It’s been a great week for fight fans: First the news that Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg will finally get it on in a super bantamweight unification fight for the IBF and WBA titles on February 27. That is the perfect tonic for British boxing; two fighters in their prime ready to duke it out to be crowned the best in the world right here on UK soil.
And yesterday news of another super fight for a British boxer emerged, as it was reported that Amir Khan has inked a deal to fight Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on April 9.
Boxing is much loved by punters as it offers a two-way outcome: your man either wins or he doesn’t, and this gives you a 50% chance of winning right off the bat. As if that wasn’t enough, a boxer has four ways to win – KO, TKO, Points or DQ, and so our chances of betting success are greatly increased.
So let’s take a look at some of the other big fights which are on the horizon, and see if we can pick out some value in each:
Saturday 7th November – Callum Smith vs Rocky Fielding
These two are set to battle it out for the vacant British Super Middleweight title at their local haunt, Liverpool’s Echo Area, and it bears all the hallmarks of being a barn-burner with many pundits split as to who will come out on top.
Both men are unbeaten – Smith at 17-0 and Fielding at 21-0, with Smith looking to claim the title that was vacated by his big brother Paul.
They both looked in blistering form as they wiped out world-rated challengers in their last outings; Smith dispatching Christopher Rebrasse on points and Fielding forcibly removing Brian Vera inside two rounds.
The bookies have Smith down as a wide favourite at 3/10, but the big-hitting Fielding (3/1), who has won 12 of his 21 by knockout, will prove a stern test of his credentials. As a true ’50-50’ fight, it is one for the neutral to simply sit back and enjoy.
Sunday 22nd November – Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez
This is being billed as an eliminator to take on the Kazakh destroyer, Gennady Golovkin, for his collection of middleweight belts; which would be enough to have this writer running for the hills.
But Cotto and Alvarez are made of sterner stuff, and this truly is a battle of contrasts: Cotto, the grizzled veteran, looking for one last shot at the big time after linking up with super trainer Freddie Roach. Alvarez, meanwhile, is relatively new to the professional ranks, and his explosive style should mesh nicely with Cotto’s more technical and thoughtful approach.
‘Canelo’, as Alvarez is known, has lost just once in 45 fights – and that was to Floyd Mayweather. Cotto, the older man and battle scarred, has four defeats on his record; with two against Mayweather and Pacquiao but one, notably, to Austin Trout: a man Alvarez dispatched by a unanimous decision.
You’d have to fancy Alvarez (4/9) to grind down his opponent, but Cotto (5/2) is wily and will put up a good fight.
Wednesday 25th November – James DeGale vs Lucian Bute
James DeGale is unbeaten in his last eleven fights, and the way he outfought and outthought the former world title challenger Andre Dirrell in his last outing suggests that he is ready to move up to elite level.
As is often the case, when a boxer loses their first fight they lose that cloak of invincibility that surrounds them. That was the case for Lucian Bute, who was unbeaten in 30 fights prior to taking on another Englishman, Carl Froch. The brutal battering that the Canadian suffered that night was the kind that takes a long time to get over – if he can at all, and so it speaks volumes that just two fights later he lost again to Jean Pascal on a wide decision.
In contrast DeGale has grown stronger since his defeat to George Groves four years ago, and is know n the prime of his career. He should prove too hot for Bute to handle, with a points decision (2/11) his likely method of victory.
Saturday 28th November – Wladimir Klitschko vs Tyson Fury
There have been so many heavyweight shocks in the past – who can forget Hasim Rahman’s victory over Lennox Lewis as one example – that it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Tyson Fury could win this fight. He has what is known as a ‘puncher’s chance’.
Indeed, it seems lunacy betting against a man that stands 6ft 10in and weighs 120kg in a fight, but that’s before you recognise that his opponent, Wladimir Klitschko, is no midget either.
This is a huge step up for Fury, fighting a man who hasn’t lost a fight in 11 years, and who will simply use his superior boxing skills to land blows from a distance and please the fans (and judges) in his adopted Germany, where this fight is taking place. So back Klitschko from 2/1 to win on a unanimous points decision.