In the buffet of sport available this weekend make sure you don’t miss out on the Asian-Latin fusion fight between global boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and current champion Lucas Matthysse or the German-British beef involving titleholder Tyron Zeuge and first time challenger Rocky Fielding.
Lucas Matthysse v Manny Pacquiao
Boxing’s biggest name is back in the ring after suffering a shock defeat last year and Pacquiao returns immediately to world title contention. Matthysse, the man in possession of the belt, is seeking to put the legend into retirement.
‘Pac Man’, now aged 39, looked a shadow of his former self against Australian grafter Jeff Horn last July and his second job as a Filipino congressman is unsurprisingly affecting his performances with the gloves on.
A bounce-back win against Matthysse will get Pacquiao a bauble and more big-money fights, but the man from Argentina brings a combination of pressure and power that will make the battle with Horn seem like a play fight with a toddler.
Matthysse became a champion for the first time in January and he is the weakest of all the welterweight bosses, but the 35-year-old banger is still a serious threat having won by KO in 36 of his 39 victories.
Eight weight world champion Pacquiao would have schooled Matthysse in his prime but Pac Man is six months shy of his 40th birthday, slightly ring rusty from only one contest in almost two years and he’s distracted by matters outside of fighting.
On top of his parliamentary responsibilities Pacquiao is also promoting the entire event in Malaysia this Saturday and he’s split from his father-like trainer Freddie Roach after 17 years working together.
The Filipino is known for his hand speed and blitz attacks but he’s not won by KO since ’09. Both men only know how to attack and I think the fresher, more focused, more powerful Matthysse will get a big win.
Bet of the bout: Matthysse to win at 7/4
Tyron Zeuge v Rocky Fielding
The other championship bout of the night comes from Germany and pits home favourite and current chief Zeuge against Liverpool’s second best super middleweight Fielding. The challenger actually has a reasonable chance against the relatively untested Berliner.
Fielding has 26 wins but his one world-level opponent, Callum Smith, also a Scouser, flattened him inside a single round. Under pressure, Rocky tends to live up to his name, and when he gets tagged once he usually ends up getting pasted a few more times.
Zeuge is young, strong and his best win might be the one-sided drubbing he gave out to Callum’s older brother Paul. The German is not known for his power but he has dropped three of his last four foes and his man-strength is coming through.
Fielding is a good fighter and if he can use his reach advantage to dominate with the jab he has a solid chance of taking this one on the cards. But Zeuge is the favourite for this one and I can’t see past an early victory for the champ.
Bet of the bout: Zeuge in rounds 1-3
*All odds correct at time of posting