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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, 1 July 2017

Boxing Picks 2017- Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn (July 1st)

Over the next couple of months we are going to see two of the better fighters of this generation return to the ring and both look to be facing opponents they should deal with relatively comfortably.

At least Manny Pacquiao will say his opponent is an unbeaten fighter who has boxed numerous times before compared with Floyd Mayweather taking on a novice in Conor McGregor, but the latter is clearly the bigger event.

That has been underlined by the fact this is the first free fight Pacquiao will have fought in the United States in a long, long time, while the Mayweather fight is expected to top the PPV sales of any fight before.

The Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn fight takes place in Australia, but they have timed it to hit the Eastern Coast of the the United States at 9pm which means it is another early fight for those of us in the United Kingdom. However, fight fans in the UK will have an event taking place in the O2 Arena to enjoy beforehand with a few of the younger faces in the boxing scene expected to be on the undercard before Frank Buglioni takes on Ricky Summers.

I'll be making picks from the Buglioni and Pacquiao fights below.

2017 has been a great year for boxing so far and it looks like it will continue through the second half of the year. It feels like promoters are no longer shying away from pitting the best with the best and some top events look to be ahead.

At the top of the pile may be the Anthony Joshua rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, although the latter has yet to confirm he is going to exercise that option. Eddie Hearn has kicked on with the event in anticipation that Klitschko will accept the rematch and all signs seem to be pointing to AJ having his first fight in the United States later this year.

That will be huge, while other top names on the British scene could be in line for some major fights themselves. Hughie Fury, Tyson's cousin, has his shot at the World Title held by Joseph Parker, Tony Bellew could potentially face Andre Ward or David Haye, and Kell Brook is also expected to return from a second eye socket injury and all before the year is out.

Hopefully the rumours about the Anthony Dirrell and Callum Smith fight being in doubt is only a rumour and the World Series of Boxing tournament for the Muhammad Ali trophy will also get underway before the year is out.

You can only be excited about the months ahead.

Frank Buglioni vs Ricky Summers
There has been a lot of talk from Frank Buglioni about what he wants to do in the future, but that will all be a waste of time if he is unable to beat unbeaten Ricky Summers on Saturday.

This does feel like a huge step up for Summers though who has only fought one previous opponent that has had a winning record when they have met. That raises some real questions about his unbeaten run especially as Buglioni has been in with some tough, tough men in his time in the professional ranks.

No one can doubt that 'Wise Guy' can punch having won fifteen of his nineteen professional wins inside the distance. The victory over the previously unbeaten Hosea Burton looks like one that is a step above Ricky Summers and I think it is a big ask of the latter to secure the upset.

The prices indicate that and I don't think Summers has the kind of power that will get the respect of Buglioni which makes it an all round tougher day in the office for the former.

Summers has spoken very positively of his chances for the upset, but I think the underlying tone is that he is using this as a chance to gain experience. Ultimately I think that indicates he is not fully convinced of his own chances and I do think this is an opportunity for Buglioni to produce a statement win and move on to bigger and better things.

It has been a little bit of time since Buglioni has been in the ring so there is a feeling it may take a couple of Rounds to find his range against the taller man. However I do think once Summers feels the power of Buglioni it will only be a matter of time before he falls and I am looking for a mid-Round stoppage for the British Light-Heavyweight Champion.

Backing Buglioni to win between 4-6 Rounds looks about the place where I would expect this fight to be concluded as the Champion shows why he is ready to take on someone like Nathan Cleverley. After finding his range, I expect he will hit Summers like the latter has not been able to experience in the professional ranks before and I believe Buglioni may get a couple of Knock Downs before the referee comes in to wave things off.

Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn
When this fight was first rumoured to be happening, the reaction most people would have had was Jeff Horn who?

The schoolteacher from Australia is unbeaten in his professional career and is adamant he is going to end the storied career of Manny Pacquiao this weekend. That will open the doors for Horn to move across to the United States for some huge fights, and paydays, in the tough Welterweight Division.

An unbeaten record it is, but it is not exactly one littered with the big names of boxing. At least not the current big names.

Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka have both fought for World Titles before, but that was some time before Horn met them and stopped both. While they were both past their prime, both landed a shot that was able to put Horn on the floor before the Australian recovered for the stoppage and that has to be a concern.

Not many will say Manny Pacquiao is at the peak of his powers these days, but he still seems to be performing at a high enough level to win a fight of this quality. There is the chance that Pacquiao has suddenly gotten old, especially having been out of the ring in the last eight months, but he has shown in his two fights since the loss to Floyd Mayweather that he has still got something in the tank.

Being able to Knock Down both Tim Bradley and Jessie Vargas shows there is still some pop off the punches and those helped lead to a wide Decision win over both. It has been a long time since Pacquiao has been able to stop someone and that seems to be the biggest question mark over this fight.

Has Pacquiao got the killer instinct back or is he going to coast to a pretty comprehensive win on the scorecards?

The layers have priced up both outcomes very evenly, but I do think Horn could be overmatched and potentially pulled out of this one. I don't buy into Freddie Roach's statements about how fearsome Pacquiao has looked in training because he has been saying that for years, but I do think the Filipino warrior understands that he can line himself back up for a potential crack at Mayweather by winning this one with style.

While Pacquiao has perhaps come off the gas when opponents have been in trouble over the years, I do think he will put enough combinations together to hurt Horn in this one. That may see the referee or the corner step in and I have little doubt Pacquiao could put Horn down a couple of times if the likes of Bailey and Funeka still had the pop to do the same.

Who would have guessed the last time Pacquiao would get a stoppage would be 2009? He has had chances to do that since then, but just has lost some of that 'killer instinct' although Pacquiao has come close. I think he may be aided by the referee or the Horn corner in this one, but the Australian may find out he is quite overmatched fairly early in this one and potentially go into survival mode.

At home that shouldn't be the case though and Horn won't get any credit from the locals if he is looking to stay away from Pac Man. Instead I think Horn will try and fight fire with fire and that might be his undoing as Pacquiao earns his first stoppage in almost a decade.

MY PICKS: Frank Buglioni Win Between 4-6 Rounds @ 5.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Manny Pacquiao to Win by KO, TKO or Disqualification @ 2.38 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

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