Two legends of the amateur game collide as professionals at the iconic Madison Square Garden, when Vasyl Lomachenko meets Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Also appearing Stateside is another amateur king, Micheal Conlan, and former title challenger Stephen Smith.
In London, world champion Brits James Degale and Lee Selby are trying to keep the rust off in their individual battles, but the real action will be on the undercard with the rapidly rising light heavyweight star Anthony Yarde and heavyweight prodigy Daniel Dubois.
Vasyl Lomachenko v Guillermo Rigondeaux – Bet now
To win two Olympics is special, to do that and turn pro, conquering the world again is incredible. To find two guys who have achieved all that and are fighting each other is on the same improbability level as winning the lottery.
That’s the situation we have with Lomachenko vs Rigondeax and I can’t wait to be dazzled. Rigo is 37 years old and eight years the senior of the Ukrainian, and he’s moving up two weight divisions. So it’s advantage to the Ukrainian and he’s a huge 1/5 favourite.
Expect to see the Cuban defector on the back foot looking to land blistering counter combos and ‘Hi-Tech’ pushing the pace with attacks from more angles than a polyhedron. The edge in power definitely lies with Lomachenko who has a 70% ratio.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) December 4, 2017
Rigo has suffered several flash knockdowns in his career, but don’t go picking which round Loma will win by KO just yet. The super featherweight champ’s stoppage record is less imposing when you consider his last three opponents retired rather than were KOed.
A fully focused Rigo is verging on impossible to hit clean and Loma will be wary of the counter attacks. Top quality match-ups tend to go the distance and that bet is well worth a look at 11/10 ,but my tip is for the Ukrainian maestro to get the nod from the judges.
Bet of the bout: Lomachenko on points at 15/8.
James Degale v Caleb Truax – Bet Now
While George Groves, Chris Eubank Jr and Callum Smith are lighting up the super middleweight division in the World Boxing Super Series, Degale has been sidelined with injury.
You can’t blame the 2008 Olympic gold medallist for taking a warm-up contest after an 11-month absence, but mid-level contender Caleb Truax is not an opponent anyone thinks deserves a title shot.
"Every time he's stepped up to the highest level…he's been beat!"
Come on @jamesdegale1…tell us what you really think! 👀
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— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) December 5, 2017
‘Chunky’ is sharp, accurate and dangerous early on with the Londoner is 13/5 to win in rounds 1-6.
He’s never had the best engine though and Truax is normally one tough American cookie.
Bet of the bout: The best punt in this one is for Degale to keep his belt with a comfortable decision victory at 5/4.
Lee Selby v Eduardo Ramirez – Bet Now
Selby hasn’t suffered the injury issues that Degale has, however the ‘Welsh Mayweather’ can’t secure a date with a premier opponent for love nor money.
Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg and Josh Warrington are all high-profile British featherweight rival,s but even though Selby has the title no show-downs have been made.
"A few days before my fight I found out my mum had passed away…I got the job done and cried afterwards."@leeselby126 talks about a tough year outside the ring…
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) December 6, 2017
Instead the Barry boxer has been set up with the unheralded Mexican Eduardo Ramirez. The visitor is in the UK to give Selby some rounds and take a small slither of the purse.
To give the challenger his dues, he’s unbeaten, young and reasonably talented.
Bet of the bout: The champ is odds on to win on points, but I am going to back Selby to win in rounds 7-12 at 23/10.
— Anthony yarde (@mranthonyyarde) December 3, 2017
The big names might not get London’s Copper Box Arena really buzzing, but the undercard certainly will. Yarde’s opponent Nikola Sjekloca is his first proper test and he pushed Callum Smith as well as former title holder Robert Stieglitz the full 12 rounds.
The Eastender hasn’t been taken more than four stanzas to date, but his 39-year-old Serbian opponent knows all the tricks to survive the scary moments. Sjekloca has never been stopped in the ring, however Yarde is too quick and too strong, and will force a middle rounds stoppage.
Also featuring is fellow hometown prizefighter Dubois. The 20-year-old, who’s something like a hybrid between Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, can get his sixth stoppage in six bouts against Dorian Darch. Get behind Dubois to win by KO in the early rounds.
Back to the US and there are a couple more fights for Irish and British boxing fans.
Conlan takes his toughest assignment in his pro career with Argentine super bantamweight Luis Fernando Molina. The Irish Olympic Bronze medallist has a perfect KO record so far and I think he will put away another opponent inside the distance.
Finally, Stephen Smith has his work cut out for him in the non-title bout against former champ Francisco Vargas. Both think they deserve another shot at being head honcho in the super featherweight division, but the smart money is on Vargas to win in rounds 7-9 at 7/2.
- Bet summary: A treble on these three bet of the bouts pays out at approximately 20/1 with Paddy Power.