I think I remember seeing clips of this fight or hearing the results and being somewhat surprised. I am familiar with the Puerto Rican boxer, Subriel Matias. Right as COVID began, I was in Puerto Rico for a fight. One of my guys was fighting on Matias’s promoter’s event. A day after we land in Puerto Rico, the entire island is locked down due to COVID and the fights were canceled. We stayed in San Juan for a week, which was nice, aside from the whole COVID thing.
Back to Matias, he is a fearsome puncher. A slugger? For sure a knockout artist. In the first fight with Ananyan, Subriel Matias, lost a decision, but since then he’s won 2 fights by knockout demonstrating his punching prowess.
With limited memory of the first match, I’m going to speculate that Petros Ananyan outboxed Subriel Matias. Just from a strategic view, that’s how that should have played out.
I’m going go to watch that fight and make some observations before discussing their upcoming rematch.
6 rounds into watching the first fight, it is not going how I would have first guessed. First round Petros Ananyan is boxing with good foot work. He’s moving and punching. Circling to his left, and shifting backwards or stutter stepping before he circles, which gives him some space from the Subriel Matias’s right hand. This is a smart move.
After the 1st round, this is becoming a bit of slugfest. They’re fighting in the phone booth, shoulder-to-shoulder. This is, indeed, a strategy against a slugger, especially a mid-range slugger. The inside range smothers the power punching. This is typically not the preferred choice but it becomes the way if you cannot keep the slugger away. Better to go into the eye of the storm than to be destroyed by the wind.
I’m real curious how Petros Ananyan wins this fight. So far, Subriel Matias seems to be up either 5-1 or 6-0; does he fade in these later rounds?
There it is. In the 7th round, Subriel Matias is put on the ropes. And then he gets hit with a series of right over hands and a left hook. He gets rocked and stumbles backwards; gets held upright by the ropes so the referee calls it a knockdown. The rest of the fight goes this way, with Petros Ananyan bringing the fight now. He is the aggressor, forcing the range to be mostly on the inside, shoulder-to-shoulder.
So for the rematch, what do we have? I’m going to have to say that I think Petros Ananyan is actually the more skilled of the two because he has shown the ability to box, and to fight inside. Subriel Matias has the power edge at the mid-range, but if you take that range away, the power diminishes because he hasn’t the leverage or the space to generate force.
The thing with fighting inside like this, is that you don’t just learn that quickly or easily. That is the tire drill. Rounds and rounds in the tire. It seems that going forward with this next fight, Subriel Matias either needs to learn how to fight at this range or learn how to fight of his back foot. Or maybe, he can get good enough at both those things to change the outcome. I’m not sure.
For Petros Ananyan this is still a dangerous fight but his path to victory is pretty clear. Do the same thing as before, box from the outside by choice. Go shoulder-to-shoulder on the inside by necessity.
I think the telling thing was that by the 7th round Subriel Matias was stuck on the ropes. Typically, you’re there on the ropes because you’re either fatigued (tired) or you don’t know how to escape the ropes. In this case, I think both were factors but not being able to escape the ropes seems to be more troublesome.
The adjustments that theses fighters are going to make is really interesting. Subriel Matias can either go harder for the KO early, box more (step back, circle, side-step, or pivot) when Petros Ananyan attempts to go shoulder-to-shoulder, or he can master the inside range.
I think skill-wise boxing off the back foot is easier for Matias to execute, but mentally, it will be harder because of his forward attacking style. Mentally, shoulder-to-shoulder is probably easier but the skill to fight that way does not come easy. Especially when Ananyan put him on the rope you can see the discrepancy in skill at this range. On the rope, you’re flattened out, your stance is squared up and you’re a sitting duck. Ananyan, despite being so close is using Matias’s own head and body to act as his (Ananyan) shield or defense. Ananyan seems to know how to use angles and positioning to aid in his defense. Matias does not seem to be as aware.
If Matias could counter-punch, it’d make this fight easier for him. I think his best strategy for the rematch is to come aggressive still at Ananyan, but when Ananyan comes forward to smother, Matias should step back, step around, and keep boxing off the back foot. Alternatively, he needs to have learned how to fight shoulder-to-shoulder in anticipation of this rematch. Matias could also probably use an increase in conditioning due to the increased pace of having to answer the inside fighting of Ananyan.