Dusty Hernandez: What to Expect from Top Prospect in Fight with Ben Ankrah

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Dusty Hernandez: What to Expect from Top Prospect in Fight with Ben Ankrah
Photo by Juan Marshall

In what will be his fifth fight in 2013, up-and-coming welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (15-0, 9 KOs) will face Ben Ankrah (17-15, 8 KOs) in a six-round bout on Saturday, June 28.

The fight will be part of the non-televised portion of the Gennady Golovkin vs. Matthew Macklin card. The boxing event—a portion of which is being broadcast by HBO—will be held at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

The Ankrah matchup marks another step up in competition and exposure for Hernandez-Harrison who is coming off of his most high-profile victory over Eddie Soto via TKO in Round 5 on May 18.

Hernandez-Harrison knows that Ankrah will provide a tough challenge, saying, “I want guys that are going to push me and make me fight my best because ultimately that will make me a better fighter.”

It’s clear he has the mindset and work ethic to be successful in the sport of boxing, but can he get past a game veteran like Ankrah?

Read on for a breakdown of what to expect from Hernandez-Harrison in his toughest fight to date vs. Ankrah.

 

Styles Make Fights

Hernandez-Harrison vs. Ankrah is a tale of two styles. The younger fighter—Hernandez-Harrison—is the more patient and calculating fighter, while Ankrah is the high-output, pressure fighter.

Hernandez-Harrison will need to control the action by setting up his combinations behind an effective jab. Against Soto, he showed a good jab early on in rounds, but then only used it sparingly.

This didn’t adversely affect the young welterweight because Soto never turned up the pressure. A stiff jab can certainly help Hernandez-Harrison negate Ankrah’s willingness to jump in and mix it up on the inside.

Though this is a step up in competition for Hernadnez-Harrison, expect him to be ready for Ankrah’s fast-paced style. As Jeff Fried—Dusty’s advisor—said, "Dusty is facing a very crafty fighter who will show him looks he has yet to see since turning pro." In reviewing Ankrah's performances vs. Mike Arnaoutis and Chad Bennett, you can see that the Ghanaian fighter likes to throw punches in bunches.

While he does show good head movement and is able to slip punches, Ankrah has the tendency to keep his hands low and simply pulls his head back to dodge blows. This cost him against Bennett as he was knocked out in Round 4.

 

Power

Ankrah has been knocked out three times in 15 losses. His most recent knockout loss came at the hands of Bennett in January.

If Hernandez-Harrison can learn anything from that fight, it’s that Ankrah is comfortable with exchanging blows in close quarters and that it takes more than one punch to finish him off.

At only 19 years of age, Hernandez-Harrison has knocked out grown men even double his age—like Soto. A knockout vs. the rugged Ankrah will be an even more impressive feat for the D.C. native and certainly a confidence builder.

Ankrah is dangerous simply for the fact that he is battle-tested against some notable opposition including Arnaoutis, Patrick Allotey and Thomas Dulorme.

The most important aspect regarding those bouts is that Ankrah went the distance in each one.

Hernandez-Harrison is known for being patient and he is used to dictating the pace of a fight. But if Ankrah has his way, he will push the pace and viewers could get some fireworks before all is said and done.

 

Experience

In front of his hometown DC crowd, Hernandez-Harrison showed the experience of a veteran ring general. He calmly picked his shots vs. Soto and most impressively did not get excited when he knocked him down in Round 2.

That sort of patience is what Hernandez-Harrison hopes to build on.

Because Saturday’s bout is scheduled for six rounds, Ankrah can’t push his younger opponent to a round that he hasn’t seen before. What he can do is make those six rounds feel like 12 by applying constant pressure and working the body early and often.

Hernandez-Harrison is comfortable getting rounds under his belt and gaining valuable fight experience. If the knockout is there, he will go for it. But as long as he is comfortable with the speed of the bout, he won't be afraid to take a decision win either.

 

Outcome

One of the most impressive parts of Hernandez-Harrison’s game is that he acts like he’s been in the spotlight before.

As he has done in the past, look for Hernandez-Harrison to stay relaxed vs. the more experience fighter.

Look for Ankrah to start fast and continue his aggressive style until he gets buzzed by a combination. In the end, Hernandez-Harrison will cruise to a decision victory and move on to bigger fights.

 

All quotes obtained from Dusty Hernandez-Harrison versus Ben Ankrah press release.

Alejandro "A-TRAIN" Burgos is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and founder of Round By Round Boxing. Follow him on Twitter @RBRBoxing.

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