By Ian S Palmer
There’s an excellent rematch on tap this Saturday, September 10th as veteran Mexican slugger Jesus Soto Karass will be taking on Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai once again, this time at the fabulous Forum in Los Angeles, California. The two super-welterweights met in a slugfest back in April and fought to a 10-round split decision draw. Soto-Karass has never been a world champion, but he’s faced some of the best boxers in the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions over the years. He may not have beaten the top names out there, but he’s always been more than competitive. Kamegai is also known to North American fans for his 12-round slugfest loss to Robert Guerrero in June of 2014. The 10-round bout can be seen live in North America on HBO and on BoxNation in the UK.
The 33-year-old Soto-Karass will enter the ring with a record of 28-10-4 along with 18 Kos. He’s fought the likes of Keith Thurman, Mike Jones, Marcos Maidana, Vince Philips, Yuri Foreman and Devon Alexander and is the only man to stop former welterweight titleholder Andre Berto. The 33-year-old Kamegai climbs through the ropes with a mark of 26-3-2 and has 23 Kos under his belt. His biggest fights have been against Guerrero, Johan Perez and Alfonso Gomez, which were all losses by unanimous decision. The first Soto-Karass bout ended in a draw as one judge had it 97-93 for the Mexican and another had it 96-94 for the Japanese boxer while the third judge scored it 95-95.
The fight lived up to its billing since both Soto-Karass and Kamegai are known more for their brawling abilities than their boxing finesse. They’re both tough with a lot of heart and heavy fists. The matchup in styles provided fans with some excellent entertainment and there’s no reason to believe Saturday night’s contest will be any different. Soto-Karass stands 5-feet-9-inches tall and has a 72-inch reach while Kamegai is 5-foot-9 with a wingspan of 71 inches. Soto-Karass has been stopped three times, by Thurman, Maidana, and Gabriel Rosado, so his chin is questionable at this stage of his career. His knockout ratio stands at 42 per cent and he’s fought 312 rounds since turning pro in 2001.
Kamegai has 176 rounds under his belt since 2005 and has a knockout ratio of 74 per cent. But while Soto-Karass may throw a lot of punches each round, his connect percentage isn’t too impressive. This means he could leave himself open for Kamegai to pick him off with punishing counter shots. Kamegai will also need to show Karass he possesses better-than-average power if he hopes to keep him at bay. The Japanese slugger also has a solid chin as he’s never been stopped. He has the power to turn things around with one or two solid shots if he lands them squarely on Soto-Karass’ jaw. Kamegai also likes to keep busy once the bell rings and this could once again cause a problem for Soto-Karass if he’s not 100 per cent ready.
Both of these boxers like to throw punches and aren’t afraid to take two or three shots to land one of their own. This makes it a fan friendly fight which should once again produce some fireworks along the way and possibly a knockdown or two. Their chins will definitely be tested and the one who can take the best shot will certainly have the advantage. Fans should expect both boxers to just keep moving forward in an attempt to break the other down with powerful shots to the head and body and little use for any boxing skills. Kamegai’s best chance here is to jump on Soto-Karass right from the opening bell. He needs to press the action against the Mexican before he has the chance to settle into a rhythm, but has to be wary of Soto-Karass’ counterpunching. I predicted Kamegai would win the first bout, but thought he was perhaps fortunate to have earned a draw. He knows what to expect from Soto-Karass this time around and will go with Kamegai again. However, another draw isn’t out of the question.