When: Saturday, June 5, 2010
Where: Jahnsportforum in Neubrandenburg, Germany
Weight Class: IBF Middleweight Championship
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Sebastian Sylvester, 33-3 (16 KOs), Greifswald, Germany, IBF Middleweight Champion. Vs. Roman Karmazin, 40-3-1 (26 KOs), Kuznetsk, Russia/Los Angeles, California.
Fight Odds: Sebastian Sylvester (-300), Roman Karmazin (+220)
Analysis: An intriguing middleweight title match takes place on June 5 as hometown boy and IBF Champion Sebastian Sylvester defends his belt against former world champion Roman Karmazin. The winner of this fight sets himself up for many lucrative future possibilities. Sylvester is fighting in his hometown, which should be a tremendous boost for him. Karmazin, a native Russian now fighting out the L.A. area is making a long trip into the hostile territory of the defending champion-never an easy proposition. Winning a belt in your opponent’s backyard is never easy.
Karmazin has fought the better-known fighters. His problem isn’t his credentials, however, it’s his age. He looks older than his 37 years. His legs swoon like those of an old fighter. Obviously the heart of a champion hasn’t left him. In his last fight, televised on ESPN2, he scored a rousing 10th round knockout of hard-punching and much younger Dionisio Miranda. He was greatly troubled by the Colombian slugger, but dug deep and gutted out a late knockout in an inspirational performance.
Karmazin knew another setback would throw his career into the Bermuda triangle, so he fought for his career to set up this world title attempt. This is the last chance for the veteran. He has put together a nice pro career, including wins over champions Keith Holmes and Kassim Ouma. The latter is the win that really put him on the map. At the time, Ouma was a highly regarded titleholder and Karmazin’s clear win was truly a surprise.
He seemed to fight Corey Spinks on nearly even terms, but lost his title to the St. Louis speedster in his first defense. Then on HBO, he fought dormant Alex Bunema in a fight meant as a showcase. He appeared on his way to a decision win when Bunema knocked him out in the tenth round. He has since beaten faded former contenders Bronco McKart and Antwun Echols, journeyman Luiz Santos, and his most recent win over the dangerous Miranda.
Karmazin showed that even at this advanced stage in his career, he can still snake the punches out there pretty well. He is effective moving forward and working on the inside, particularly to the body. He can also fire away nicely from long range. Against Sylvester, he will enjoy a 4-inch height advantage. Sometimes these old veterans like Karmazin enjoy working from long-range, so perhaps this will be a big advantage for Karmazin.
Sylvester isn’t a world-beater. He’s lucky to fight in an era of multiple champions or he wouldn’t be anywhere near a real championship. In the old days, he would have been a top contender perhaps, but he is by no means supreme. He is, however, an honest and capable fighter. He is tough, having absorbed tremendous punishment and facial damage to soldier on to victories. He has also shown durability, having been stopped only once since his pro debut in 2002.
Short for a middleweight at 5’7,” Sylvester doesn’t aggressively bull-rush opponents like most fighters with a decided height disadvantage. He attacks patiently behind a high guard with excellent punch variety. His right hand is wielded with decent power, as his left hook. His body punching can be hurtful when he puts his mind to it.
Sylvester has been one of the best middleweights in Europe for several years now. I would say he is more of a gatekeeper than a world champion in all reality. Very good fighters like Felix Sturm can handle him, while merely good fighters find him a bit too much to deal with. But at 29, and on a little roll, I give him the right to improve. The same cannot be said for Karmazin.
Scotty’s Pick to Win: Never rule out an old warhorse. It wouldn’t be unbelievable if Karmazin were able to punch in between the wide swings of Sylvester and pile up some rounds. Karmazin can still crack a little bit and Sylvester will have a long night if he approaches this fight with anything less than a fever-pitch of concentration.
Sylvester is the younger man fighting at home. Those are two big plusses on his side. His attack can be too bread-and-butter, but he is solid and difficult to dissuade. I think his fundamentally sound and competent offense can win him rounds. His power shots will cause Karmazin to give ground over the second half of the bout. I think Karmazin will have success, but the consistency of Sylvester will become more menacing late in the fight. Perhaps Sylvester can get a late knockdown, but either way, he will cruise to the wire a clear winner. Lay the -300 on Sebastian Sylvester to win.