Featured post

Weekend Football Picks 2019 (February 15-18)

There was a real feeling of deflation at around 10pm on Tuesday evening once the Manchester United defeat to Paris Saint-Germain was confirm...

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Boxing Picks 2017- Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor (August 26th)

All eyes of the combat world will have turned towards Las Vegas on Saturday night as the Boxing vs MMA fight comes to town.

While most Boxing purists may not be expecting a true competitive fight, casual fans have been intrigued by the cross-code contest and I think this is an event that does deserve to be watched. There will be much better Boxing fights to come as we enter September and move through the remainder of 2017, but not many events will transcend the sport as much as this one.

We also will see the return of Miguel Cotto in California on the same night, although his own fight has been overshadowed by the events taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in the MGM Grand Garden.

One other major piece of news from the combat world was the Jon Jones failed drug test in the wake of his devastating win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.

What a sad thing to happen... Jones is seen as the face of the UFC alongside Conor McGregor, but if the drug test failure is confirmed his career will be in tatters and the legacy will be severely tarnished. The question will be for how long has Jones been using PEDs and whether that was the only reason he was the man to beat in the Light-Heavyweight Division.

It also ends any talks of a fight with Brock Lesnar (unless they do that under WWE rules at Wrestlemania some time), and Jones was also in line to fight for the Heavyweight Title which is now obviously gone too.

There is no doubting the Jones talent, but his fans around the world are going to be extremely disappointed as I am.

Miguel Cotto vs Yoshihiro Kamegai

This fight was announced before the mega-event between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor and that means the return of Miguel Cotto has been overshadowed. No one will doubt that he has plenty of fans of his own who will be more interested in this fight than the one taking placed hundreds of miles away in Las Vegas, but the Cotto return is definitely flying under the radar.

Cotto is returning after losing a Decision against Canelo Alvarez two years ago and the question has to be how much is left in the tank and how much desire does Cotto still possess?

You wouldn't expect anything less than the camp talking up Cotto's chances to come back and win some marquee fights, but he is now about to turn 37 years old and a two year absence has to hurt. However I am not sure any decline in Cotto will be evident in a carefully selected comeback fight against Yoshihiro Kamegai.

While no one will really be expecting Kamegai to win, he looks the perfect opponent against whom you can shed the ring rust. This is a man who has yet to be stopped in his career and has shown toughness when under the cosh, elements which are important for Cotto too as he looks to put some Rounds in the bank.

Cotto is 8-4 since his defeat to Antonio Margarito in 2008, a fight that many will believe saw the latter load his gloves and was later avenged by the Puerto Rican hero. Many of those he has found the stoppage and he has been in with a who's who of recent Boxing history which should mean his experience is too much for Kamegai.

A look through Kamegai's career and you will notice he hasn't been in with too many guys of the calibre of Cotto. A Decision loss to Roberto Guerrero and Alfonso Gomez suggests Kamegai will come up short again, although I do think he will be strong enough to reach the final bell.

He is the bigger man on the night and will look to impose his size, but Cotto has shown he has devastating power which may just force Kamegai to take a backwards step at times. Cotto has 33 stoppages from the 40 fights he has won, but I can see him being forced to go the distance against a fighter who has shown he can come through some stormy weather.

He should still be a fairly routine winner on the cards though and I will back Cotto to win this one by Decision/Technical Decision.

Andrew Tabiti vs Steve Cunningham

There are a couple of Team Mayweather fighters who have a chance to showcase their talents on the undercard of the big Las Vegas fight this weekend and first up in that regard will be Andrew Tabiti, the undefeated Cruiserweight.

This is a step up from the usual opponents Tabiti has been fighting as we get to see whether he is potentially the real deal, or just someone who has taken advantage of the early fights that have been scheduled for him. Steve Cunningham may have seen his best days behind him, but the 41 year old has come to Vegas with confidence and has proven to be a tough man to stop.

Only Tyson Fury managed that when beating Cunningham at Heavyweight, but Fury is a huge man compared with the natural Cruiser. Other than that, Cunningham has forced fighters to dig deep to beat him and I think the wily veteran can get through to the judges scorecards in this one.

Cunningham has to use the tools he has being the taller man with the fairly large reach advantage, but it will be tough to keep the younger fighter off of him having seen Tabiti stop 12 of 14 previous fighters. The two Decision wins have come in the last 4 fights though so I am not completely convinced about the Tabiti power, especially not against someone like Cunningham who has proven to be gritty to say the least.

Ultimately I do think the 41 year old may struggle with his stamina and Tabiti can take control in the second half of the fight. There is always a potential the towel is thrown in or Cunningham is stopped on his feet as Father Time catches up with him, but he has looked in good shape and can trouble Tabiti and give him a bit of an education in this one.

Tabiti has to take those things on to bigger and better things as I will look for him to earn the Decision win, but it should be competitive for a while with perhaps a couple of blurry Rounds being given to the 'home' fighter which makes the difference. Backing Tabiti for a Decision/Technical Decision win looks a decent enough price and worth a play.

Gervonta Davis vs Francisco Fonseca

There are some that belief that Gervonta Davis may take over from Floyd Mayweather as the PPV Champion of Boxing going forward as he continues to learn under the tutelage of the best fighter of this generation. Terence Crawford may have something to say about that, but Davis has the platform to announce his name to the casual fans who will be tuning into the mega-event taking place in Las Vegas.

Davis will be defending his World Title for the second time after removing it from Jose Pedraza with a stoppage win back in January. He has since travelled to the United Kingdom and wiped out Liam Walsh inside three Rounds although Mayweather and his promotion team will know Davis isn't ready to take on the elite of the Super-Featherweight Division which is headed up by the fantastic Vasyl Lomachenko.

Two Tanks does look very good with heavy hitting hands and at 22 years old he is surely going to be able to move up Divisions in the coming years as he looks to replicate what his mentor achieved. The height may be a factor that eventually catches up with Davis, especially if his power does not move up with him, but for now the young American is looking to showcase his talent as one of the chief undercard support acts.

Davis is defending against an unbeaten fighter in Francisco Fonseca, although this is a big step up for the Costa Rican. Despite the unbeaten record, Fonseca is seen far below the level of the two previous fighters that Davis has been able to wipe out and there isn't a stand out name in the previous 20 fights the 23 year old has had.

This is not just a step up in competition, but the entire event is not one that Fonseca would have experienced before whereas Davis has fought on decent cards thanks to his connection with Mayweather. 13 of the 19 wins for Fonseca have come inside the distance and I would be surprised if he is not going to try and come forward but he may be better off trying to use his size and keep Davis at the end of the jab.

It is unlikely to work and Fonseca would have been carefully picked out by the Davis promotion team as not only a fighter he should beat, but one against whom Davis can look very good.

That looks the most likely way this fight will go and Davis has stopped 17 of 18 previous opponents so the stoppage is most likely to come. Only 3 of 18 have gotten out of the Third Round though and backing Davis to win this one between 1-4 looks a very appealing price.

Gervonta Davis did miss the Super Featherweight limit on Friday which means he has been stripped of the title and it will only be on the line for Fonseca. That does mean the move up in weight is likely to happen immediately, and I can only see Davis trying to make up for it by getting Fonseca out of there as early as possible.

Nathan Cleverly vs Badou Jack

The main supporting fight on the card in Las Vegas is a fight for the WBA World Light Heavyweight Title and both Nathan Cleverly and Badou Jack have spoken about this being the potential 'fight of the night'.

Jack is a former Super Middleweight World Champion and decided to make the move up to Light Heavyweight after a Draw with James DeGale back in January. I backed Jack to win that day and he has DeGale almost out in the Twelfth Round, while the Draw Decision was controversial with the majority thinking Jack had done enough to win.

He has also beaten current Super Middleweight World Champion George Groves by Decision in 2015 and Jack has been in with some of the best fighters in his Division in recent years. Jack has rebuilt his career after a devastating First Round stoppage to Derek Edwards and has since been unbeaten in six fights of which he as won five.

That includes beating Anthony Dirrell (who is set to challenge for a portion of the Super Middleweight that Jack left behind), Groves and Lucien Bute (later changed to a win after Bute was caught with PED enhancement, although even the Draw at the time was controversial with many thinking Jack had done enough to win).

There is no doubting how good Jack is with his ability to remain consistent and technically expose any flaws in opponents. However Nathan Cleverly is perhaps being under-rated as the 'away' fighter and one who has perhaps not achieved what many thought he might in his career.

Cleverly is still a two weight World Champion which deserves respect, and I think he has rebuilt his career fantastically after being brutally dismantled by Sergey Kovalev in 2013. That doesn't mean he has won every fight since, but Cleverly looked much better in his Decision losses to Tony Bellew and Andrej Fonfara, even if he showed more heart than actually ever looking like winning those fights.

That heart has seen him come back from Cruiserweight to win his version of the World Title on the road in Germany and that has to be respected. He has decent hands and speed which may actually give Jack something to think about in this one, and Cleverly has shown toughness since that loss to Kovalev which doesn't look half as disappointing now than it did at the time.

The Welshman looks to be the bigger fighter and he should be able to cause Jack problems with the speed of his shots. At some point Jack may begin figuring out what he needs to do, but Cleverly may be able to put the Rounds in the bank by the time that happens.

This is a much closer fight than the layers think as far as I am concerned. I backed Jack to beat DeGale back in January in what was seen as a pick 'em, but in this one Jack is a huge favourite and I am not sure I agree with that.

He is the home fighter which means there is a chance of some 'home cooking' when it comes to close Rounds, but I think Cleverly can land more punches and I think he can defend his title here and really rebuild his reputation. It may be controversial at the end, but I am looking for a fair swing and having a small interest in Nathan Cleverly finding a way to win this one on points.

Jack is a tough man himself and will cause Cleverly problems, but I am not sure he has the power to stop the British man as he claims. He is going up a weight and fighting a naturally bigger man and I will look for Cleverly to come out on top and open up to a potential rematch with Kovalev down the line.

The fights involving Jack do tend to be close so backing his opponent at a big price to win this one on points looks very appealing.

Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor

I like Conor McGregor.

He supports Manchester United and he has proven to be one of the best UFC fighters out there and in the Octagon he is a scary opponent to face.

In the Octagon I would favour McGregor against most in and around his weight class.

This is not the Octagon though.

And I simply can't see McGregor doing what the likes of Ricky Hatton, Marcus Maidana, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez have failed to do.

And that is beat Floyd Mayweather.

The two year absence from the ring and the fact Mayweather is 40 years old is what seems to have influenced the fans and that has been seen in the Vegas betting windows with the majority of 'smaller' bets coming in on McGregor. However 76% of the money is on the unbeaten American and it would be a monumental upset, the biggest in Boxing history, if McGregor is able to land the one shot he is relying on.

Shane Mosley hurt Mayweather, but the latter knew how to hold on to escape the Second Round and then turn the fight in his favour. That is a huge advantage for Mayweather and one that McGregor is seemingly ignoring, at least publicly.

On the other hand defending yourself in the UFC environment is much different than the way you would in Boxing and I simply don't think McGregor will have learned enough to beat the best fighter of the last twenty years. At first I can see this being awkward for Mayweather with McGregor perhaps clowning for the crowd with different stances and means of attack, but that may last a couple of Rounds at most.

At that point I would think McGregor will understand that he does have stamina issues, like he has shown in the UFC at times and noticeably in both fights with Nate Diaz. That should mean McGregor is going for the big shot early, but I can see him perhaps starting to get picked off by Mayweather and I simply don't think he is going to be suited to being counter punched with the accuracy he will see on Saturday night.

Barring something happening to Mayweather's hands, which has happened before in a Boxing fight, I can only see 'Money' stopping McGregor at some point in the middle of this fight. Mayweather has spoken very positively about looking for a spectacular end to his career and I can see the body shots being key to breaking down McGregor and eventually producing the telling shot in what is essentially a fight between a professional and amateur boxer.

I do think the bout will come to a close at some point between Round 4 and Round 8 and you can get a decent price on Mayweather being able to do that. A small interest in that and also on Mayweather completing the win inside the first half of the fight looks to be the way to go for me if you avoid allowing the hype to engulf you.

11 of his 26 stoppages have come inside the first three Rounds, but the majority of those were very early in Mayweather's career. He hasn't had a stoppage win since the controversial ending against Victor Ortiz in September 2011, but the fighters he has faced in the latter half of his career have been a who's who of Boxing.

McGregor may be more in line with some of the early opponents Mayweather fought, but I think there is enough heart to come out towards the middle of the fight and I am looking for a body shot to hurt him and accumulated punches to force the stoppage at somewhere like Round 5 or Round 6.

Backing Mayweather to win between 1-6 and also 4-8 should produce a winning return.

MY PICKS: Miguel Cotto by Decision/Technical Decision @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Andrew Tabiti by Decision/Technical Decision @ 2.88 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Gervonta Davis to Win Between 1-4 @ 2.20 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Nathan Cleverly By Decision/Technical Decision @ 5.50 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Floyd Mayweather Between 1-6 @ 3.25 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Floyd Mayweather Between 5-8 @ 4.33 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

No comments:

Post a Comment