Mad things in boxing happen all the time. In 2017 the world’s best boxer Floyd Mayweather battered Queensbury Rules debutant Conor McGregor in a world title fight, in 2018 Curtis Harper walked out of the ring immediately after the first bell in a protest over pay, and in 2019 YouTube posterboys KSI and Logan Paul headline a huge boxing event in LA.
What the social media sensations lack in skills they make up for in effort.
But there’s no lack of finesse on the undercard. British super middleweight king Billy Joe Saunders defends his crown against Marcelo Esteban Coceres, and newly-minted American champ Devin Haney takes on Alfredo Santiago.
I swear I didn’t know who KSI and Logan Paul were before they wanted to be boxers, you have to believe me! But as they are the showpiece of a fairly huge boxing event, I have to do my due diligence and, what do you know, there are some great bets on this punch-up between internet personalities.
For those who aren’t in the loop, this scrap is actually a rematch of a contest that took place in August last year. After a fast start, Paul began to gas and eventually had to hang on for a draw. You have to say both lads are game, if a little ‘swingy’, and the level is a notch or two above your average kebab shop brawl.
There are a few differences from the first fight – this is a “professional” bout, which means there are no head-guards and the gloves are smaller. Paddy figures that this makes a knockout likely and he places America’s Paul as the favourite @ 8/13 – presumably because he has the bigger muscles and a semi-authentic background in junior wrestling.
Both KSI and Paul will be better than last year, but I am not convinced either will have picked up the skills to really ‘clean the clock’ of the other. I can’t see a stoppage coming in this six-round exhibition. Although I am tempted by the 4/1 about Paul to win on points, I am going to go with a bet that shouldn’t upset any YouTube devotees.
Bet of the bout: Fight to go the distance @ 13/8.
This is a weird one – not only has Saunders been relegated to the undercard for his maiden fight as super-middleweight champ, nobody outside of Argentina has heard of the guy challenging for his title. Saunders is a massive favourite but the videos on Coceres suggest he’s no mug.
What we know for sure is that the man from Santa Fe is unbeaten in 29 professional contests and he must have faced some hard SOBs in Argentina. Coceres also seems to be a big unit who knows when to have a tear-up and when to use his footwork.
The British southpaw is supremely skillful but in the last five years he’s only KO’d a French journeyman and a late replacement. Saunders will be looking to impress the social media audience and a certain Mexican ginger rival, but I will be backing a decision victory for the champ.
Bet of the bout: Saunders on points or decision at 2/1.
If the Saunders-Coceres bout sounds a bit disappointing, Haney’s fight will hit the spot. The 20-year-old world champion is a frightening talent but he faces another young, unbeaten lightweight this Saturday in LA.
Inexperience and lack of power will be the shortcomings of Santiago, but he has the length and the footwork to make it a tricky night for the American titleholder. Haney hasn’t shown one-punch knockout power but I think he can stop his challenger in the later rounds.
Bet of the bout: Haney in rounds 7-12 at 9/5.
*Prices correct at time of publication