All of the Premier League battles have pretty much been decided before the final whistle this weekend, but on Saturday two titanic boxing bouts promise pure action for as long as they last.
The world title fight between Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko is boxing cranked up to the max and the winner will be regarded as the best boxer on the planet.
Elsewhere, Sam Sexton and Hughie Fury are set to scrap it out to be the British heavyweight boss.
Linares v Lomachenko – Bet Now
A handful of boxers could legitimately stake a claim to be called the pound-for-pound premier, but most observers agree that Lomachenko is The Man.
The 30-year-old Ukrainian won two Olympics as an amateur and he’s pocketed professional world titles in two divisions so far. This Saturday Loma can make himself a three-weight champion against lightweight king Linares.
Having already claimed belts in three weight classes the Venezuelan is widely acknowledged to be one of the top technicians in the game. Linares doesn’t have a long list of big name victims however, and his finest victories in recent years have been against Brits Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell.
Lomachenko made the move up to lightweight to break records and face the best, but it helps that Linares isn’t the tallest.
‘The Golden Boy’ came up the divisions himself and Loma has defeated super feathers as hefty as Linares. When you consider that Loma won the lightweight gold at London 2012 it’s hard to imagine weight will be a factor.
The Eastern European maestro lost once in his 397-fight amateur career and he lost once as a novice pro to a bully boy Mexican, needless to say he’s a huge favourite for this one.
For Linares to have any chance of winning he’ll have to dazzle in a customary fast start and break through Loma’s guard with his blinding hand speed. The current champ is an epic 35/1 to win in rounds 1-4 ,while if he turns early pressure into a points lead he’s a mighty 16/1 to win by decision.
Linares weaknesses are well known: he was dropped by Mitchell, he only won by split decision against Campbell and his face cuts up quicker than a Victoria Sponge.
Perhaps most importantly, Linares’ coach decided to work with David Haye for his dismal performance last weekend rather than train the South American.
Lomachenko forced his last four opponents to retire after dominating the middle rounds and given Linares’ propensity to cut and his suspect chin I favour the southpaw to finish the job inside the distance.
Bet of the bout: Lomachenko in rounds 7-12 at – 13/8.
Sexton v Fury – Bet Now
The big fight of the weekend is Linares-Lomachenko, but the bout between the big men is Sexton versus Fury.
The first defence of Sexton’s British heavyweight crown is live on terrestrial TV in the UK, but Paddy reckons Fury will walk out of the ring as the new king.
Fury jumped a few levels when he took on world champion (at the time) Joseph Parker in his last bout but the six-foot-six slickster narrowly lost by mixed decision. That first career loss doesn’t look too bad after Parker’s performance against Anthony Joshua in March.
Having only lost to Dereck Chisora and David Price in a 27-fight career Sam Sexton is solid, and he’s claiming that he’s more focused than ever.
A heavyweight title bout where both boxers have KO ratios less than 50% is a rarity but don’t let it put you off, powder puff punching might emboldened both men to get properly stuck in.
Fury is 10 years younger, four inches taller and from a much more illustrious amateur background.
Sexton has the heart and desire to see the fight through to the end, but without the power to trouble Fury he’s in for a hard night.
Bet of the bout: Fury to win on points – 2/1.
- Bet summary: A double on these two best bets pays approx 6/1 with Paddy Power.
* All odds correct at time of posting.