Up and coming heavyweight prospects always get a lot of attention. When that prospect is American, their fights are worthy of a small parade.
The American heavyweight situation has been ugly since Evander Holyfield was actually young enough to be a serious contender, but things may be looking up.
One reason for optimism on this front is the emergence of undefeated 32-year-old Malik "King" Scott (35-0, 12 KO). On Saturday, Scott will face the toughest test of his career when he squares off against Vyacheslav "The Czar" Glazkov (14-0, 10 KO).
Someone's "0" must go in this one. Here's how you can watch the fight, a closer look at the fighters and the matchup.
When: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: The Paramount, Huntington, N.Y.
TV: NBC Sports
The Book on Scott
Undefeated and Relatively Unknown
How can an American heavyweight with a 35-0 record be relatively unknown? In Scott's case, he's had only two fights scheduled for more than eight rounds, and the Philly native has yet to face any notable competition.
A near four-year layoff will also do a number on your notoriety in the sport. Despite beginning his career 32-0, Scott didn't fight from 2009 to 2011.
He looks the part, which is saying something considering where he once was physically.
Scott is lean, muscular and his torso is filled with tattoos. If he isn't one of the baddest heavyweights in the world, the 6'4" 226-pound contender could fool most with his appearance.
Early in his career, he battled weight problems, fighting as heavy as 255 pounds in December 2008. He admitted to The Ring magazine that he was a bit frustrated with a career he felt wasn't progressing, and depression led him to balloon to 290 pounds.
I used to sit there and feel sorry from myself. Something had to be done. At the time, I would say there was some depression going on. When you get up to 290 pounds, I was having some happy depression, you can say.
I had good people around me that always treated me like I was the heavyweight champion of the world. Then I see Chazz Witherspoon and Chris Arreola, everyone I came up with, doing great and on TV. Everyone was doing great except me. Everyone was God and was I just a peasant. That’s the feel of it.”
Now Scott is ready to become a boxing God, but he must first dispatch a very tough, and equally as promising, undefeated Ukrainian challenger in Glazkov.
In this video, Scott talks about his upcoming opponent.
In the Ring
Scott works almost exclusively behind the jab, which is a good thing, because he has a very strong one. His hands are quick, and he snaps the punch.
He's a very big man with broad shoulders, but he hasn't displayed ultra impressive punching power. That said, in the heavyweight division, almost any man can hurt his opponent, but Scott is in no way a devastating puncher by the division's standards.
He's a skilled and athletic boxer that looks to pick his opponents apart. He has been criticized for putting on boring fights and not showing fire (per Dan Rafael of ESPN), but he still manages to come out victorious.
In his most recent bout, Scott out-boxed Bowie Tupou before the fight was stopped due to an arm injury suffered by Tupou. It wasn't the most impressive win, but it precipitated this golden opportunity Scott has to impress on national television.
Here is a video of that bout.
The Book on Glazkov
Another Dominant Ukrainian Star?
With the heavyweight division already being ruled by the Ukrainian Klitschko brothers, Glazkov could be in line to take the torch from his legendary countrymen.
He is obviously early in his boxing career, but he has been impressive thus far.
Most recently, he easily stopped an overmatched Tor Hamer in December 2012, in a previous NBC Sports boxing showcase. Glazkov is quickly becoming a favorite of the network.
He fights a very crowd-pleasing style, and he identifies with an American audience better than many fighters that hail from other countries.
Though born in Lugansk, Ukraine, Glazkov resides and fights out of New Jersey. The 28-year-old has everything he needs to become a star in the division, sans the major victories.
He'll be looking to add one of those on Saturday.
In the Ring
Glazkov shows good—but not great—hand speed with plus power. He's willing to bang and exchange with his opponent, and he definitely has the power to hurt heavyweights.
At 6'3" 225 pounds, he's nearly the same size as Scott, but he is naturally more powerful.
His style will have him push the action, but his challenge will be avoiding and countering Scott's jab. It is of course a major tempo-setter, and it could frustrate Glazkov as he attempts to get inside.
A concern for Glazkov in this fight is his tendency to throw one punch as opposed to combinations. He'll need to be more active, and to take advantage of his opportunities to touch Scott.
The jab will limit Glazkov's access to exchanges, and he may be chasing Scott and eating jabs for the bulk of the fight.
Title Bout Championship Boxing 2 Prediction
The simulations from TBCB 2 were decidedly in Scott's favor. He won seven of the 10 simulated bouts.
All but one of those wins came by decision, and all but one of those decisions were unanimous. The three simulations that went Glazkov's way were all unanimous decision victories.
From the statistics that were generated, Scott was busier, more accurate and the jab was his most prominent weapon.
Here are two screenshots from the game that tell the story.
I'm actually in total agreement with the predominant result generated from TBCB 2. Scott may not be the most dynamic fighter, but he gets the job done. He reminds me of Michael Nunn in that respect.
I see his experience, length, athleticism and jab being too much for Glazkov, and he'll win a unanimous decision. He may not win over a ton of fans with the victory, but I predict he'll claim one nonetheless.