Whichever genre is your favourite this weekend’s boxing has got you covered.
There’s drama in Manchester this weekend with the world title rematch between Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla, the thriller of Brian Rose vs Jack Arnfield, the epic trilogy bout between Martin Joseph Ward and Maxi Hughes and the all-action war when Ireland’s Katie Taylor meets Milena Koleva.
Anthony Crolla is the real-life Rocky Balboa. Except he’s from Manchester and he’s a lightweight. ‘Million Dollar’ slugged it out in small halls and suffered bloody losses before he came good and won a world title in 2015. And then he met the 135lb division’s Apollo Creed: Linares.
Linares walked away from the epic battle with Crolla last September as the unified lightweight world champion but he’s done the honourable thing of giving the Mancunian a rematch. Crolla has home advantage again and he’s promised revenge, but the Brit is the underdog to win.
Both men have only had enough time to tweak their preparation and hone their skills. The first fight went the distance but both fighters were staggered during the contest. A repeat result for Linares on points is a skinny 11/8 and it’s worth noting that re-matches end in a KO, a higher proportion of the time.
On the canvas
Both Linares and Crolla have more guts on display than the local abattoir, but the chin both men wear don’t quite match up. All three of Linares’ loses have come before the final round and Crolla has also been stopped in his career.
If you are set on backing the home fighter – your faith isn’t misplaced. Crolla’s first title attempt ended in a draw against Darleys Perez but he won the rematch by KO shortly after. Crolla is 5/1 to win by stoppage. You could do worse.
They’ll leave it all in the ring on Saturday night. That could mean one of them ends up on the canvas. It’s 7/1 for both boxers to get knocked down but I prefer the 7/1 for Linares to be dropped and still win.
The jab-off between rangy middleweights Rose and Arnfield might lack the fireworks of the headline act – but it should have the guile and intrigue of a fencing exhibition.
And so could be more about scoring points than taking the other man’s head off. The bout is a short price to go the distance – but we can do better than that.
In Arnfield you have a mechanical fighter with solid defence and a jab with zing. Rose has a more varied and slick attack but there are holes in his guard. Arnfield on points is a likely result but Paddy has priced it prohibitively.
If you prefer backing KO results then Arnfield by stoppage in rounds 7-12 is a worth a punt but the best value bet is Rose on points.
Selection: Rose on points at 2/1.
More likely to have some serious action is the scrap between Martin Joseph Ward and Maxi Hughes for the British super featherweight title. These two have actually met twice before, with Ward getting a stoppage in the second encounter after a disappointing draw in the first edition.
Ward is a really talented fighter and he’s still improving, but he doesn’t always show his class and he’s been dropped in two previous fights. The bet to take in this one is Ward on points or decision.
Best bet: Ward to win on points or decision at 2/1.
And if you’re seeking a real war look no further than Irish lass Katie Taylor vs ‘Hells Baby’ Milena Koleva. Taylor has blazed into the professional game with two KO victories and a unanimous points win where she decked her opponent.
Koleva has lost almost as many as she’s won, but the Bulgarian has been in with some of the best and only been stopped once. There’s a good chance that Taylor is the best of the best, so back her to win by KO.
Best Bet: Katie Taylor to win by KO/TKO at 2/1.