It’s the end of an era!
Floyd Mayweather, The Best Ever (his words, not mine), is fighting his final fight and he has chosen to meet Andre Berto for the world welterweight crown. Don’t be upset that Berto is a dud, there is still a decent bet to be had and plenty of action on the undercard, including Badou Jack vs George Groves for the super middleweight championship. While in London, Anthony Joshua is looking to do more damage, with Gary Cornish caught in the headlights and the Commonwealth title on the line.
Floyd Mayweather v Andre Berto
The biggest mouth in sport hasn’t really managed to get his hype heard by the wider public for his concluding contest. It could be because nobody believes Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) will be able to resist having at least one more fight to break Rocky Marciano’s unbeaten record and make another ton of cash, or it could be because Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) is Mayweather’s worst opponent in years.
If Berto isn’t bad, he is barely average. The Haitian-born brawler has lost three of his last six bouts and he was knocked down in all of those fights. The most recent loss came in 2013 via a 12th round KO against Jesus Soto Karass, a man who has lost ten times and never even had a world title fight. Berto would have more chance upsetting Mayweather with a combination of ‘your mum’ jokes.
So Mayweather will dominate another fight, it will be another amazing show of skill (boring) and he will win on points? Maybe, but Paddy Power is only offering 1/2 on that result. So let’s take Paddy on and back the 7/4 for a Mayweather KO win. True, ‘Money’ hasn’t won by KO for six fights but he still has a KO ratio of 54%, and he has regularly dispatched opponents of Berto’s ability in under 12 rounds.
Mayweather – age 38, height 5’8”, reach 72”, KO ratio 54%. Last fight: (W) vs Manny Pacquiao (Unanimous decision).
48 fights unbeaten and winning this fight will equal the record. No knockout victories in last six contests.
Berto – age 32, height 5’6.5”, reach 68.5”, KO ratio 70%. Last fight: (W) vs Josesito Lopez (TKO round 6).
Won three and lost three of last six fights. The most recent defeat, in 2013, came by way of 12th round knockout. Was knocked down in all three defeats.
Badou Jack v Georges Groves
Supporting the main attraction in Las Vegas are super middleweights Jack (19-1-1, 12 KOs) and Groves (21-2, 16 KOs). Jack was a big underdog in his last fight but he managed to pinch the title from Anthony Dirrell in a close decision call. The Swede is the stooge again and this third world title shot for Groves could be his best chance of winning a global belt.
Jack had an ordinary career up until his last bout: he drew in 2013 with mediocre Mexican Marco Antonio Periban, who James DeGale stopped in three rounds, and two fights later he suffered a damaging first round KO against journeyman Derek Edwards. Conversely, Groves sparkled as a promising young pro but got his lights turned out by Carl Froch both times he stepped up for a title.
In the method of victory market Paddy makes the Groves KO win the shortest odds but all of the Brit’s stoppage successes have come before the end of round seven, which I can’t see him repeating in a fight of this magnitude. Jack has been toughened up at the brutal Mayweather gym and he has a good engine but I expect Groves to see it out and land us a healthy 2/1 for the points victory.
Jack – age 31, height 6’1”, reach 73”, KO ratio 57%. Last fight: (W) vs Anthony Dirrell (Mixed decision).
Won the world title in last fight as a big underdog. Only career defeat came early last year, a first round opponents.knockout by Derek Edwards.
Groves – age 27, height 5’11.5”, reach 72”, KO ratio 70%. Last fight: (W) vs Denis Douglin (TKO round 7).
Fought for world titles twice before, both times losing to Carl Froch by knockout. Won last two fights since then. Four of last five wins have come before the final bell.
Anthony Joshua v Gary Cornish
Taking a slightly less significant step, but in bigger boots, is England’s heavyweight hero Joshua (13-0, 13 KOs). Scotland’s Gary Cornish (21-0, 12 KOs) poses a new challenge to Joshua: he is undefeated, taller than him and it is the first time either man has contested a major title. But nobody will be shocked if AJ keeps his 100% KO record.
Cornish is on a winning streak but he’s untested against any kind of quality opposition, and even as an amateur he only had nine bouts. AJ beat the best amateurs in the world in becoming Olympic champion and he showed fearsome power by stopping Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson inside two rounds in his last contest, a man never previously KO’d including in a fight against Vitali Klitschko.
Joshua has won all of his fights within three rounds so far and Paddy is offering 1/4 that the contest is halted in under 3.5 rounds. It may not be great odds but it’s well worth rolling into an acca.
Joshua – age 25, height 6’6”, reach 82”, KO ratio 100%. Last fight: (W) vs Kevin Johnson (TKO round 2).
Unbeaten Olympic heavyweight champion. 13 KO wins from 13 fights as a pro – all before the end of round three. Stopped a fighter who had gone 12 rounds against Vitali Klitschko in last fight.
Cornish – age 28, height 6’7”, reach N/A, KO ratio 57%. Last fight: (W) vs Zoltan Csala (TKO round 4).
Unbeaten and stopped eight of last nine
On the undercard, Joshua’s rival since the amateurs and scheduled opponent for December, Dillian Whyte faces American Brian Minto. Whyte hits hard and can take Minto down in under 4.5 rounds at 13/8.
There is one more world title on the line in Vegas this weekend, with Roman Martinez and Orlando Salido also in a rematch, for the super featherweight championship. A fight between these two surely can’t go the distance again, so take the 6/5 that it won’t. And for my final tip of the weekend, don’t bet against Floyd Mayweather fighting again.