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2018 has been a really good year for Boxing fans but the best fight we may get to see in the calendar year may be the Cruiserweight Final of...

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Boxing Picks 2017- Martin Murray vs Gabriel Rosado/Shawn Porter vs Andre Berto

There is just one week to go for one of the truly significant Heavyweight Title fights we have seen for a number of years when Anthony Joshua takes on Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium. While most will be getting ready to make their predictions for that one, we do have some decent boxing fights this week from both the United Kingdom and the United States.

While I will be following a number of fights that are taking place this weekend, the picks come from the following ones.

Rocky Fielding vs John Ryder
The main undercard fight at the Echo Arena on Saturday is going to be between Rocky Fielding and John Ryder and I had Fielding down as a bigger favourite than the oddsmakers seem to think.

While Ryder has had some fights at Super-Middleweight, there looks to be a clear difference between the size of the two boxers coming into the fight. Rocky Fielding does look considerably bigger and he has been a regular at this weight compared with Ryder who has previously campaigned at Middleweight.

Fielding has suggested he will show Ryder the difference between fighting someone who might be blown up to this weight compared to one who is a natural and I am looking for the former to win this one with some style.

The loss to Callum Smith came in devastating fashion, and there might be some questions about how well Fielding can take a punch considering he was also put down by Christophe Rebrasse. He is facing someone who is not exactly known for a big punch at the lower weight and I am not sure Ryder is suddenly going to have enough to take out Fielding who had some big expectations before being derailed by Callum Smith.

Ryder does fight out of the southpaw stance which can be a problem for orthodox fighters and Fielding may take a bit of time working things out. However I think the punch power from the naturally bigger man is going to eventually make all the difference in this fight and that means Rocky Fielding coming through with win inside the distance.

Martin Murray vs Gabriel Rosado
Both Martin Murray and Gabriel Rosado are coming back down to Middleweight having had some recent fights at the Super-Middleweight, and they have a chance to earn the WBA Inter-Continental Middleweight Title which has recently been attached to this fight. The real ambition for both Murray and Rosado is to win this fight and put themselves in a position to win a World Tittle in this Division which is dominated by Gennady Golovkin.

Murray has gotten to the world level before and fallen short, a couple of times controversially, but he is well aware his career goes nowhere if he is beaten on Saturday. My concern for Murray is this change to return to Middleweight after moving up to Super-Middle especially as he did sometimes struggle with the weight drop.

However I think Murray is getting an opponent he should be beating at this stage of his career when Gabriel Rosado comes to town. Rosado has lost five of his last eight fights and one of the exceptions was another loss that was overturned into a No Decision contest and I am not sure how much Rosado has left.

Rosado has been in with some big names as he has campaigned between Light-Middle, Middle and Super-Middleweight over the last few years. I am not a fan of too many weight moves and I think it has taken something from the Rosado tank which has seen him stopped in three of his last five losses.

Someone like Murray is relentless and Rosado is going to come to fight which suggests there is every chance the home favourite can wear down his opponent. He will have to weather a storm that Rosado brings, but I can see Murray earning the stoppage in this one by overwhelming the American in the second half of the fight.

I am not sure either will ever be a World Champion, but Murray can take a step towards another World Title shot by earning a solid win with a late stoppage. Gabriel Rosado is tough enough to stand with some of the top Middleweight names in the world before being stopped and I think Murray is the kind of fighter who wins through sheer accumulation of punches rather than one shot and so looking for a stoppage between 7-12 Rounds is worth backing.

Tommy Langford vs Avtandil Khurtsidze
Both fighters have spoken about facing Billy Joe Saunders for a World Title, but neither Tommy Langford nor Avtandil Khurtsidze should be overlooking the other. The home fighter might be unbeaten, but it is Langford who comes in as a significant underdog against the big hitting Georgian.

Khurtsidze has been described as a 'mini Mike Tyson' and Langford has to know he can't stand and trade with a fighter who has won nine in a row since only the second loss of his career. There are other reasons for Langford to avoid getting involved in a fight other than the fearsome reputation as a big puncher that Khurtsidze has and that is the superior height the British fighter will have in this one.

He has to use his reach to box to a win and it is going to be difficult to stop the rugged Georgian coming forward, but outboxing him and using his youth compared with Khurtsidze has to be the game plan for Langford.

It might work for a while, but this is a big step up for Langford and we will get to know exactly where he can go in his career in this fight. It is a big test and he can come again even if Langford can't quite get the job done, but Khurtsidze has been on a long lay off and that might have taken something out of the veteran.

He destroyed Antoine Douglas in his last fight, but that was over twelve months ago and Langford could potentially be catching Khurtsidze at the right time. Of course the oddsmakers rarely get things wrong and the Georgian is a big favourite and has the punch power to knock out plenty of Middleweight fighters.

Langford is making a huge step up and Khurtsidze is likely to have some really strong moments in the fight. However if Langford can try and box in this one and keep out of range, he might just have enough to earn the decision in a tough fight. A year out for a 37 year old can be tough to recover from and I will back Langford to find a way to win this one on points.

Shawn Porter vs Andre Berto
This looks like the kind of crossroads fight that will leave one of these boxers scrambling as to where to go next in their career, while the other will be savouring the thought of taking on some of the biggest names in a loaded Welterweight Division.

Out of the two fighters, I certainly think Showtime has more left in the tank than Berto both physically and as a name in the Division. That despite what Berto has been saying in the lead up to the fight as he feels Porter might have had some steam taken away from him by some tough fights, but Porter's only two losses have come in close decisions against Kell Brook and Keith Thurman who are right up there when it comes to the best in this Division.

Thurman is arguably Number 1 and Brook Number 2 (ahead of his fight with Errol Spence Jr), while Porter has a draw on his record which he has overcome by beating Julio Diaz in a rematch. Porter is tough, but he has an ability to box as well as hit with power and I do think this is a fighter that will get at least one more shot against someone like Thurman after losing a close decision on the cards.

It was a cracking fight and one the fans will pay to watch again, but all of that will come crashing to a close if he is to lose to Andre Berto. Once upon a time Berto would have been in a position to be considered amongst the elite of any Division he fought in, but his career has not really taken off as it perhaps should have.

Berto has lost four of his last eight fights and at the moment he is perhaps better known for being the forty-ninth name on Floyd Mayweather's record. The Haitian is tough too and has only been stopped in one of his four losses, but Berto has been knocked a few times in his last few fights and I do wonder if he is going to have enough in the body to hold off a relentless fighter like Porter.

There has been a lot of respect in the build up with Porter suggesting he can sense he will knock Berto down, but expects this to go to the judges. He admitted that could be down to the respect he has for Berto and Porter said he will be going for the finish, and I think there is a chance he can get that.

The smart choice is obviously picking Porter to win a comfortable decision on the cards, but I think he has made a solid point that he can wear Berto down in the first half of the fight. I do think Porter can do that and he does have the power to hurt Berto in the second half of the fight and perhaps become the second man to force a stoppage against him.

A classy win like that will increase the clamour for a rematch with either Kell Brook, if he beats Errol Spence, or the more likely choice of Keith Thurman. It is a risky pick, but Porter can use his strength to bully Berto through the first half and chip away at him with a second half of the fight stoppage.

MY PICKS: Rocky Fielding by KO, TKO or Disqualification @ 2.80 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Martin Murray Win Between 7-12 @ 4.33 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Tommy Langford by Decision or Technical Decision @ 4.75 Sporting Bet (1 Unit)
Shawn Porter Win Between 7-12 @ 5.00 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)

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