Predictions: Taylor vs. Lacy, Haye vs. Barrett

The Franchise says...

Much has been made about the fact that Jermain Taylor and Jeff Lacy, who will face each other Saturday night in Nashville, are buddies dating back from the time when they roomed together as Olympic teammates. Normally, that would cause some concern that they might not go at each other tooth and nail, that they may hold back a little.

But things are a little different for this particular pair of friends turned foes because the stakes are so high. The loser won't necessarily fade into obscurity, but he will face a severe uphill climb to get back in the limelight again.

The powerful Lacy was once one of the sport's next big things, but that ended when he was completely outclassed by Joe Calzaghe in March of 2006. Though he's since gone 3-0, none of the wins were knockouts and both Vitali Tsypko and Epifanio Mendoza gave him all he could handle.

Taylor's career took a wrong turn when he couldn't put Kelly Pavlik away early in their first fight and ended up getting knocked out a few rounds later. He boxed well in their rematch but still lost, and he's now been off for nine months for the first time in his career.

Assuming the inactivity doesn't slow Taylor too much, he should be able to give Lacy fits with his movement and boxing skills. He certainly has the defensive edge, and while he won't be throwing as many punches as Calzaghe did, he probably hits harder.

Lacy's best bet is to lay it all out there and hope he can set up something big, and preferably early in the fight because he faded late against Mendoza. Otherwise he runs the risk of getting outboxed over 12 rounds, which is what I think will happen as Taylor wins by decision.

Across the pond (does anyone actually say that in real life?), David Haye will make his long-awaited heavyweight debut against an opponent who's no stiff, Monte Barrett. Two Gunz has been in against a few current and former champs, including Wladimir Klitschko, Hasim Rahman and Nikolay Valuev.

It should be noted that he lost to all of them. My brother Uatu pointed out in his last post that Barrett will give Haye a true taste of what it's like to be hit by a heavyweight. If Haye can pass that test, I think he'll prove to have the sharper , quicker punches, with power that translates to the heavyweight division.

The biggest surprise to me would be if this one goes the distance. During the early rounds, we'll find out that either Haye is a pretender at heavyweight, or Barrett is outgunned. I'm betting it's the latter, so my pick is Haye by early to mid-round KO.

Uatu says...

Jeff Lacy has not looked impressive, other than sporting the greatest physique in boxing, in years now. Jermain Taylor has been fighting a who's who of the greatest fighters of the era: Hopkins twice, Pavlik twice and Winky Wright, plus you can toss in other decent names like Cory Spinks, Raul Marquez and Kassim Ouma. Everyone remembers the Lacy-Calzaghe fight, but despite that fight, Taylor has always been in tougher and more frequently than Lacy. Lacy hasn't been as active against tough competition, and then he had the unfortunate injury that set him back even further. Lacy won't be much bigger, and the only way he can win is to land a huge punch. Uatu doesn't think that he will. Taylor will win by convincing decision.

Barrett will keep it worth watching for a while. He will get knocked down, will get up, and will keep on trying. Haye will eventually wear him out, and will win by KO or TKO in the 7th or 8th. That's the prediction, but don't count Barrett out.

Just for the heck of it: Brock Lesnar by KO over Randy Couture.

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