Anthony Joshua goes after his first world title
And Manny Pacquaio bows out to focus on the aul' politics
Stacked higher the Panama Papers is this weekend’s boxing line-up. We have Manny Pacquaio’s swansong fight against Timothy Bradley, world title contests between Anthony Joshua and Charles Martin, Lee Selby and Eric Hunter, and Arthur Abraham and Gilberto Ramirez. There’s also fights between George Groves and David Brophy, and Brian Rose and Matthew Macklin. Let’s take Paddy’s prices and help him keep his taxes down in a honest way.
Charles Martin v Anthony Joshua – Bet Now
Nothing in boxing gets the public more frenzied than a heavyweight world title fight and Joshua, in only his 16th professional bout, has the chance to become champion and send the crowds wild in London. The daily nam88e-calling with Tyson Fury could lead to a super-fight but first ‘The Beach Bod’ has to deal with Martin – a champion that everyone seems to know nothing about.
Fury owned this particular belt and was supposed to defend it against Vyacheslav Glazkov but the Brit vacated in favour of making a rematch with Wlad Klitschko. So, Martin got the shot against Glaskov in January, having only been a pro for three years, and then, even more fortuitously, he won the title when the Eastern European picked up a knee injury in the third round.
The American has never been in with anybody the size of Joshua, or with his power, or his ability for that matter. Joshua’s experience isn’t deep either but he has shown his mettle against Dillian Whyte and his ruthlessness in stopping the previously unstoppable Kevin Johnson. AJ is just to win in rounds 1-6 but I favour the for victory in rounds 4-6.
Manny Pacquiao v Timothy Bradley – Bet Now
Pacquiao has been a world champion in eight weight classes in a career lasting 20 years but deciding to become a politician after this bout isn’t the only sign that the Filipino’s capacities are fading. ‘Pac Man’ has no KO wins from his last 10 fights, he was stopped in 2012 for the first time since 1999 and he completely failed to deliver against Floyd Mayweather in his last contest.
But that doesn’t mean that his final fight, taking place in Las Vegas, won’t be worth watching. Pacquiao and Bradley have fought two belters in the last four years, with one points victory each. The American was lucky to get his decision win in 2012 and he’s a healthy to repeat the trick this weekend, but I’ll be backing Pac to win on the scorecards at .
Arthur Abraham v Gilberto Ramierez – Bet Now
On the undercard in Vegas there’s a super middleweight contest that pits a gnarled, veteran champion against a handsome, young prospect. And when the challenger is unbeaten, has a height advantage of five and a half inches and he’s Mexican, the bookies get a little bit excited and make him a favourite. Despite the fact he’s making a huge step up in class.
Ramirez looks like the real deal and it’s clear that with work-rate, movement and body punching he has a chance of winning, but wily old Abraham always seems to find a way. The Armenian-German has his critics, not least me, but he has only lost to world class champions, and once with an injury. Abraham is to win and, although it pains me to write it, that’s the bet of the weekend.
Lee Selby v Eric Hunter – Bet Now
The O2 Arena in London is also hosting Selby’s second featherweight title defence. The Welshman has picked up the nicknames ‘Lightening’, ‘Barry Boy Assassin’ and ‘Welsh Mayweather’ but he looked none of those things in his first fight as champ against tiny veteran Fernando Montiel. Selby got the decision that night but he’ll be looking to improve against the unheralded Hunter.
Hunter is far from a glamour fight but the American has more hand speed, and possibly talent, than anybody Selby has faced. Hunter has been a pro since 2005 and his recent defeats by disqualification were a bit harsh. It’s hard to ignore the value of for Hunter to win on points but the sensible bet is for the fight to go the distance at .
George Groves v David Brophy – Bet Now
Brophy is a Scot who has been sparring partner to the likes of Callum Smith, Matthew Macklin and cruiserweight Stephen Simmons, but in actual real contests he’s still fighting opponents that Groves moved on from more than six years ago. Groves wants to get back to world level sooner rather than later so expect him to wrap up business early. The best bet is the on rounds 4-6.
Brian Rose v Matthew Macklin – Bet Now
The pre-event hype is that Rose Vs Macklin could be the fight of the night in London, which is based in the truth that both men are chinny and have a few KO losses each. ‘Mack The Knife’ is a fading force while ‘The Lion’ is making an advantageous move up to middleweight. The greater hunger also seems to be with Rose so I’m backing him to win on points at .