By Ian S Palmer
Lee Selby of Wales will be defending his IBF World Featherweight Championship for the third time this Saturday, July 15th when he takes on former WBA World Champion Jonathan Victor Barros of Argentina. The fight is on the undercard of the IBO Super Middleweight Championship tilt between Chris Eubank Jr. and challenger Arthur Abraham at the SSE Wembley Arena in London, England. The 12-round bout can be seen on pay-per-view in the U.S. while British fans can catch the action live on ITV Box Office and Canadian fans can see it on Super Channel. This fight was scheduled for last January 28th, but called off when Barros had problems with his boxing license in Las Vegas.
Selby last fought in March when he stopped Andoni Gago in the ninth round of a non-title bout. Barros was last in action in October when he beat Satoshi Hosono by split decision. Selby won the crown by beating Evgeny Gradovich by technical decision in May of 2015. His first defence was a 12-round unanimous decision over Fernando Montiel and his second defence was against Eric Hunter in a fight he won by unanimous decision. He’s a solid pro, but naysayers feel he hasn’t proven himself against top opposition as of yet.
The 30-year-old Selby enters the ring with a record of 24-1 with 9 Kos and he’s won his last 20 contests. Selby should be confident heading into this fight after winning and defending the title a couple of times already, but can’t afford to take Barros lightly. There’s no hiding the fact that Selby doesn’t offer much in the way of power with just nine stoppages to his name for a knockout ratio of just 36 per cent. Selby stands just over 5-feet-8-inches with a reach of 69.5 inches and has fought 183 rounds since turning pro in 2008.
Selby’s lone defeat came against Samir Mouneimne via a four-round decision back in 2009. Other than Gradovich, Hunter, Montiel and Rendall Munroe, the champion hasn’t really fought anyone of note though. He won the title when Gradovich couldn’t continue after eight rounds in their title bout because of a cut over his eye which was caused by an accidental clash of heads. The bout went to the scorecards and Selby was ahead by a wide margin on the cards of all three judges. However, Selby’s beaten everybody he’s faced in the past six years so it’s hard to knock him.
The 33-year-old veteran Barros will climb into the ring with a record of 41-4-1 with 22 Kos. He’s boxed 276 rounds since turning pro in 2004 so has the edge in experience. His height and reach is unlisted by BoxRec, so we’re not sure of his size, but his knockout ratio currently stands at 48 per cent. His four losses have been to Yuriorkis Gamboa in a world title fight by unanimous decision in 2010. He also dropped unanimous decisions to Celestino Caballero in 2011 and Juan Carlos Salgado in 2012 in world title fights and was stopped by Mikey Garcia in the eighth round in 2012.
Barros lost three bouts in a stretch of four fights at the time. He won the vacant WBA Featherweight Title in 2010 with a seventh-round TKO over Irving Berry. He then defended it against Miguel Roman and Caballero by a unanimous and split decision respectively before losing it to Caballero in a rematch in 2011. His loss against Salgado in 2012 was for the IBF Super Featherweight Crown. Barros’ other top wins have been against Victor Hugo Paz, Carlos Rodriguez and Hosono. Barros is a tough customer who definitely has the skills to beat most opponents if he’s at his best.
Barros has plenty of experience and a solid chin whereas Selby is regarded as one of the division’s lightest hitters. However, Selby’s boxing skills are underrated by most at this stage of his career. Barros’ opponents over the past few years have been more of the Grade B level and that may hurt him, but he’s definitely faced some fine opposition in his career. Selby has the edge if the fight goes the distance while Barros has the edge if it turns into a brawl. Let’s go with Selby by decision in this one.
Barros lack of top opponents recently may hurt him.