The recent burst of warm weather may have you thinking that it’s still summer. It’s not, it’s boxing season!
Last weekend Gennady Golovkin broke Kell Brook’s face, this Saturday it’s Liam Smith’s chance to test himself in a world title contest against one of the best in the business, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
On the undercard there promises to be an epic when Gabriel Rosado meets Willie Monroe Jr, while in Poland there’s a Soviet slugfest title fight between Krzysztof Glowacki and Oleksandr Usyk.
Maybe it’s British success in boxing, the Olympics and even football (Wales, not England obviously) that has forced super welterweight world champion Smith to travel to Alvarez’s adopted home city of Dallas on Mexican independence weekend to defend his strap and gain a little glory.
Then again, after 49 fights, 10 world title contests and only one defeat, Canelo is always the A-side.
Alvarez has beaten the some of the best, and three Brits too – Matthew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes and Amir Khan. The only opponent to make him look less than phenomenal was Floyd Mayweather – and one judge still scored that bout a draw.
In comparison ‘Beefy’ won a vacant title in 2015 and has fought, well, nobody, but he does have an unbeaten record to wave around in Alvarez’s face. Smith can only beat who’s put in front of him and he has done that dramatically, stopping his last eight opponents including two title defences earlier this year.
The Scouser is a massive underdog in this fight, to win and to win by KO, but a few pundits, including Khan, think he has a chance. I would encourage you to save your money.
Khan made Canelo look like a monster puncher, but the reality is he’s just a big puncher.
Smith has never been dropped, but if the solidness of your chin is family trait then he could be trouble.
Two of Liam’s brothers, Paul and Stephen, have been stopped when they have stepped up in class. The man from Guadalajara is to win in rounds 7-12 and that’s good value.
The champ won’t give up his belt easily though and the fight could go the distance. Canelo is two years younger, five years more experienced and has barely lost ten rounds in his career.
Smith has lost a fair few rounds in recent years and he’s no Mayweather. Alvarez on points is and well worth backing.
Top of the undercard in Dallas is a fight with no titles on the line but promises all-out action, which is fine by me.
You might have last seen Rosado in the film Creed but trust me, this guy makes the movie seem dull. Monroe Jr has all the skills to batter Rosado bloody, but he’ll need serious guts to live with Rosado’s relentless onslaught.
Philly fighter Rosado has been in with a lot of the top middleweights and he wants another shot at a title. New Yorker Monroe Jr has much less experience and the only name on his record is Golovkin, who he put up a good fight against for six rounds before submitting.
‘Junior’ is a technical southpaw with good footwork, great hand speed and a huge reach.
In contrast, Rosado is super tough and will try to make this a brawl. Rosado’s face tends to cut up and if that happens the doctor could stop it late on, but the best bet is Monroe taking the win .
Bet now: Krzysztof Głowacki v Oleksandr Usyk
Away from the boxing spotlight this Saturday there’s a contest between a cruiserweight world champion and a nine-fight Ukrainian novice in Gdansk, Poland.
It’s not the stuff that normally gets much press coverage, but this fight could be something special. Let me introduce you to the champion Glowacki and his challenger Usyk.
Glowacki won the title last year by stopping German superstar Marco Huck, despite being knocked down himself earlier in the contest.
The Pole didn’t mess around in his first defence, taking on and beating up former champ Steve Cunningham. And now he faces the gap-toothed, tattooed, wild-haired Usyk, who also happens to be a 2012 Olympic champion.
Both men are unbeaten, both have power and both are southpaws. Glowacki has fierce determination and could force a late stoppage against the under-experienced challenger, but Usyk has more skill, speed and tactical know-how.
You can’t look past Usyk at to win and it will probably be on points.