Brodie's strength may carry his cause

When an unbeaten fighter challenges for a world title in the modern era it is often a mismatch and he is exposed because he has been protected from danger in his previous fights. However, when two unbeaten fighters meet for a vacant title anything can happen.

When an unbeaten fighter challenges for a world title in the modern era it is often a mismatch and he is exposed because he has been protected from danger in his previous fights. However, when two unbeaten fighters meet for a vacant title anything can happen.

The Mexican Erik Morales vacated the World Boxing Council super-bantamweight title and tonight at Bowlers, Manchester, the local boxer Michael Brodie meets California's Willie Jorrin for the crown. Morales has gone off in search of Naseem Hamed leaving a vacant title fight that is unusually attractive.

Brodie is unbeaten in 29 fights and has overcome a fine selection of Europe's best, but has never entered the ring in an even fight or as an underdog. Jorrin has won 26 and his list of victims is not as impressive at first glance, but closer scrutiny reveals a steady increase in quality. However, he has only boxed inside the super-bantamweight limit on two occasions and that is disturbing.

"I have met durable opponents from the start because a boxer will never learn if he just knocks people over," Jorrin said. "I'm one of the best kept secrets and I have just been waiting for the chance." His win over Enrique Jupiter is significant because Jupiter was down for 14 seconds and it should have been stopped. Instead, Jorrin won clearly and had to watch in frustration as Jupiter fought Vuyani Bungu for the world title and lost a disputed decision. Bungu avoided Jorrin.

"Willie has knowledge in the ring," said Freddie Roach, who has trained Jorrin for two years. "He is a bit old at 30, but he thinks and I like that." Brodie is not one of the sport's great thinkers but he is strong for a super-bantamweight. There have been rumours that he struggles to make the weight and it is possible that weight will be a factor for both tonight.

Jorrin is three years older but Roach is right when he talks about his fighter's unmarked features and if fights were decided on skills, Jorrin would be a clear winner. However, Brodie is stronger according to a local boxer who has sparred with both of them. Brodie has defended his European championship six times since winning the title in October 1998. If he loses tonight, the pressure of making weight for championship contests will be blamed. Jorrin's more natural and relaxed approach could give him an advantage in a long fight.

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