Thursday, June 2, 2016

Craig Baker vs. Steve Lovett

Crosstown Texas rivals collide in Florida
By Peter Lim

In an intriguing east-versus-west matchup between two Houston area light heavyweights, Craig Baker (16-1, 12 KOs) takes on Steve Lovett (15-0, 12 KOs) on June 12 at the Lakeland Events Center in Florida. Scheduled for 10 rounds, the fight will be aired on Bounce TV.

Baker hails from Baytown, about 30 miles east of Houston, and Lovett from Stafford, a suburb just southwest of Houston. The cross town fight is as dead-even a match-up in actuality as it is on paper. The winner propels himself from prospect to contender while the loser takes a U-turn back to the proverbial square one. Kudos to both fighters for taking such a risky fight at this early juncture in their careers.

Being from the same area, they have sparred before so they will not be too much of a mystery to each other. Having similar styles, both boxers favor utilizing thumping jabs to set up potentially fight-ending rights. Standing at six-foot-two, Lovett has a slight height advantage over Baker.

While Baker, 31, represents Lovett's sternest test to date, Baker has faced tougher opposition. In his last fight Baker took on top-10 contender Edwin Rodriguez, Lovett's sparring partner and stablemate, and lost by third-round TKO in what was widely viewed as a premature stoppage. He is trained by Juan Lopez at the Lopez Boxing Club.

“I’m excited about this opportunity to take on a fighter like Steve Lovett,” Baker said. “He’s highly regarded but I know that I have the skills and experience to beat him. I’m leaving it all in the ring. A win here puts me in position to get big fights so I plan on being impressive.”

Lovett, 31, sold his every worldly possession in Canberra, Australia to move to the United States to train under Ronnie Shields at the Plex Gym in 2014. Since then he has gone 8-0, 7 KOs with one no contest due to a cut. His only non-KO win came in his last fight when his opponent disgracefully and intentionally got himself disqualified by repeatedly hitting below the belt.

"I helped Edwin Rodriguez prepare for his fight against Baker so I know him well," Lovett said. "I am at the stage to step up to the next level.”

See prediction at: 

It's baffling how Lovett was so flawless for the first five rounds but unraveled so thoroughly like a ball of yarn in the second half of the fight. Kudos to Baker for hanging tough and making the right adjustments.