| | | | | | | | |
By Isaac Shaw
After watching Howard Eastman dominate Hacine Cherifi, who is regarded by the WBA as a top ten middleweight, it was clear he is a fighter who really should be a world champion.
Eastman’s only foray at the highest level resulted in a controversial point’s loss against William Joppy where he actually dropped the American in the last moments of the fight. Though the common consensus is Eastman could have sparked into life earlier in that fight, he could have put it beyond doubt.
However with this performance Eastman may find it hard to get Joppy back in the ring. This leaves, Bernard ‘The Executioner? I’ll kill any negotiation’ Hopkins. Granted Hopkins is a good champion, but surely to be considered a great he needs to be fighting top opposition much more regularly.
Unless Hopkins accepts a bout against Eastman or relinquishes his belts, Eastman may look towards a fight against Hector Velazzo for the lesser WBO championship. Another possible move for Eastman could be up to Super-middleweight, indeed there has been talk of a possible match-up against Joe Calzaghe.
With this in mind I wondered after the Cherifi contest how the Guyanese born, now British fighter Eastman would fare not only against Calzaghe but some of Britain’s great middle/super-middleweight champions.
When looking back on boxing history, it is easy to view the past with rose tinted spectacles, yet few can argue that in terms of British boxing a truly great period was during the 1990’s of Benn, Eubank, Watson and Collins. Of course there have been other good British middleweights but as an era with the level of competitiveness it stands as one of the best in Britain at any weight.
With this in mind here is how I see Eastman faring in these dream bouts.
Eastman Vs Eubank - Middleweight
In what would surely be one of the most eccentric battles in any ring, this could be an all-time classic or a dull posturing fight. In my opinion it would be the latter, taking into account Eastman’s tendency to coast for portions of a fight, and Eubank was notorious for only doing what he had to in many of his fights.
Eubank with his proven granite chin and Eastman, who so far has shown good punch resistance, would suggest a knockout being highly unlikely.
Eubank’s best performances were against fighters who came forward e.g. the first Benn fight. I can’t see Eastman coming forward as frequently, he prefers to bide his time before exploding. Although even with his patience Eastman has been known to get tagged a few times, the Cherifi fight being a recent example.
Eubank at times seemed willing to take a punch to try and get his own in, rather then rely on pure defensive boxing skills, however I can see Eubank just getting the better of the exchanges in a rather disappointing contest.
Verdict; Eubank on Points
Eastman Vs Benn - Middleweight
Now this would be a promoters dream, the ‘Battersea Bomber’ against the ‘Dark Destroyer’, as these names suggest this would produce fireworks.
Nigel Benn liked nothing more than a good “tear up” and would relish a fight against the heavy-handed Eastman.
Unlike the Eubank contest, Eastman would not be given the chance to coast through the rounds with Benn applying continual pressure. With the tragic war against McClellan, Benn showed that he could be put down but this only strengthened his resolve. Eastman as mentioned above can get tagged and against Benn this could prove to be his downfall.
A question mark over Benn was his chin and I believe a skilled boxer similar to Watson could also have his number. However I can’t see this one going the distance and although Eastman is a great puncher who could have Benn down during the contest, overall he would not have enough to keep Benn at bay.
Verdict; Benn (8 round TKO)
Eastman Vs Collins - Super-Middleweight
This would be a tricky one to call, Steve Collins the iron jawed Irish fighter against Eastman’s skill and power. I believe that Collins mentally is the strongest out of all the fighters here, using hypnotism to overcome Eubank and seemingly unmoved by Benn’s brashness, his belief and strength carried him to memorable wins, although both fighters were arguably just past their respective peaks.
With Eastman moving up in weight Collins would hold the strength advantage, yet with his style of picking punches this would prove the perfect antidote to Collins pressing smothering style. In a close bout the eye-catching accurate punches of Eastman would be just enough to snatch a victory.
Verdict; Eastman on points (Majority Decision)
Eastman Vs Watson - Middleweight
For obvious reasons this is a hard one to call, as Watson’s career was tragically cut short it is harder to assess where his peak was, if indeed he had reached it at all.
Watson a highly skilled fighter was a great student of boxing who used his intelligence and ring savvy to hand Nigel Benn a boxing lesson. A loss to Mike McCallum perhaps showed a step too far, but by no means did he disgrace himself. With a disputed loss to Eubank in their first contest this lead to the tragic outcome in the rematch.
As we can see Watson is capable of competing at the highest level, and a bout against Eastman would be an intriguing match up. Watson edges it on his defensive skill but Eastman has the punch power. In addition to this Eastman, as shown in his previous fights, picks his heavier shots so therefore is unlikely to blow himself out as Benn did against Watson. This would gain him an advantage over a long, but top-class fight.
Verdict; Eastman (RSC 10 round)
Eastman Vs Calzaghe Super-Middleweight
I have seen many boxing forums, including one thread on Saddoboxing discussing this potential bout, many respected commentators see this as an unwise move for Eastman, as Calzaghe would be too big and too strong.
In my humble opinion this would not be so clear cut; doubts remain against both fighters at the highest level as they have had little experience against the best of their respective divisions, although Eastman was unlucky to lose against Joppy.
I believe that Calzaghe is the best of a bad bunch at Super-Middleweight, his most impressive wins have been against good names who were past their best (Eubank, Brewer, Mitchell), of course he can only beat what is put in front of him but due to the weakness of the division it is unclear how good he really is. He himself admits he is waiting for a ‘Super-fight,’ and is considering moving up the divisions to find it.
Anyway I digress, in this bout a telling factor has to be work rate and strength, both in Calzaghe's favour. Furthermore Eastman’s tendency to coast during a fight would give Calzaghe the chance to build up a points lead.
I can see both fighters getting rocked, but Eastman would not get the chance to land as many of his measured bombs as Calzaghe outworks him in a contest similar to the recent Brewer fight.
Verdict; Calzaghe points (Unanimous Decision)
That’s my opinion on Eastman against the best of British, but of course with any predictions it is sure to raise debate, what can’t be questioned is that Eastman would be a worthy opponent to all of the above.
Discuss in Boxing Forum | Send to a friend.|Bookmark us | Click to make Saddo Boxing.com your homepage