For boxing heads lucky enough to be attending the fights at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, you will get to see young prospect Luis “Cuba” Arias (4-0, 3 KOs) square off against DonYil Livingston (8-2-1, 4 KOs) in a six-round super middleweight bout.
Arias is of Cuban descent, but was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is one of the bright up-and-coming stars in Floyd Mayweather’s “Money Team” stable.
After winning his first fight by decision, Arias has stopped his previous three opponents, once in Round 2 and twice in Round 1. Livingston is no pushover, but has succumbed to his previous two opponents, most recently by way of disputed knockout.
Read on for my preview and prediction of Arias vs. Livingston.
|Luis Arias||DonYil Livingston|
|Record:||4-0, 3 KOs||8-2, 4 KOs|
|Residence:||Milwaukee, WI ||
Neither fighter has an extensive professional record, but both have notable amateur backgrounds.
According to MayweatherPromotions.com, Arias compiled an amateur record of 140-25. Livingston, on the other hand, finished his amateur career with an impressive 178-23 record (according to Wikipedia).
Don’t let the fact that Arias is part of TMT fool you—Livingston is not coming in to roll over. Both men are young, but at 28 years old, Livingston cannot afford a third straight loss.
Stats courtesy of BoxRec.com
For Luis Arias, this fight is part of a continued effort to prove that he belongs in the discussion of serious up-and-coming prospects. Can Arias handle the exposure so early in his career?
According to MayweatherPromotions.com, Arias hopes to finish 2013 off at 10-0 and crack the top 20 middleweight rankings. If he is able to get past a tough opponent like Livingston, he may be able to reach those goals and prove he is ready for a televised slot like fellow TMT fighter J’Leon Love.
For DonYil Livingston, the future is now. After suffering two straight losses, this fight can determine how the rest of his career will go. Will he be just another name on his opponent’s ledger? Or will he capitalize on this opportunity and catapult himself into the super middleweight contender discussion.
We’ll find out on Saturday night.
Because Arias only has four professional bouts, we haven’t witnessed a full display of his arsenal quite yet. What I can say is that Arias is an athletic fighter who works the body nicely. He employs a nice shoulder-roll defense as well as good footwork to get out of his opponent's striking distance.
Arias’ biggest strength at this point may be all of the top-level exposure he’s gotten in sparring from being part of The Money Team.
YouTube is filled with Arias’ sparring session videos, and according to the Fox Sports broadcast team during his fight vs. Joshua Robertson, Arias has gotten a chance to spar with the likes of Ishe Smith and Floyd Mayweather. That’s world-class experience that Arias will definitely be thankful for in the future.
DonYil Livingston possesses a strong and effective jab. The jab will be the key to any offense Livingston is able to put together. He sometimes elects to start a round behind two or three sharp jabs—like in his fights against Paul Mendez and Steve Macomber—but then backs off a bit.
Livingston will definitely need to use the jab consistently against Arias in order to give himself a shot at winning. He works pretty well on the inside and outside, but against Arias he should try to primarily work behind his jab and make the younger fighter chase him and waste some energy.
Livingston should keep in mind that Arias can sometimes get caught swinging for the fences, so taking him into the later rounds could be key in playing to Livingston's strengths.
While this fight is only a six-round bout, Arias’ current longest outing was in his debut vs. Josh Thorpe, which was a four-round decision win.
Luis Arias is a gifted fighter and it’s tough to point out any glaring weaknesses. Considering this will only be his fifth professional bout, his inexperience can probably be cited as his biggest weakness.
Arias can definitely stand to improve on his technique, but to be fair, we need to see him go past Round 1 or 2 in order to give an accurate assessment of his progress.
I can say that if Arias throws too many punches early on in the fight in an effort to put on a show and take Livingston out quickly, he may get tired and set himself up for disaster in the later rounds.
DonYil Livingston’s biggest weakness may be the psychological effect that his two-fight losing streak has had on him. To be fair, it must be said that his last fight was unjustly stopped. With a clear view of the action, referee Dan Collins ruled that a low blow was a clean shot and proceeded to count Livingston out.
Aside from the losing streak, Livingston can also have lapses in concentration during fights. He needs to stick to a box-first game plan and keep Arias on his toes as much as possible.
Livingston can certainly mix things up on the inside, but if he allows Arias to keep him on the ropes the whole night, it might spell trouble for the underdog.
Luis Arias will win this fight if he can stay focused throughout the bout and impose his will on DonYil Livingston. The fact that Arias is fighting on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero is a big deal, but he can’t let that creep into his mind during the bout.
Arias must be ready to fight a complete six-round fight, and certainly not underestimate the very game Livingston.
If Arias works the body consistently and doesn’t have to over-exert himself to get to a comfortable spot to throw punches, he should be able to break Livingston down and stop him or at the very least win by convincing decision.
DonYil Livingston definitely has the ability to win. In order to do so, he has to fight a smart bout and maintain distance for the majority of the fight.
Above all, Livingston must work behind an effective jab and make Arias desperate to find him. Livingston must focus on fighting a complete fight and not worry about whether he earns a knockout or decision win—even though he is fighting a Mayweather-promoted fighter on a Mayweather fight card.
If Livingston is able to negate Arias’ body attack, he should have enough stamina to execute a good box-first game plan and win by decision.
Because of Arias’ resources—the top-notch sparring and mentoring—coupled with his natural boxing ability, it’s hard to pick against him in this fight.
At the same time, Livingston’s stellar amateur background and respectable professional work make him a live underdog. The fact that this is somewhat of a crossroads fight in Livingston’s career gives him an added level of motivation as well.
But, at the end of the day, Arias will be able to impose his will with vicious body shots and strong combinations up top. Arias will show more craft and be able to move one step closer towards his year-end goals.
Arias by decision