Friday, March 11, 2011
AFC North fights we'd like to see
By James Walker
Earlier this week Baltimore Ravens safety and professional boxer Tom Zbikowski said he'd like to get Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco in the ring. Ochocinco responded via Twitter that Zbikowski couldn't beat him, making for an entertaining back and forth between two division rivals.
With Zbikowski set to have his second professional fight on Saturday, here is an AFC North offseason boxing card we'd like to put together, along with predictions.
Bout No. 1: Ochocinco vs. Zbikowski
Analysis: Ochocinco uses his quickness to avoid Zbikowski early. But Zbikowski, a trained boxer, cuts off the ring in the second round and puts Ochocinco down for the count. Afterwards, Ochocinco asks the ref for a personal foul penalty to no avail.
AFCN blog pick: Zbikowski by KO in Round 2
Bout No. 2: Ravens DL Haloti Ngata vs. Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey
Analysis: Ngata enters the ring with the perfect combination of brute strength and surprisingly nimble feet. Pouncey gives Ngata a good test. But the rookie is eventually worn down by Ngata's power and experience.
AFCN blog pick: Ngata by KO in Round 5
Bout No. 3: Ravens RB Willis McGahee vs. Steelers S Ryan Clark
Analysis: In the shortest bout of the night, McGahee and Clark aggressively come at each other and both connect with huge blows to the head, knocking the two fighters out simultaneously.
AFCN blog pick: Double TKO in Round 1
Bout No. 4: Steelers LB James Harrison vs. Browns LT Joe Thomas
Analysis: In a classic fight between a brawler and tactician, Thomas tries to use his height and reach to keep Harrison on the outside. But Harrison's relentlessness finally gets to Thomas and the Browns Pro Bowler is stopped late in the fight.
AFCN blog pick: Harrison by KO in Round 8
Bout No. 5: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger vs. Ravens QB Joe Flacco
Analysis: Flacco comes into this fight with a ton of pressure and is trying to win a big fight for the first time in his career. But despite a game effort, Flacco falls short again. Roethlisberger comes through late by winning the money rounds 8-10 to take a close decision.
AFCN blog pick: Roethlisberger by decision in Round 10
Bout No. 6: Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall vs. Ravens LB Ray Lewis
Analysis: With Nelly's "Hot in Here" blasting throughout the arena, Lewis has the most electrifying entrance of the night. Mendenhall is seeking revenge for a broken shoulder he suffered from Lewis in 2008. But Lewis gets the last laugh, as Mendenhall fumbles his mouthpiece and Lewis takes advantage with a teeth-rattling right hand in Round 7.
AFCN blog pick: Lewis by KO in Round 7
Main event and bout No. 7: Steelers S Troy Polamalu vs. Ravens S Ed Reed
Analysis: Ali-Frazier. ... Hagler-Hearns. ... Reed-Polamalu. The NFL's two best safeties stage a classic battle for 10 rounds that will go down as Ring Magazine's Fight of the Year in 2011. Afterwards, the fight goes to the judges' scorecards.
AFCN blog pick: "Troy Reed"