Throwdown Fantasy: Garcia v Guerrero leads host of games now open

Throwdown Fantasy Boxing welcomes 2016 with the #GarciaGuerrero Throwdown games which begin on January 16, 2016. As before, there are free games and paid games to choose from. This time though, Throwdown Fantasy has put in multiple head-to-head games for players who want to battle it out with a single individual.

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To help you become our next Big Winner, we’re gving out the individual fight previews along with our experts’ suggestions:

Danny Garcia ($5,500) vs. Robert Guerrero ($4,200)

For Garcia to win he needs to control the pace behind his jab and sharp right hands down the middle while also moving to his left, away from Guerrero’s left cross. He needs to force a thinking-man’s match instead of a bombs-away affair, but even if that happens it still might work in Garcia’s favor because “The Ghost” has been floored in each of his last two fights. For Guerrero to win he must live up to his surname, which, in English, means “warrior.” He needs to crank up the volume and force Garcia to fight out of his comfort zone. If that happens, perhaps a fight-turning blow will get through.

Our suggestion: Garcia has been treading water since his signature victory over Lucas Matthysse more than two years ago but he still has more than enough in the tank to turn back Guerrero, who, in his last two bouts, has looked like a spent force. His fighting spirit remains strong and that asset will make this a good watch. But the wear-and-tear of nearly 15 years in the pro ring have taken their toll on “The Ghost,” who has been eminently hittable — and beatable.

Sergey Kovalev ($5,500) vs. Jean Pascal ($4,300)

For Kovalev to win he must come into the ring with full concentration and resist the temptation to look past a man he had already knocked out. Technically speaking, he needs to work behind his excellent jab while also forcing Pascal to fight harder than his usual first-gear pace. If he draws Pascal into a shootout, one of Kovalev’s bombs will surely connect. For Pascal to win he needs to slow the fight to a crawl, where his superior mobility and still-quick hands could produce the kind of startling counters that briefly shook Kovalev last year. If he catches “The Crusher” on an off-day, he could ride the wave of crowd support inside the Bell Centre to a huge upset victory.

Our suggestion: Don’t bet on it. Pascal fought much better than expected in their first match and he still fell short of the mark. Kovalev is one year more experienced while Pascal, who many thought should have lost to Yuniesky Gonzalez, is simply one year older. Kovalev now knows what he’s dealing with in Pascal and as long as he sticks to business and as long as he fights like himself, he should be able to score a dominant stoppage.

Deontay Wilder ($5,600) vs. Artur Szpilka ($4,300)

For Wilder to win he must control the distance with his prolific and pinpoint jab, which has averaged 10.6 connects per round in his last three fights — nearly double the 5.4 heavyweight average. After that, he should make Szpilka pay with counter rights down the middle as the Polish challenger charges in. Finally, he should try to at least duplicate the 56.9-punch-per-round pace he achieved last time out against Johann Duhaupas because Szpilka typically looks to counter punch instead of taking the initiative. For Szpilka to win he has to surmount Wilder’s advantages in height (four inches) and reach (six inches) by darting inside and hammering Wilder with power lefts before the champ clamps on. He also must create an uncomfortable environment for Wilder, who likes to control the action behind his jab. The more chaotic it is, the better it is for Szpilka. If he allows Wilder time and space, he will lose.

Our suggestion: Wilder is a heavy favorite because he has proven himself a terrific offensive fighter over the long haul, something that was unknown before he won the title last year. Against the rugged Duhaupas he landed 56% of his total punches, 45% of his jabs and a stratospheric 69% of his power shots. Szpilka will probably be a more elusive target (how could he not?) but in order to get into punching range he has to completely change his counter-punching nature and take the fight to Wilder. He must land his big left cross early or else Wilder will either impale him at long range with the jab or smother him in clinches. Too many good things have to happen for Szpilka for him to win while Wilder has much more room for error.

Dmitry Mikhaylenko ($5,200) vs. Ray Robinson ($4,600)

Mikhaylenko must close the distance on the taller and lankier Robinson and blast away with his corrosive combinations from first bell to last. Trench warfare will negate Robinson’s height, reach and southpaw stance. For Robinson to win he must create space with his busy (but inaccurate) right jab, side-step the charging Mikhaylenko and pelt him with right hooks and long lefts to the body (a Robinson specialty). If Mikhaylenko gets close, Robinson must tie him up and prompt the referee to separate them.

Our suggestion: This fight will boil down to one equation: If there’s space between the fighters, Robinson has the advantage. If there’s not, Mikhaylenko prevails. Mikaylenko makes up for his lack of one-punch power by launching tons of artillery and when things are going his way he doesn’t stop — ever. Robinson has the skills to impose a long-range game but the only two losses of his career came against Brad Solomon and Shawn Porter, both of whom are awkwardly effective aggressors. Styles make fights and styles like Mikhaylenko’s have scrambled Robinson’s wires in the past. Look for another attrition-fueled TKO for the relentless Russian.

Jamal James ($5,200) vs. Javier Molina ($4,500)

James needs to maximize his 6-foot-2 height and albatross-like wingspan to box, box and box some more. There’s no need for James to engage in extended exchanges with Molina, who showed against Jorge Pimentel three fights ago that he has one-punch knockout power. Since there’s no need, why take the chance? After all, James was dropped in the fourth round against Juan Carlos Abreu in his most recent fight. Finally, he must continue to produce the high-volume attack he showed against Michael Balasi (107.6 per round) and Daniel Sostre (79.5 per round) because a similarly robust attack by Artemio Reyes (119.5 per round) led to Molina’s only loss. For Molina to win he needs to get inside James’ long arms, but he needs to do it behind a distracting jab. Once inside he must pound the ribs to slow James’ movement, then, when he’s sufficiently slowed, shift his attack to the chin, especially with his powerful right hand.

Our suggestion: Molina may carry the nickname “El Intocable” (“The Untouchable”) but if James fights at long range he will be the one who’ll be untouchable. The knockdown he suffered against Abreu is a point of concern given Molina’s power but Reyes’ 375 total connects and 337 landed power shots proved beyond doubt that Molina can be reached — and reached often. If James fights the right fight he should cruise to victory and get lots of points in doing so.

Sammy Vasquez ($5,000) vs. Aron Martinez ($4,400)

For Vasquez to win he must take full advantage of his speed of hand and foot as well as his counterpunching ability against a tirelessly aggressive opponent who will be fighting on his adopted home turf. He must win the volume battle because while Martinez averaged 61.2 punches per round in beating Devon Alexander, he might have lost against Robert Guerrero because he was out-thrown 57.1 to 45.1 per round and out-landed in the final two rounds. For Martinez to win he needs to be in Vasquez’s chest from first bell to last and he needs to flood the zone with punches from all angles. The less scientific the fight the better it is for Martinez, who has performed well in back-to-back fights against left-handers. By being stronger in the last four rounds, Martinez proved he learned the bitter lessons of the Guerrero loss and he’ll need to do that again here.

Prediction: Vasquez had his problems when he fought Wale Omotoso in Las Vegas, far from the adoring throngs in western Pennsylvania. Now, fighting in southern California, he can’t depend on massive crowd support to fuel him; in fact, his opponent will have that luxury. That said, Vasquez has the speed and talent to dissect and eventually out-point the rugged Martinez, who will test him but probably won’t beat him.

Dominic Breazeale ($4,900) vs. Amir Mansour ($4,500)

For Breazeale to win he needs to use his height and reach advantages to keep Mansour at arm’s length, especially since Mansour had some initial issues adjusting to 6-foot-7 Kelvin Price and 6-foot-6 Gerald Washington. Should Mansour get inside Breazeale should immediately clinch, use his weight advantage to wear down the 43-year-old, wait for the referee to separate them and resume his long-range game. Right hands down the middle should work well against the southpaw Mansour and he must do his best to quell the second-half surge Mansour produced against Washington to get a draw many thought he should have won. For Mansour to win he needs to get off to a fast start and take advantage of Breazeale’s leaky defense, which is especially vulnerable in the early rounds. He should get inside Breazeale’s long arms and get his work done before Breazeale grabs him or pushes him off. He also must utilize his southpaw advantage by pivoting right (away from Breazeale’s right) and punching away or by landing left crosses.

Our suggestion: After a strong start against limited opponents, Breazeale’s flaws have been exposed but have yet to be fully exploited. Until he shows improvement, most of Breazeale’s opponents, including Mansour, should be considered a live underdog. The 43-year-old Mansour sports a freakishly chiseled physique as well as genuine one-punch KO power (just ask common opponent Fred Kassi) but he has a history of struggling with height early. Mansour has a puncher’s chance but Breazeale should have enough to get by on points — this time.

Vyacheslav Glazkov ($4,900) vs. Charles Martin ($4,600)

For Glazkov to win he must weather Martin’s early burst, then use his educated jab and crisp power shots to methodically break down the taller, athletic but less experienced Martin. Right hands down the middle should work well against the southpaw, as would wide hooks. He also must exploit Martin’s tendency to hold his lead hand at waist level. For Martin to win he needs to assert himself early and do his best to land his powerful left crosses. Also, Glazkov has been cut around the eyes and he has a good enough jab to take advantage. Should be hurt Glazkov, he must remember to keep his hands up because he tends to drop both of them when pursing the KO.

Our suggestion: This is a difficult fight to call because Glazkov struggled against the two taller fighters who were also skilled (he was lucky to get a draw against Malik Scott and a decision against Derric Rossy) and because Martin has yet to meet anyone close to Glazkov’s caliber as a pro. Also, just three of Martin’s fights have gone past round four, so one has to wonder about his stamina in a potentially demanding 12-rounder. Martin looks promising and much will be revealed about him in this fight while Glazkov is a known quantity. If you’re looking for a live underdog Martin is your man, but the guess here is that the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist will adjust to Martin’s southpaw style thanks to his amateur background and will gradually break him down in a low-output war of nerves.

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