Boxing Preview For Early December

Have you heard of Triller?

If you haven't, it's a "video-sharing social networking service" according to Wikipedia, but their content revolves greatly around combat sports and music. More specifically, they have arranged a lot of these celebrity boxing matches (that I don't care for) that are increasingly commonplace these days, and are now dipping their toe into more legitimate boxing and MMA.

More specifically, they are pairing fights with musical acts that square off against each other (in rap battles and so forth, not in the ring.) For example, on Thursday, they have a boxing card that will also include performances by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Three 6 Mafia, with some sort of winner declared between the two groups, possibly by fan vote. I don't know, because I don't really care about that part of it and this is a sports column, not a music column.

It's worth mentioning though, because the last time I watched a Triller card that included musical acts, the embedded chat during the fights was 99% people asking when the rap battle was going to start. As someone who wants to see evidence of boxing health and growth, that was despairing.

Nonetheless, we press on. So let's preview this card, which is available at both the Triller website or on Fite TV via their "TrillerVerz" subscription cheaply — $2.99 a month.

What I like about this card is that it is an all-heavyweight card save for one light heavyweight bout. That fight is France's Frederic Julan (12-0) against Khainell Wheeler (5-1). Julan may represent France but all his pro fights have taken place in America, making his undefeated run a bit more impressive. Wheeler probably won't represent too much trouble for him, but who knows — Wheeler's only loss was to another undefeated boxer, it was apparently close, and Julan hasn't fought since before COVID.

Now for the heavyweights. First up will be Junior Anthony Wright (18-3-1) against Joe Jones (12-4). Both of them have mostly feasted on inferior competition, but Jones resume, on paper, looks better. Wright does have big fight experience, having fought for world cruiser titles twice, but he got waxed in both those fights, is fighting at heavyweight now, and is almost 10 years older than his opponent.

Next up, intriguingly, will be two battles pitting unbeatens against each other. The first is Trey Lippe (18-0) against Mike Balogun (17-0). This is (going by BoxRec ratings) the 22nd-ranked American heavyweight (Lippe) against the 20th-ranked American heavyweight (Balogun). That's just great matchmaking.

Lippe may be ranked just lower than Balogun, but I like him in this spot; when I look at an unbeaten-but-unknown fighter, I pore over their match details to determine (among other things) if have they done everything asked of them in the ring? What I mean by this is, have they either stopped each opponent or, for their fights that have gone the distance, have they one every round on every scorecard?

Lippe has knocked out all of his opponents except his last one, where he won every round on every scorecard. Bologun has gone the distance in four of his fights, and lost rounds in three of those. He's also 38 (Lippe's 32).

The second "somebody's O has got to go" fight is Baltimore's Cassius Chaney (18-0) against Dominican George Arias (16-0). They are also close together in the BoxRec world heavyweight rankings (Chaney: 61. Arias: 68) and I am having a hard time handicapping this one. Their level of opponents thus far seems roughly equal. Arias is younger at 29 (Chaney is 34), but of his 16 wins, only 7 have been by knockout. That's astonishingly low for a heavyweight. Chaney's KO ratio (66%) is also low. They've both lost their share of rounds along the way. I slightly favor Chaney, but if I see a good price on Arias I am happy to take it.

The main event is Michael Hunter (20-1-1) against Jerry Forrest (26-4-1). Hunter has very quietly risen up the heavyweight ranks; he's up to 7th in the world on Boxrec and the No. 2 American, behind only Deontay Wilder.

Forrest doesn't have a ranking on Boxrec right now for some reason, but their ranking is based on their complex points system, and his points are still listed and it would put him at #38 among world heavyweights if he were ranked. He got a nice draw against Zhilei Zhang (#28) his last time out, but before that he lost to Carlos Takam of France (#22) in 2020 and he did not look impressive to me in that fight at all. Hunter should win this without much of a struggle.

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