Perez v Crolla – the fight not to go the distance: 5/2
Caballero v Haskins – Caballero to win by KO: 8/15
Abraham v Murray – Murray to win on points: 6/4
All to win: 12/1 – BET NOW
This Saturday evening clever scheduling means you can watch four world title boxing matches in one night and what’s more, there are some seriously profitable upsets on the cards.
In America, Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez are matched in one of the fights of the year, with Randy Caballero and Lee Haskins set to provide the exciting support act. But first Arthur Abraham takes on Martin Murray in Germany and Darleys Perez and Anthony Crolla go at it for a second time in Manchester.
Darleys Perez V Anthony Crolla
Rematches are made because either a) the first outcome wasn’t satisfactory, or b) the first fight was a classic. The World Boxing Association demanded a repeat of the lightweight world title fight between Darleys Perez (32-1-1, 20 KOs) and Anthony Crolla (29-4-3, 11 KOs) after the judges controversially awarded a draw despite Crolla dominating. But happily the first fight was no stinker either.
What’s surprising is the confidence with which Perez has approached the rematch. The Colombian doesn’t appear to be concerned about Crolla’s skills or returning to the Brit’s home town. And although most people think that the champ didn’t show his best back in July it is worth remembering that it was Crolla’s comeback fight after being seriously injured fending off bungling burglars.
Neither fighter will want to be reliant on dodgy judging this time and both will be confident they can win by stoppage. Crolla wobbled Perez in the original contest but it is Perez who is known for his power. The stats show that knockouts are more common in rematches than the originals but Paddy still reckons the fight will go the distance. Take the 5/2 on the fight ending early.
Miguel Cotto v Saul Alverez
Rematches can turn into epics but Miguel Cotto-Saul Alvarez already hums of a classic in the making. The fight is in Vegas for the middleweight world title and there isn’t a bigger national rivalry in boxing than Puerto Rico versus Mexico. What’s also intriguing is the Rocky-esqe experienced, popular champ, Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs), versus the young, bulldozing, Clubber Lang character, Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs).
Plenty can be written about both fighters’ defeats to Floyd Mayweather, the age difference, the catch-weight agreement and Cotto’s refusal to pay the boxing organisation who commissioned the fight, but none of that will have much impact on what goes down inside the ring. After the first rings expect a kind of non-stop attacking boxing symphony.
Cotto’s incredible combinations and game plan of fighting on the front foot has resulted in all of his last six wins coming by KO. While Alvarez, also known as Canelo (a ginger Mexican would you believe it?), has built a career KO ratio of 68% through his aggressive, but accurate, ways.
What neither man possesses is truly outstanding one punch power and with two fighters ranked with the pound-for-pound best, not only for their skill but for their heart as well, it’s hard to see a stoppage win. Canelo is just over evens to win via decision but a better earner is available by backing Señor Cotto to take the victory on points at 7/2.
Randy Caballero v Lee Haskins
On the undercard in Las Vegas there is another world title fight that may just be as exciting. Nicaraguan-American bantamweight champion Randy Caballero (22-0, 13 KOs) is a pressure fighter trying to remove any doubt he’s world-class but he has a tricky opponent in unorthodox Brit Lee Haskins (32-3, 14 KOs).
Caballero won a vacant strap at the end of last year but has been sidelined with a foot injury ever since. At 25 the Californian is inexperienced in terms of age but also opponents. The stand-out name on Caballero’s record is Stuey Hall, and although he won clearly, Haskins beat the same man even more comfortably.
The southpaw is a huge 5/1 underdog for this fight and that is based in the fact he has lost three times, all by KO. The boring punter will go for Caballero by KO at 8/15 but the knowledgeable punter knows that if Haskins controls his wild side he can take this to points, where he is a whopping 12/1 to win.
Arthur Abraham v Martin Murray
There is one other world title fight on Saturday worth mentioning and that is super middleweight ‘King’ Arthur Abraham (43-4, 29 KOs) against perennial challenger Martin Murray (32-2-1, 15 KOs). It is fair to say most of the boxing world will be willing Murray to end the German’s reign of terrible of boredom.
Murray has been in this position three times before and he was on the rough side of dubious decisions in two of those title fights. The most recent failed attempt was a stoppage loss against Gennady Golovkin back in February but if anything Murray once again showed that he is capable of mixing it with anyone else in the division.
Abraham laboured to wins over fellow Brit Paul Smith twice within the last 12 months and Murray is on another level to him. It seems like Abraham is underestimating Murray and although it is hard to get a decision in Germany we should all do the right thing and back the Brit to win on points at 6/4.