Heavyweight Veteran Ben Rothwell
The bout between Ovince Saint Preux and Ben Rothwell is more important right now than most ranked matchups at heavyweight. Rothwell is one of those fighters that is exciting, but also strange and modest-looking. While he was never a top talent, he beat a lot of guys whose names you probably still remember. He also beat them when they were pretty relevant in the division. Any fighter in the division will get a solid test from Ben that will last a few rounds. Ben is almost 40, and usually, this means a fighter is over the hill. At Heavyweight, however, many of the best are in their mid-thirties or older.
OSP’s Upside at Heavyweight
Casual fans love Heavyweights. Fighters who are almost the sole representatives of their ethnic groups usually have good star potential. That’s great for OSP as a Haitian-American. He is quiet and he wears his glasses at the press conference, but certainly has a flair for the dramatic. What more would you expect from a fraternity brother of Omega Psi Phi? OSP is a Q-dog that’s ready for war, and he has the brand to prove it.
The performance of each fighter is even more important than the outcome. OSP is probably the smaller man overall, but smaller fighters with his physical attributes do well in higher weight divisions. Nothing about his movement is particularly graceful, but his fundamentals were solid enough to make a good run at Light Heavyweight.
The result of this fight will set up something really exciting. The cherry on top of it all is that OSP has a very dangerous submission game on top of his thunderous power. This is very rare; I cannot stress that enough. OSP has multiple Von Flue choke victories and multiple knockouts. Rothwell has KOs and submissions as well, so the chances of either of them going to sleep is a coin flip.
One thing OSP has struggled with is his muscular endurance in a lot of fights. When he slows down in fights, it usually looks the same; his legs get wobbly and his punches are slower. So, he seems to be less affected by poor conditioning and more by muscle fatigue. Lots of heavyweights have this same problem because, like OSP, what they lack in endurance they make up for in explosive power.
I see OSP’s frame to be more suited for heavyweight not only because of his muscular endurance but because of his mechanics. His reach is really long, so his punches are looping. Heavyweights will not be able to counter him as easily as Light Heavyweights easily because they are slower, and that is to OSP benefit.
Rothwell is still a very good test, but he is not overwhelmingly technical. Lucky for OSP, Rothwell is also not very athletic. Rothwell’s game is limited, but his chin is reliable and the techniques he does, he does well. You never know with Big Ben. It is clear that his talent is limited, but he knows how to win, so for any heavyweight today, that’s a problem.
Despite OSP’s limiting LHW frame, he never stops hustling. When he was getting handled by Corey Anderson, he kept throwing to end the fight and pulled off the KO because of it. Of course, he can still go five rounds at LHW, but the Heavyweight pace will suit him much more. Because many heavyweights also hit their prime later in life, it is likely that OSP will have a career resurgence after this move.
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Ovince Saint Preux