Tony Looking Rocky
Ups and downs as Brits battle for belts
Britain can already boost more boxing world champions than any other country and after this bank holiday weekend they could have two more title-holders. Tony Bellew is up against the formidable Ilunga Makabu but he’ll have 20,000 Scousers inside his beloved Goodison Park roaring him on. North of the border, Ricky Burns is trying to become a three-weight world champion but Michele Di Rocco stands in his way. And three of Liverpool’s Smith brothers are appearing to give the long weekend the family feel.
Tony Bellew V Ilunga Makabu – BET NOW
Bellew has been this close to a world title twice before and if he is going to be third time lucky he’ll have to dispatch a beast of a boxer that has been drawn out from the depths of the Congo. There isn’t an official height or reach for Makabu, or even an exact date of birth, but the cruiserweight’s record of 18 wins inside the distance in his last 19 fights is well known.
Apart from home advantage, the ‘Bomber’ has more experience and about three inches more in height, by my estimates. The fear for Bellew, who has been stopped once before and decked a few times, is that he will not be able to stand up to ‘Junior’s’ power. Makabu’s record isn’t perfect either though and he was stopped in his first bout as a pro.
Bellew is known for letting the red mist descend but that will be a gift for the power-punching southpaw. If you think Bellew can produce the disciplined pressure performance of his career then back him atto win on points, but the objective bet is Makabu by KO at.
Ricky Burns V Michele Di Rocco – BET NOW
Burns could become the first Scot and only the third Brit to win world titles in three different divisions this Saturday and he couldn’t have more of a gimme. Di Rocco first contested a European strap in 2006 and until now he’s never competed at a higher level. But the Italian probably also thinks this will be his easiest chance to win the super lightweight world title.
Everything seems to be in ‘Rickster’s’ favour: he is at home against a guy who has only fought once outside of his home country, he has the height advantage which he uses so well and Di Rocco only has a KO ratio of 43% despite facing weak competition. However, Di Rocco has only lost once and that was a bizarre headbutt-hugfest that was somehow scored a TKO in 2007.
I think Burns can outclass the come-forward contender andfor the Scot to make history is still good value. Paddy makes the Coatbridge man odds-on to win by decision but I think Burns can force the stoppage. I’m having a dabble on the favourite to win by KO atand in rounds 7-12 at.
Stephen Smith V Daniel Eduardo Brizuela – BET NOW
Only six weeks after losing his first world title tilt, Stephen Smith is back in the ring again on Sunday evening. Daniel Brizuela is Smith’s opponent and he’s known in the UK for his KO defeats to British lightweights Tommy Coyle and Luke Campbell, but don’t be mistaken, the Argentine is tough and had Coyle down four times in their seesaw battle.
The Liverpudlian says he wants another crack at the crown sooner rather than later but he didn’t have the time to prepare 100% for this fight and the super featherweight doesn’t have the same size advantage as Coyle and Campbell had. Brizuela has no KO wins in 14 contests and can’t cause an upset, so i’m backing Smith to win on points at.
Callum Smith V Cesar Hernan Reynoso – BET NOW
Callum Smith, youngest and probably the most talented of the Smith boys, is waiting for a shot at global glory with either James DeGale or Badou Jack, but the Scouser couldn’t turn down a stadium fight in his home town. Keeping this hot prospect ticking over is Argentina’s Cesar Reynoso, who can’t have had the best training camp with only two weeks notice for the fight.
‘Mundo’ has earned 13 of his 14 KO wins inside three rounds and he’s on a run of two first round stoppages against some of the best opponents he’s faced. Reynoso has only been stopped once but he doesn’t have the quality to live with Smith. Put your money on Callum atto finish the fight in round 3.
Paul Smith, the eldest brother, is also in action on the Sky Sports bill and he should be able to score an easy KO win over Hungary’s Zsolt Dudas. If you’re wondering why the fourth sibling isn’t involved then you’re not the only one. The clever promoters have Liam defending his world title in Liverpool next week.