While I don’t necessarily think this fight will be competitive I do think it’s good that Abass Baraou is getting active again. Baraou is in my opinion the best active German fighter and one of the most talented prospects in the super welterweight division. He had a great fight with Jack Culcay last year which he lost by split decision however I felt he clearly won that fight and should really be looking at a final eliminator with the IBF right now rather than building back up after the loss. Meriton Karaxha has a huge opportunity in this fight to break onto the world stage after a long career fighting on the fringe European level circuit.
Abass Baraou has good footwork and is generally light on his feet compared to Karaxha who is a bit more flat footed. Baraou works to the body well and is consistent with his activity in rounds rather than fighting in bursts. I think Baraou has respectable power especially at this level and with Karaxha moving up in weight I expect Baraou to be able to hurt him.
Meriton Karaxha is a boxer-puncher who likes to come forward and throw wide looping hooks, often in three or four punch combinations. His defence consists of him holding his gloves up in an ineffective guard around his face and from footage he seems very susceptible to left hooks, or anything thrown from the left hand. He’s not a big puncher at welterweight so I don’t expect his power to travel up to super welterweight which puts him in a hard situation. He’s highly unlikely to out-box Baraou and he can’t outfight him either so his only path to victory is to outwork him and fight the fight of his life against a perhaps unmotivated Baraou. I’d be surprised if he could do this as everything is stacked against him and Baraou doesn’t seem like the type of fighter to be lazy and unfocused but I’ve seen stranger things in boxing. Michael Hunter being held to a draw by Jerry Forrest recently after seemingly coming in unmotivated and unfit is a great example of why underdogs have to give it their all because you never know when you can catch the favorite unprepared. For the record I thought Forrest clearly beat Hunter and was unlucky to not get the decision, one that would have changed the direction of his career and got him big opportunities in the future.
I think Abass Baraou will use his compact combinations to the body and head to pick Karaxha apart and win by stoppage in the 4th or 5th round. Baraou should have too many tools for Karaxha to deal with especially considering hes moving up a weight class and isn’t a big enough puncher to make up for the difference in skill. If Baraou wins this fight I hope he steps up in competition again and attempts to win the EBU title versus Jama Saidi or steps up to fringe world level.