Showtime from France

by Pedro Fernandez

Tonight SHOWTIME Championship Boxing goes to Nimes, France to display the talents of two capable champions. In the main event, Frenchman Fabrice Tiozzo defends the WBA cruiserweight title against American Terry Ray, with the main support coming from WBC middleweight champ Keith Holmes defending against another Frenchie in Hassine Cherifi.

Tiozzo has a style that would best be described as unusual. But it's worked well for him as his professional record of 37-1, with 23 KO's can attest to. He will be making the first defense of the WBA laurels he won from Nate Miller last November.

Opposing Tiozzo, will be Terry Ray of Indiana. A tough guy best known for his televised war with Kenny Keene, he brings a modest record of 36-5, with 22 KO's, to the 12 round WBA cruiserweight dance.

Odds: 4-1, Tiozzo over Ray. Prediction: Tiozzo wins ugly in 9 rounds.

The WBC middleweight (160 lbs) title fight will showcase the much improved Keith Holmes. Thought to be nothing but a slapper early on, Keith has KO'd his last three foes to push his mark to 30-1, 20 KO's.

Cherifi is a guy who has shown he can take a licking and comeback big. Last year in the UK, Cherifi survived two knockdowns before roaring back to stop Neville Brown in a European title fight. He is 24-2-1, 17 KO's.

Odds: Holmes 3 1/2 to 1, over Cherifi. Prediction: Odds low considering Frenchman's resume. Holmes steps closer to fight with IBF "world" middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins by crushing Cherefi in five heats.

Pedro Fernandez

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