|Rosemont's All State Arena plays host this Saturday to the 2nd defence of Nikolai Valuev's WBA World Heavyweight Championship. In the opposite corner on the Don King promotion will be fringe contender Monte Barrett.
Much has been made of Valuev's size and he has unfairly in the past been looked on as a figure of
curiosity and amusement to some people. At 7 foot 2 and 320 pounds, Valuev is a man mountain, however if you look beyond this you find an articulate and intelligent individual who takes his boxing seriously. He is also unbeaten in 44 fights.
In his title winning effort against John Ruiz last December, Valuev found the American's ugly style hard to fathom out and in my opinion, it was his jab alone that won him that fight. Had that not been in constant use, "The Quiet Man" I feel would have retained his crown.
Valuev's most impressive display came six months later in June when he crushed Jamaican Owen Beck in three. What struck me that night was the accuracy of the Russian's punches.
In Barrett, he meets a man who has been handpicked by Don King to make Valuev look good on his high profile American debut. When faced with the big opponents, Barrett has ultimately been on the losing side. A lacklustre loss to Hasim Rahman in his last bout certainly didn't do his stock any good and come Saturday I fear that Barrett will be a stepping stone for much bigger appointments in the future for the "Beast From The East".
Although inevitable comparisons are made with Primo Carnera, Italy's giant champion of the early 30's, I think Valuev has the tools be a dominant champion in a division lacking of many characters. I think Valuev will make statement Saturday night and will keep his 0 intact. I think he may even stop Barrett.