Lem's Corner: Notebook
By Lem Satterfield
RADIVOJE KALAJDZIC TO BE MARCUS BROWNE’S TOUGHEST TEST?
Bosnian-born light heavyweight Radivoje Kalajdzic (21-0, 14 KOs) vows to be more than a handful for left-handed contender Marcus Browne (17-0, 13 KOs) at Barclays Center on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC on Saturday night (8:30 p.m.ET/5:30 p.m. PT).
Kalajdzic, 24, has scored consecutive first-round knockouts - the last against Fabio Garrido in November. He is making his New York debut at Barclays, where Browne of Staten Island, N.Y. has fought 11 times – the most by any boxer. Browne knocked out Francisco Sierra in the 10th round in his last bout in December.
“I’m going to be the toughest opponent for Marcus in every way. I’ve got great foot-movement,’’ Kalajdzic said. “I’m going to be the hardest puncher he’s faced. My speed is just as fast as his, and we’ve got similar height. But I believe that my reach is a little bit longer than his.
“A lot of the guys he faces, when he attacks, they just sort of fold up. But I’m going to be right there and fight him. I’m going to box him. A lot of people come there to lose. I’m coming to win. I’m as good as he is and in some things, I believe I’m a little better at.”
Browne, 25, is the first southpaw Kalajdzic has faced since Sabou Ballogou (third round TKO victory) and Grover Young (sixth round unanimous decision victory) in 2013.
“I’ve sparred a couple of lefties for this fight and done pretty good. You just have to control the jab and that will give me an advantage,’’ he said. “My right hand is perfect for southpaws. I have 14 knockouts and most of my knockouts have come with the right hand. So he can be rushing in and walk into something perfectly.”
CHAD DAWSON RETURNS AGAINST CORNELIUS WHITE
Former WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (33-4, 18 KOs) will return to the action against Cornelius White (23-4, 17 KOs) at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut on Saturday (SHOWTIME, 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT).
“This is exactly what I need. He’s a big puncher but I can get back to being the old Chad Dawson,” said Dawson, a 33-year-old southpaw from nearby New Haven, Connecticut. “I’m anticipating a lot of support. I hadn’t fought that much in my hometown during my career, but I think people are excited and ready to see me put on a show.”
Dawson won a unanimous decision over Shujaa El Amin in his last fight in December. That ended a 14-month ring absence, after an upset loss to unheralded Tommy Karpency via split-decision in October 2014.
“I feel as if I’ve benefitted from the time off,” said Dawson. “I’m a lot more level-headed and focused, and this is a great test.”
White has been knocked out three times during his career, but has won two straight to end a three-fight losing streak. White scored a majority decision over Marcos Oliveira in his last fight in October.
“I’ve broken down footage of him and I think southpaws are a big problem for him,” said Dawson.
White’s last two losses were against left-handers Thomas Williams and Marcus Browne by first-round knockout and unanimous decision in January 2014 and May 2015, respectively.
“I’ve seen what he does well and what he does wrong,’’ Dawson said. “I see that he doesn’t fight well backing up and that he has a lazy jab, so I’m pretty much going to go out there and press the fight and take advantage of the mistakes he makes.”
Prior to scoring a first-round stoppage of George Blades in June 2014, Dawson had suffered consecutive knockout losses to then super middleweight champion Andre Ward (10th round TKO) in September 2012 and southpaw Adonis Stevenson (first round TKO) in June 2013.
ANNIVERSARY IS BITTERSWEET FOR AUSTIN TROUT
The date of May 26th is bittersweet for Austin Trout. It marks both his third wedding anniversary and the passing of his maternal grandmother, Ann Johnson.
Johnson was present as Trout walked down the isle with bride, Taylor Trout, in May 2013 before suffering a heart attack at the wedding. Johnson was 69. Trout refers to the day as “beautifully tragic.’’
“My wedding anniversary and the passing of my grandmother are both one and the same,” said Trout. “So I truly look at it as a day to be celebrate her life as well as the union with my wife, and that is what we’ll continue to do.”
Trout (30-2, 17 KOs), a 30-year-old southpaw, returns to action to challenge IBF 154-pound champion Jermall Charlo (23-0, 18 KOs) at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on SHOWTIME on May 21.
Charlo-Trout is part of a division triple-header. Charlo’s twin, Jermell (27-0, 12 KOs) and John Jackson (20-2, 15 KOs) of the Virgin Islands meet for the WBC title and Erislandy Lara (22-2-2, 13 KOS) of Cuba defends his WBA title against Vanes Martirosyan (36-2-1, 21 KOs) of Glendale, in a rematch of their draw from November 2012.
Johnson, who lived in Brooklyn, and other family members were ringside at New York's Madison Square Garden in December 2012 for Trout’s career-best unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto. Trout’s great grandmother, Dorothy Johnson, celebrated her 88th birthday that night.
Trout’s marriage and Johnson’s death occurred a month after his unanimous decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in March 2013.
“My grandmother was a strong woman who was very blunt," said Trout, who wore the words, “R.I.P. Ann” on his trunks against Erislandy Lara in December 2013. "She commanded respect and would tell you what was on her mind. She was also very funny. I get my prankster side from her."
KEITH THURMAN EYES STOPPAGE OF SHAWN PORTER, KELL BROOK FIGHT
WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) is looking to become the first man to stop former champion Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) when they meet in a 147-pound showdown at Barclays Center on June 25. That would be a better performance against Porter than Kell Brook had when he scored a unanimous decision over Porter to win the IBF welterweight title in 2014.
“Being called the best is something that you earn by proving you’re the best. If I beat Shawn Porter in great fashion, there are going to be people who want me to beat Kell Brook,” said Thurman. “I would love to make a statement by stopping Shawn Porter. If I do, I believe that I’m on the top of the list when it comes to being the best at 147. I believe that I’ll do that. There are going to be things that Shawn Porter’s not going to be aware of, and I’ll be able to separate myself.”
Thurman did that when he scored a pair of second-round knockdowns against Julio Diaz on the way to a victory via third round TKO in 2014.
"It did take me fewer rounds (to win) than when Shawn Porter fought Diaz to a draw and then went the distance with him,’’ Thurman said. “I wanted to make a statement. Shawn Porter fought him twice and didn't stop him. Amir Khan got dropped by him. That’s actually why I put on that performance in the first place. Julio Diaz was a common opponent for Shawn Porter and Amir Khan.
“I was able to see the holes in Diaz that Shawn Porter didn’t see, not just once, but twice. I look at that fight, personally, when I want to separate my skills from Shawn Porter’s, and I want to mentally see myself as having certain advantages over him.”
Thurman-Porter continues 147-pound action that began in January, when former 140-pound champion Danny Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs) won a unanimous decision against ex-welterweight titleholder Robert Guerrero for the WBC’s vacant 147-pound crown.
“We have four world champions, and I think it’s time for one of us to have two of those belts. I want to collect one at a time, starting with an extra one later this year,” said Thurman. “Danny Garcia stepped up to 147, and I think it’s time for Danny to step up to me, but I can see him ducking and dodging. Jesse Vargas has a belt and Kell Brook has the IBF, and I want to see another one of those things wrapped around me, real soon.”