Richard ‘The Boxing Prophet’ Solomon’s Picks Of the Week
By Richard Solomon, RCM Boxing Radio Co-Host
Richard’s love of boxing preceded his love of solid food. Doctors report he came out of his mother’s womb throwing a jab. As a child he would only ever count from 1 to 10, and his favorite superhero didn’t wear a cape- he wore leather gloves that were A Thrilla In Manila. With his uncanny ability to predict fights, his parents gave up dreams of him becoming President and set their sights higher: Boxing Prophet.
His claim to fame: telling the whole world in Feb of 1990 that James Buster Douglas was going to beat Mike Tyson. Through jeers and laughs he stuck to his prediction. Rich was an overnight sensation. A folk hero in his town. The prophet was born. His parents wept.
For every 10 fights Richard predicts – he guarantees 8 out of 10 are correct. He prides himself on not only picking the winner of the fight, but also whether it’s by decision or knockout – being so bold as to even pick the exact round.
Richard went to Adelphi University and holds a Master’s degree in Special Education. He teaches preschool children with learning disabilities and special needs. His kids are fighters and Richard genuinely appreciates and nurtures that spirit in them.
Richard started his career on Adelphi radio in a weekly sports talk show and went on to co-host other boxing radio shows during his career. He is now the RCM Boxing Radio Co-Host since April 2013.
Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38KOs vs. Chris Algieri (20-0, 8KOs)
I remember those eye-catching knockouts and devastating performances against Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and David Diaz. Manny Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division titleholder and a reigning welterweight titlist, rocketed to the top of the pound-for-pound list. Needless to say, he and Floyd Mayweather Jr. were for years 1-2 in whichever order one preferred. Pacquiao’s reputation as a knockout artist continues to fade. The culprit, of course, is the lack of a KO win over the past five years. In fact, the only knockout in Pacquiao’s last eight fights came against Juan Manuel Marquez-but when the Filipino hit the canvas for the count, not the other way around.
It sounds as if Pacquiao is ready to turn things around in this regard-at least based on comments from trainer Freddie Roach. The possibility for a big finish is certainly there, especially with Algieri taking a big step up in a catchweight at 144 pounds, which may put the challenger at a serious disadvantage. That and Pacquiao’s speed, which Roach has made sure to point out as of late. Roach when so far as to tell the press that Manny told him he would stop Algieri in the first round!!!! Make no mistake about it, Pacquiao needs to win this fight by a landslide. He needs one of those awe-inspiring moments that will get fans talking once again for the 6,234th time about a future fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Lol. Don’t count out Algieri though. This underdog can fight. Algieri has not lost a pro fight and is coming off some solid wins recently against Emmanuel Taylor and Ruslan Provodnikov. The latter was a dangerous knockout artist whom Algieri avoided with great timing and speed, something that will be of much use to him against Pacquiao.
Algieri lives in my neighborhood, so of course I want him to shock the world and beat Manny. There, I said it!!!! Seriously though, Algieri has some of the best conditioning Pacquiao will have seen from an opponent in the ring in several years, which means Chris has the ability to go the distance if his chin holds up against an early Pacquiao assault. Algieri has the heart and boxing skills to counter everything coming at him. However, talking about it and executing it are two different things entirely. Algieri is a long way from home. There is no way he is going to get the benefit of the doubt from judges in a bout that may and will have a handful of close rounds.
While Pacquiao sounds as if he wants to come in hot and end things early, especially considering it sounds like Algieri was picked for this very reason, his lack of an ability to do so over the course of the past few years speaks volumes. Simply put, does Manny or can Manny ever regain the eye of the tiger? Algieri may not play along with this storyline Bob arum is attempting to write. Algieri has the speed and conditioning to take this fight the full 12 rounds. But, he has to know that winning a decision is simply never going to happen. This means at some point in the fight, Algieri must fight in the trenches with Manny. This will lead to his downfall. Algieri will give Pacquiao a very tough, hard fight. After eight rounds, I can see Manny being up by two points on my scorecard, or dare I say even a draw!!!! It pains me to say this but Manny will come on strong thanks to his timing, angles and power. A game Algieri will leave Macau, China with his head held high knowing he gave it his all, but he will not win. My Pick: Pacquiao wins by an 11th Round TKO.
Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew will face each other for a second time to settle their feud in Liverpool, England. Cleverly has the advantage of having won the first fight back in 2011 by a close decision. However, his dream of being an elite fighter came to a violent end when he was destroyed by Sergey Kovalev. Cleverly looked like a deer in the headlights before, during and after that fight. It was so bad, he even considered retirement. After a lengthy hiatus from the ring, Cleverly returned and made the step up to the cruiserweight division and ultimately he has been on a collision course with Bellew from the outset. Victories against Shawn Corbin and Alejandro Valori allowed Cleverly to regain some confidence and he believes he is ready to go to war with Bellew once again. Cleverly has the athleticism, speed and stamina to handle Bellew. He should systematically break down Bellew with hard shots, especially to the body. The key to this fight is for Cleverly to control his emotions on fight night. Bellew has a fiery temper and has been doing his best to rattle Cleverly.
Bellew also has something to prove in this fight. He was destroyed by Adonis Stevenson in his most important bout to date. On paper, it looks like an easy win for Cleverly. His speed and ability to avoid punches should minimize the threat of Bellew. Bellew has very poor defense so Cleverly should catch him at will with, flush, hard shots. But, fights are also won outside the ring. I honestly believe there is a huge risk factor here from both a psychological and physical standpoint for Cleverly. The defeat to Kovalev in my opinion, has broken Cleverly mentally and if Bellew starts to land heavy shots then things might start to unravel for Cleverly. Can he absorb those “bombs” and come back with his own? Again, when I first took a look at this fight, my thought was that Cleverly would win easy. I have since changed my mind. He may prove me wrong, but I think Cleverly is a shell of what he once was as a fighter. He has so much more talent than Bellew, but it won’t be enough for him to win the rematch. Cleverly will dominate early with his jab and movement, but once Bellew connects with a hard shot to the chin, the fight will be over. Can anyone say Cleverly-Bellew 3? Call me crazy but I am going with the upset here. Bellew pulls off a Molina Jr.-Bey like come from behind win!!! My Pick: Bellew wins by a 9th Round KO.
Roman Gonzalez (40-0, 34KOs) vs. Rocky Fuentes (35-7-2, 20KOs)
I’ll cut right to the chase on this one. Roman Gonzalez is one of the best fighters in the world, in any weight class!!!! Now reigning in his third division, Gonzalez prepares for his first title defense at flyweight this weekend in Japan against the outmatched Fuentes. It’s the second title opportunity of the year for Fuentes after losing a decision to Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng for the vacant IBF 112 pound belt in January. I hope this is not a trap fight for Gonzalez. Prior to his loss against Ruenroeng, Fuentes had a 15- fight win streak. He has power in both hands , but has also been knocked out twice. Truth be told, the game but far less talented Fuentes is just an opponent to make Gonzalez “Must See TV” for American fight fans. The 27-year old Nicaraguan should take care of business in brutal fashion. A dream fight against Juan Francisco Estrada is the fight “Hardcore” Boxing fans want to see. They first fought back in 2012. It was one of the best fights of the year. Gonzalez won a hard fought decision. That was at junior flyweight. The rematch, if it happens, will take place at flyweight. This has the makings of the best little man rivalry since Humberto Gonzalez-Michael Carbajal. Estrada’s evolution since the first Gonzalez fight will make this a “50-50” dead even, hard to predict type of fight. But, let’s leave that alone for now. Roman Gonzalez will add another “Statement” win to his resume this weekend. My Pick: Gonzalez wins by a 5th Round TKO.
My picks for the undercard fights: Scott Quigg (29-0-2, 22KOs) over Hidenori Otake (22-1-3, 9KOs) by a 7th Round TKKO. Jamie McDonnell(24-2-1, 11KOs) over Javier Chacon (20-2, 5KOs) by a 6th Round TKO.
The Boxing Prophet’s Record (27-7)
RCM’s Boxing Record (24-9)
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