PREDICTION PAGE: Thurman-Lopez And More At Barclays



PREDICTION PAGE: Thurman-Lopez  And More At Barclays

Jab Hook's Predictions for the Barclay Center, Brooklyn, New York, January 26, 2019, (Fox/

Main Event: Keith Thurman vs. Josesito Lopez, 12 rounds for Thurman's WBA welterweight title. (See Foreward here.)

Welterweight Champions (147bs/66.7kg):

Ring Champ vacant, IBF/Ring#1-Errol Spence Jr, WBO/Ring#2/-Terrence Crawford, WBA/Ring#3-Keith Thurman,WBC/Ring#4-Shawn Porter, Ring #5-Manny Pacquiao, Ring#6-Danny Garcia

Context of Bout in the Welterweight Division:

Spence Jr vs Mikey Garcia on March 16 (AT&T Stadium Arlington TX), Crawford vs Khan on April 20 (MSG?), Shawn Porter vs Yordenus Ugas on March 9, (MGM), Danny Garcia vs Andrian Granados on April 20 (tbd). The winner should get a shot at Shawn Porter's WBC belt by the summer. But Keith says he wants a piece of the Pac Man pie before the dessert is over. We'll see who he calls out from the Barclay ring center after the bout.

“Styles make fights.”

Thurman boxes orthodox with fast hands, quick defensive reflexes and what used to be big power. “One Time” has NOT been enough for a KO in years. But Keith owns world-class ring IQ, is in great shape, and has excellent punching skills with good combinations from creative angles that allow him to be a nasty counter-puncher.

Lopez boxes orthodox and he is a pressure fighter. He likes to start fast and throws hard jabs, which he uses to set up his shots to the body. He sometimes prefers to fight from the ropes. Nice combinations help him move forward and implement his offense, but Lopez drops left after wide combos and is open to straight punches. The “Riverside Rocky's” leaky defense and forward moving style place him at great risk against Thurman.

Jab Hook's keys to victory

“One Time”-

1) Box, establish the jab and control distance.

2) Be patient and implement your plan.

3) Counterpunch at will, control, but don't brawl.

4) Dominate with boxing, not power.

“The Riverside Rocky”-

1) Be aggressive and awkward in your attacks immediately from the 1st bell on.

2) Disrupt his rhythm and show no respect.

3) Get inside and rough his body up.

4) Provoke him into “mano a mano”.

This is a bout meant to punctuate Thurman's return to the ring with a big win. Superior boxing and counterpunching will allow “One Time” to look good against the offensive-minded “Riverside Rocky”. If Thurman manages to take Lopez out, we'll know he's back to win. If he dominates but plays it safe, questions will remain.

Jab's Prediction: Thurman by UD over Josesito Lopez in a boxing exhibition meant to shake off the ring rust, a small chance of a TKO win in the championship rounds.


Adam Kownacki 18(14)-0 vs. Gerald Washington 19(12)-2(2)-1, Heavyweights boxing 10 rounds.

As a boy, “Babyface” Kownacki was a big fan of Andre Golota, the Polish heavyweight contender. Golota is notorious for visiting Riddick Bowe's shorts a few times too many and losing by disqualification (DQ) two bouts in a row in 1996, what a disgrace! In any case, young Adam started boxing at 16 yo at the storied Gleason's Gym. Kownacki won the New York State GoldenGloves tournament as a heavyweight at 17 years old and he achieved second place twice in 2007-2008. At 20 years old, he again won the New York State Golden Gloves in 2009, then Kownacki went pro. Hampered by injuries early in his career, he fought mostly low level boxers. In 2017, Adam stepped up big time against Polish heavyweight champion Artur Szpilka. Szplika had lost his 2016 WBC title bout versus Deontay Wilder by brutal 9th round KO. Impressively, “Babyface” pressured Szplika from the opening bell, and backed him up for three rounds, landing often. Then he finished Szpilka in the 4th, round, faster than Wilder. Kownacki has continued to improve and develop.

Gerald Washington boxed as boy and had 12 bouts before he put it aside for high school football. He played college football player at USC. A talented tight-end who later tried to go pro, he got rejected a couple of times before leaving his NFL dreams behind. Washington is a Navy veteran who later found his way back to boxing, had only 4 more amateur bouts, then went pro at 30 years old. “El Gallo Negro” has beaten a few journeyman, like Sherman Williams, Travis Fulton, Jason Gavern. Then he stepped up against real boxers, for example slick Eddie Chambers, whom he defeated. But Washington stumbled versus world class opposition in 2017, when he was KO'd in the 5th by Wilder and forced to retire on his stool in the 8th by “Big Baby” Miller. In the summer of 2018, Washington won his comeback bout by unanimous decision over club fighter John Wesley Nofire. Kownacki is again a big step up.

“Styles make fights.”

Kownacki is an orthodox, pressure fighter and volume puncher. With plodding, but stable footwork he jabs forward and chops away with hooks backing up his opponent. Though his defense is less than optimal, “Babyface” is lucky he has a great chin. Not a one punch artist, Kownacki wears the other guy down over the rounds until they are ripe for the picking. Then he stops them.

Washington is a natural athlete and gifted with size. Tall and long, he fights orthodox using a weak jab. Like a rooster, “El Gallo Negro” holds his chin too high and his hands too low. He moves well, but punches with limited technique and unsteady feet. Moving backwards is his weakness, because he does not have the jab needed to move forward consistently. Washington is a strong guy, but with little accuracy on his punches and no inside game the rooster will be headed for the hen house crowing “HELP”. Anybody want some chicken nuggets?

Jab Hook's keys to victory


1) Hands up and use jab to safely move forward.

2) Cut off ring, engage only at mid-range and inside

3) Bundles of shots to the body.

4) Dominate with volume punching and take him out when he wobbles.

“El Gallo Negro”-

1) Circle right, establish the jab, use size and reach advantages

2) Straight shots up the middle, incl. lead rights

3) Disrupt his work inside by clinching, hang on him

4) Use footwork to stay off the ropes, out of corners

Jab's prediction: Kownacki wins by late round TKO over Gerald Washington.

With a win Kownacki will get a shot at another Top 10 heavyweight and a nice payday. Jab thinks Sasha Povetkin would be the ideal next test to push Kownacki up the ranks quickly.

Adam Kownacki needs to down vet Gerald Washington so his momentum toward a title fight continues.


Tugstsogt Nyambayar 10(9)-0 vs. Claudio Marrero 23(17)-2(1)-1, 12 rounds in the WBC featherweight eliminator.

“King Tug” Nayambayar was a decorated amateur, two-time silver medalist in the World Amateurs 2009 and London Olympics 2012. He went professional in 2015 winning four bouts, then he fought and won three in 2016, just twice in 2017, and only once in all of 2018. This is not a good pattern. Could it be the Haymon effect?

In November 2017, Nayambayar rose from the canvas in the first round against Harmonito Dela Torre, a guy whose real name is better than any nickname. “King Tug” displayed character and skills by dominating the rest of the bout in a clear UD. In his last bout in May 2018, he delivered a five-knockdown, third-round knockout of former title-holder Oscar Escandon.

When a boxer pounds the hell out of his opponent, landing big shots over and over again, it is natural that the human hand also suffers with these repeated blows. So Nayambayar's badly injured right hand from last May had not healed by September 2018 and the Marreo bout was pushed to January 2019. This Mongolian prospect is stepping up from the club circuit to the big time at the Barclays. This is his 1st time vs a LEFTY as a professional.

Claudio Marrero is a Dominican boxer and one time IBO Featherweight belt holder. In April 2017 he won the vacant title against the undefeated Carlos Zambrano, a Peruvian prizefighter from the local club circuit. An impressive first-round KO gave him the belt, and Zambrano has not fought since that KO. Marrero first title defense was against Puerto Rican matador Jesus M Rojas. Rojas simply solved the “Matrix“ and laid him out in the 7th with a wicked, three-punch combo concluding with a left hook on the chin that crumpled Marrero to the deck. Sitting up and taking Russell Mora's short count, Marrero chose to stay down. That decision and his lack of ownership for his performance got him banned from German Caicedo's Miami gym.

So Marrero regrouped and found a new trainer. Nelson Rodriguez, who is based in the Legacy Fitness Gym in Winterpark FL. In his 2018 comeback bout Claudio got the stoppage over a previously unbeaten club fighter named Jorge Lara (29-0-2, 21 KOs) at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. The Matrix” ended the 27-year-old Lara’s run of nine KOs in his previous 11 fights. This next bout may be Claudio Marrero best chance to get back on track with an upset win over the Mongolian prospect “King Tug” Nayambayar.

“Styles make fights.”

“King Tug” boxes orthodox and is a pressure fighter. An excellent boxer/puncher, the amateur experience shines through with his great balance and footwork. Nyambayar is a master of distance control, using good head/body movement he compensates perfectly for his relatively short reach. His sharp, short hooks and uppercuts are truly evil when they land. “King Tug” enjoys using his overhand right when it's time to put out the lights. But since this is Nyambayar's first time boxing a LEFTY as professional, perhaps he should consider leading with the tried and true straight right in his maiden southpaw matchup.

Claudio Marrero fights southpaw and is a seriously fast counter-puncher. His chin is a bit too high, and he relies a little too much on his reflexes for avoiding punches. The “Matrix” uses a pawing, versatile jab that can also sting. With quick hands and nice combinations, he likes getting into the pocket. Marrero's stable base enables him to “sit down” on his punches and deliver decent power. But his dependence on his athletic abilities rather than a tight defense may be his greatest weakness.

Jab Hook's keys to victory

“King Tug”-

1) Establish the jab and circle left

2) Take time to evaluate and pursue

3) Use well-timed lead right hands after reset

4) Work the body, don't hook with a hooker

“The Matrix”-

1) Jump on him quickly to provoke exchanges

2) Win the foot battle, right foot always outside his left

3) Counter punch over the jab, mix in lead lefts

4) Disrupt his style, clinch, throw hooks inside

This is Nyambayar’s biggest test in his career. Props to him and his management for taking on a dangerous foe in Marrero. The winner gets to face southpaw WBC champion Gary Russell. In his last bout “King Tug” looked mature and controlled. He attacked effectively, never smothering his work. Though he knocked his opponent down repeatedly, he did not rush the KO, he just enjoyed it. Long live “King Tug”!

Joe's Prediction: “King Tug” Nyambayar will solve the “Matrix“ and stop Marerro in the 6th round.


Miguel Cruz vs. Luis Eduardo Florez in 8 rounds of welterweight boxing.

This is a floater bout to fill an broadcast gaps caused by early KOs, so mute your expectations.

Cruz has fought mostly in smaller venues. The one time he stepped up, he lost by UD to Lopez.

Florez is the second last minute opponent to jump into this slot. A journeyman, professional opponent,

Tomato Can, he will earn a cute little payday and sleep in a good hotel in NYC.

Jab Hook's keys to victory: Cruz- Take your time, but get the damn job done!

Florez- Run and hide, or stand and trade. Hit the deck the first time he touches you.

Context of Bout in the Welterweight Division: Completely irrelevant.

Jab's Prediction: Cruz has a harder time than expected, but eventually get his rhythm forcing a TKO in the 7th round.

Check tomorrow for Jab Hook's Epilogue on the bouts from the Barclay Center, Brooklyn, New York City, January 26th, 2019.

–“Jab Hook”, aka “Brooklyn” Joe Healy is a boxing expert commentator for, a professional cutman from the BOXWERK gym, and a licensed referee/judge in amateur boxing. A lifelong aficionado born in Brooklyn and living in Munich, “The Sweet Science” is his passion. Please feel free to contact him as Jab Hook on FaceBook, at [email protected], or on Twitter

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