Lee Haskins vs. Stuart Hall: Fight Time, Date, Preview and TV Info

Rob Lancaster@RobLancs79Featured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2016

Lee Haskins makes the second defence of his IBF title at the O2 Arena on Saturday.
Lee Haskins makes the second defence of his IBF title at the O2 Arena on Saturday.Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Bantamweights Lee Haskins and Stuart Hall meet for a second time on Saturday, as their clash for the IBF title provides the chief support for the Gennady Golovkin-Kell Brook showdown at the O2 Arena in London.

Haskins (33-3, 14 KOs) is the reigning champion on a hot streak. Since losing to Stephane Jamoye in December 2012, he's reeled off seven wins on the spin.

Hall (20-4-2, 7 KOs), however, is a former holder who wants the belt back. He also wants revenge, having lost on points to his fellow Englishman in a European title fight in July 2012.

There is no love lost between the pair, as demonstrated at Wednesday's pre-fight press conference:

At least they don't have to wait much longer to settle their differences in the ring. Before Golovkin and Brook take centre stage, expect fireworks between two little men with a point to prove.

   

When: Saturday, September 10, 9:30 p.m. BST (4:30 p.m. ET)

Where: O2 Arena, London

TV: Sky Sports Box Office (UK)

   

Late Bloomer

Lee Haskins makes the second defence of his IBF title at the O2 Arena on Saturday.
Lee Haskins makes the second defence of his IBF title at the O2 Arena on Saturday.Harry Trump/Getty Images

For so long, Haskins looked like he would fall short of fulfilling his potential.

After winning the Commonwealth flyweight title in just his 15th professional outing, the boxer from Bristol seemed destined to go on and become a world champion.

He eventually got there—nearly a decade later and at a different weight.

The reason for the delay was solely down to Haskins, who wasn't dedicated to his profession. The nickname Playboy was handed out for a reason—his focus was too often on life away from the gym.

Eventually, the penny dropped. Now fully committed to his job, the 33-year-old has put together a string of impressive results to finally reach the summit.

It helped when former IBF champion Randy Caballero failed to make weight, thereby handing over the title on the scales rather than in the ring. However, that should not detract from Haskins' late-career flourish.

Before contemplating potential unification fights—with fellow Englishman Jamie McDonnell, the WBA champion, an obvious target—Haskins first has to deal with Hall.

The champion expects history to repeat itself in their second meeting, only this time the judges won't be required. He told Andy Stockhausen of the Bristol Post:

He's always boxed the same way. He walks forward, his feet are slow and he's there to be hit. My footwork and hand speed will be too good for him, just like they were last time.

I won the last fight comfortably and I reckon I'll beat him even more convincingly this time. I feel strong in training, I'm hitting hard and I reckon I could get this one done inside the distance.

Haskins' career KO ratio of 39 per cent doesn't support his prediction of a stoppage win, but Hall's willingness to march forward could play right into his hands.

   

All or Nothing

Stuart Hall (right) had to work hard to defeat Rodrigo Guerrero in an IBF title eliminator.
Stuart Hall (right) had to work hard to defeat Rodrigo Guerrero in an IBF title eliminator.Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

At 36, Hall understands he faces a must-win situation at the weekend.

The IBF strap is special to him, having previously claimed it with victory over South African southpaw Vusi Malinga in December 2013.

His reign didn't last long. After a technical draw with Martin Ward (a cut ended that bout early), Hall came out on the wrong end of a split-decision verdict against Paul Butler.

Unlike Haskins, he did make it to the ring against Caballero, losing to the American on points when the pair were ordered by the IBF to meet for their vacant crown.

Since that reverse in October 2014, Hall has recorded four successive victories, all on points.

However, only last time out, against Rodrigo Guerrero in April, was he actually up against a viable opponent. That victory in an eliminator paved the way for a chance at redemption.

Per Matchroom Boxing's official press release, Hall is confident he will even the score at one win apiece: "Haskins is a frail little girl. He's not going to put a dent in me. I'm going to steam through him and quick. I can't wait to see his face when he's on the floor."

Like Haskins, Hall is hardly known for his power. Of his 20 career victories to date, only seven have come inside the distance.

Still, the animosity between the pair suggests both will go head hunting.

There's nothing either would like more than to knock the other man out, not just in terms of the actual fight but also the world title scene. For the loser, it is tough to see a route back to world level.

    

Prediction

Haskins and Hall are chalk and cheese when it comes to fighting styles. While the former is a smooth southpaw happy boxing on the back foot, the latter is a forward-marching fighter who doesn't mind a scrap.

For the challenger, the key is engaging Haskins in a battle. He can use his 5'8" frame to shorten the gap against someone who can be a tricky customer to pin down.

However, his performance against Guerrero won't have worried Haskins. The judges' scores of 117-111 were generous in favour of the winner.

If he retains his focus in the heat of battle, the champion will triumph again. A stoppage looks unlikely, so expect a unanimous decision on the cards instead.

   

Bleacher Report will be blogging the action from the O2 Arena. Join us on Saturday to keep up to date with the action in the English capital.

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