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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Boxing Picks 2018- Erislandy Lara vs Jarrett Hurd (April 7th)

It has been one week since Anthony Joshua added the WBO Heavyweight Title to the WBA and IBF Titles he held already, but the big question for most is what is next for the British superstar.

There has been a lot of talk about Deontay Wilder, but I remain unconvinced that will be the next fight with both Wilder and Joshua potentially signing a deal to have an interim fight each before meeting for all the belts at the end of the year.

Eddie Hearn would have loved to take Joshua over to the United States for his debut on those shores before the Wilder fight, but Joshua himself poured some cold water on that and I think Jarrell Miller has stepped back as the potential next opponent.

Instead it feels like Alexander Povetkin is next after the WBA called their mandatory and the Russian impressed on the undercard last week with a highlight reel KO of David Price. That fight won't be a hard one to make and I can see Joshua vs Povetkin happening in a big Stadium in the United Kingdom in August before a potential clash with Wilder or the long wanted US debut at the end of the year.

For Wilder it would open the door for a defence against Dominic Breazeale, while Dillian Whyte could have his eliminator against Kubrat Pulev which would make him the mandatory for the IBF Title held by Joshua.

Then we have the winner of the David Haye vs Tony Bellew rematch to add to the mix and let's not forget about Tyson Fury who is rumoured to make his return to the ring in June.

Joseph Parker really did endear himself to the UK crowd and media and despite his loss last week I think there is plenty of scope to come again. He wasn't helped by the overzealous refereeing against Joshua, but there is clearly some room for improvement for Parker if he wants to get into a position to have another crack at the Brit.

Parker will likely try and make a fanbase in the UK in the months and years ahead and that seemed clear by suggestions that he could return on the next Joshua bill on the undercard as he looks to rebuild. That would not be a bad business decision for Parker who will have to travel a tough road back to relevance in a Division which is perhaps booming as much as it has in a generation.

On Saturday the Boxing world moves on to another Unification with this one coming in the Light-Middleweight Division which has come alive over the last year. We also have James DeGale on the undercard as he tries to reclaim the IBF Title he lost at Super-Middleweight in a stunning upset back in December and it should be an intriguing night of Boxing for fans at the beginning of another decent month.

Caleb Truax vs James DeGale
It was the shoulder, it was coming back too early, but the excuses will run out for James DeGale if he is not able to reclaim the IBF Super-Middleweight Title from Caleb Truax who was seen as nothing more than a tune up back in December.

DeGale's threats of retirement if he loses have not been as forceful in recent days as they were a couple of weeks ago, but I do wonder where he will go if he is unable to beat what was a fringe contender before the upset in London in December.

Let's get that straight right away- Truax is not one of the elite performers in a deep Super-Middleweight Division.

The win over DeGale boosted his profile, but this is not a fighter I believe will be a long time Title holder barring some very dubious match-making after this rematch.

Truax has been stopped at Middleweight by Daniel Jacobs and it is perhaps not a huge surprise that he is still considered a pretty big underdog in this rematch despite the manner of his win in the first fight.

Perhaps people are believing the DeGale side of the story about being far from 100%, but I won't deny that I have never been a big DeGale fan. Even in some of his biggest wins he has been fortunate to get away with coasting and someone like Truax is not going to allow DeGale to take off many minutes let alone Rounds in this one.

Last year he was beaten up badly twice which is also going to take a toll on the body and the mind and I am not sure DeGale has enough to keep the Champion off him for long enough to win this fight.

There will still be a chance for DeGale to earn a couple of big paydays in his career even in a defeat, but I do think his stamina issues will show up again and I can see Truax outworking DeGale for the victory. That will lead to calls for retirement for DeGale, which would be a shame when you think of the big domestic battles that could be in front of him in this Division.

I do think Truax is being under-rated again and that is motivation enough for him to outwork DeGale for long enough to win this fight and he is worth a small interest to do that.

Erislandy Lara vs Jarrett Hurd
This may not be a fight I could stay up for in the early hours of Sunday morning in the United Kingdom because Erislandy Lara fights can be a tough watch.

However his younger opponent Jarrett Hurd is the kind of pressure fighter that won't take a backwards step in this one and that could at least make things interesting.

The question that will be answered in this one is whether Lara is still at the peak of his powers or whether the Hurd camp are catching him at the right time.

Ultimately I still think Lara has something in the tank and I think his superior boxing skills will come to the fore in this one, even if the rest of the Division would love to see Hurd knock him off and then freeze Lara out.

A controversial Decision has been something that Lara has been on the wrong end of twice before in his career so there could be some more dubious scoring which costs him here. There is no doubt that Lara is not everyone's cup of tea so anything close is likely to go against him, but I think he will show the cleaner boxing in this one and can pick off Hurd as the aggressive American keeps pressing forward.

Lara should have more left than Austin Trout who was worn down by Hurd and I can see Lara picking up the Decision in this one. However I will only have a small interest in that outcome with the concern that a controversial Decision goes against someone who is not the most liked boxer out there because of a perceived negative style.

MY PICKS: Caleb Truax @ 4.33 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Erislandy Lara by Decision/Technical Decision @ 2.50 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

Boxing 2018 Update: 12-13, + 19.38 Units (39 Units Staked, + 49.69% Yield)

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