Kubrat Pulev Defeats Rydell Booker, A Critical Heavyweight Analysis with Video Highlights
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
Fresno, CA (November 10th, 2019)– Kubrat ‘The Cobra’ Pulev, 28-1 with 14 knockouts, Sofia, Bulgaria, at age 38 is beginning to slow down with the effects of father time. On Saturday, November 9, 2019, Pulev won a ten round unanimous decision in Fresno, California, over veteran Rydell Booker, 26-3 with 13 knockouts, Detroit, Michigan. Booker has lost twice in 2019 to contenders with a combined record of 46-1, and was ill-prepared to defeat Pulev in his latest comeback.
Pulev and Booker both weighed in at 248 pounds. However, Pulev, who had a slight height and reach advantage, appeared in better condition. Pulev is slower than he was in years past, and is not doing quality body work. Pulev is significantly outworking is opponents, whatever their ability, and landing more power shots and quality punches.
The issue with Pulev, a former European, IBF International and WBA Inter-continental Heavyweight champion, has to do with a game plan. In his lone lost to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, Pulev got caught standing in front, which proved to be a formula for disaster. It also did not work for Wladimir against Anthony Joshua, and Joshua against Andy Ruiz Jr.
Pulev is in condition, and is biding for a shot against the winner of Andy Ruiz Jr.-Anthony Joshua II, Deontay Wilder versus Luis Ortiz II, or perhaps Trevor Bryan, Tyson Fury, or the winner of Michael Hunter versus Alexander Povetkin. The World Boxing Association regular heavyweight title is currently vacant, and perhaps Pulev could find a legitimate opponent to fight for the WBA regular belt while he remains in waiting. Pulev has been an IBF mandatory for years now, and cannot be ducked by the champions at the top in 2020, because he has won eight bouts in a row since losing to Wladimir.
The critical analysis has to do with speed and timing. Pulev got hit and seriously cut by Bogdan Dinu due to a sloppy defense, and got taken a full ten rounds by Booker, who was obviously not in as good shape as he was for that bout. Ruiz has power and the ability to get inside. Joshua has speed and superior ring instincts. Wilder has mega power and the ability to get his opponents out fast and furious, though he lacks Pulev’s technical boxing skills. Jarrell Miller has both technical skill and power, and as he is younger, Pulev would have trouble. Adam Kownacki, Hunter, Povetkin and Ortiz would pose a big challenge. Pulev has recovered fully from the March 2019 cut he sustained against Dinu, but questions remain. If Pulev is to fight a second time for a world title, 2020 would be the year.