For those who haven't yet seen Higa you've been missing out on one of the most exciting pressure fighters of the current era. Higa combines under-rated footwork, with truly vicious power, and smart defense, which allowed him to get inside and work away at the head or body of his foes. Although only a Flyweight he is a man who is mowing opponents down with his heavy hands, and stopped all 13 previous opponents in a combined 48 rounds.
With an average fight length of less than 4 rounds there are some who would question Higa's stamina, especially if he's going to be forced to chase an opponent for 12 rounds. We have however seen Higa go into the second half of fights, and look just as energetic as he did in the earlier stages. This was notable in his 7th round win over Kongfah CP Freshmart and his 10th round over Renren Tesorio. It was also notable that last time out, against Juan Hernandez, that Higa seemed to be getting more and more effective whilst Hernandez was being worn down by the pressure and power of the Japanese youngster.
Higa's style is a nice blend of his mentor's, Yoko Gushiken, and Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez, with Higa once being described as the “Romagon of Okinawa”. Like those two fighters he is ultra aggressive, but like those two fighters there is more than just aggression to what he does and and it's those subtle defensive moves, his ability to switch between head and body, and his frightening power than makes him so effective.
As for Masson things are very different, and he's much more of a boxer-mover. He's got nice movement and likes to keep things fought at his tempo, whilst establishing his jab and straight right hand. Defensively he's quite open but does have a really sharp jab and nice footwork. Unfortunately for Masson he's very upright and has a low left hand, which is likely to be an invitation to Higa. Whilst he's very upright he's also very tall, listed at 5'7” and whilst he can use that heigh well he is lacking in terms of his inside game and does often look pretty 1-paced behind his jab.
During his career so far Masson has been beaten by two men. Domestic rival Badis Ouari holds two decisions over him and Ashley Sexton, who took a clear win over the Frenchman in his only outing outside of France. Since his last loss the Frenchman has reeled off 9 straight wins, whilst claiming the French Flyweight title and twice becoming the European champion. During his career he has gone 12 rounds twice, and scored notable wins over the likes of Silvio Olteanu and Oleksandr Hryshchuk, which are both good wins, but a long way from world class.
Whilst we can certainly see Masson having his moments, especially early in the bout, we think the pressure and power of Higa will be too much and the body shots will take their toll on the long frame of the challenger. We certainly believe Masson will ask some new questions of Higa, before being broken down and stopped in the middle rounds.