences with fighters and trainers such as Jeff Mayweather, Jermaine Taylor, Kelly Pavlik, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr., Jackie Kallen, Wayne McCullough, Manny Pacquaio, Wladimir Klitsckho and Emmanuel Steward.
  Rizwaan still has a strong passion for many other sports and has covered various sports in The Charlatan, Carleton University's newspaper. Rizwaan has also worked with PHASE 1 Basketball, a camp based out of Toronto which is a showcase for the best basketball Canada has to offer on various levels, as well as the Out of Left Field blog which attracts numerous readers daily.
Rizwaan Zahid hopes to continue his efforts in journalism in the world of sports.

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