Boxing throws up surprises from time to time which keeps all us fight fans on the edge of our seat regardless of the one-sided nature of the contest, knowing that one well-placed shot could swing the pendulum, from the outside, Carl Frampton and Tyson Fury should come through their encounters with relative ease but the same can’t necessarily be said of Paddy Barnes (5-0-0, 1 KO) challenge of the champion Cristofer Rosales (27-3-0, 18 KOs) which looks on paper to be a genuine 50/50 encounter.
I saw first-hand what the Nicaraguan brings to the table, witnessing the pressure he exerts when he came out on the losing end of a contest with the talented Andrew Selby but not without scoring a knockdown on the elusive Barry fighter in the process.
Since then though he has gone from strength to strength, reeled off four wins on the bounce, beating Daigo Higa for the WBC Flyweight crown last time out in the former champion’s backyard of Yokohama via stoppage.
At the time although missing weight by two pounds, Higa still held a record of 15-0 with all victories coming by knockout/stoppage, so it still presented quite the surprise to some.
Nicaragua’s only present World champion, Rosales doesn’t have the fondest of memories of the Uk, twice arriving on these shores, twice going home with losses (Yafai, Selby) he will be aiming to put that right on Saturday with his confidence at an all-time high the hopes carried on his shoulders from the small fighting country of Nicaragua.
The challenger who will stand across the ring from him is a decorated amateur who’s accomplishments are far too long to put into this article, Paddy Barnes is a two-time Olympic Bronze Medallist who will look to capture the title in just his sixth professional fight in what would be a dream result in front of his hometown crowd.
In his previous contest, he was able to score the first knockout of his career which just so happened to be against Rosales’ compatriot Eliecer Quezada, taking his record to five without loss.
The questions I had asked myself in the run-up to Rosales’ match up with Andrew Selby, was whether the fight had come too soon? That is the same thought process for this fight.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, Andrew Selby answered resoundingly for his part, fighting off the back foot to stave off the advances of Rosales using his quick hand speed to defuse the attacks of the away fighter, this isn’t the style of Barnes who will need to come up with a different game plan than the one employed by ‘AC Superstar’ but will like Andrew was, be pushed on by his hometown support on the night.
I’ve heard a lot of people state that Barnes is the underdog entering the contest, especially after the showing of Rosales against Higa, I find myself at a juncture of not being able to pick unanimously. the one thing I know for sure is this overwhelmingly would be my pick to be the fight of the night at Windsor Park in Dublin.