Talking Boxing

Interviews, opinions, features and news from the greatest sport in the world!

January 13, 2017

Fighting the Odds - January 13/14

Orlando Salido, Francisco Vargas

Lara v Foreman might not be a  must-see fight but that doesn't mean there isn't money to be made.

by John A. MacDonald

It hasn't been the best of weeks: the weather has been colder than a polar bear's scrotum, a light coating of snow caused everyone to become irrational (with snowfall, two inches is considered "significant" - why isn't this applicable to everything?!), and there was a couple of golden showers, for good measure.

Now, never mind the dreary weather conditions, impeding worldwide doom brought on by right-wing political nut-jobs, or incessant whining from bleeding-heart, left-wing Social Justice Warriors (delete as applicable, depending on political persuasion), as boxing makes it's joyous return tonight.

Chances are that everyone's bank balances took a battering over the Christmas period: be it from treating the children to ridiculously overpriced toys (who am I kidding? I meant ridiculously overpriced iPhones and iPads), or drinking your own body weight in alcohol in an attempt to temporarily escape your lonely existence - either way, it's not cheap. There is no need to fear as Talking Boxing is here to help you recuperate a few pennies.

Each week - or each week we don't have cards stacked with 1/50 favourites, and I remember I'm meant to be doing this - I will play the part of Nostradamus, peering in to the crystal balls to deliver my ballsy predictions. So without further ado, let's take a look at this week's fights:

(Disclaimer: all winning bets will be as a result of my infinite knowledge, extensive studying, and alcoholic induced visions of the future. On the very rare occasions where bets don't come through it will be due to bad luck, poor judging, soft stoppages, black cats crossing paths or FAKE NEWS!)

Erislandy Lara v Yuri Foreman
WBA light middleweight (none of this super welterweight nonsense - Yuri Foreman and the word "super" in the same sentence is a violation of the trade descriptions act)

There are few people who deem the slick, Cuban Lara as "must-see". This number decreases rapidly when he is a 1/100 favourite. In fact, on the "To-Do" list, watching Lara-Foreman is preceded by having your prostate examined by Edward Scissorhands - without lube, or even a cuddle afterwards.

Foreman's career-best win is arguably Jesus Soto Karass almost 12 years ago. In the intervening years, he has done nothing to earn this shot, never mind suggesting he may win. However, there may be value to be had in Under/Over round betting markets. Sky Bet have the fight being stopped in the 7th round or over, at 4/6. Foreman has previously gone nine and six rounds with Miguel Cotto, and Pawel Wolak, respectively, and Lara isn't the most concussive of punchers.

A cover bet of Lara winning in rounds 4-6, at 5/2 would also be sensible, on the off chance that the Cuban feels like making a statement.

Jose Pedraza v Gervonta Davis
IBF super featherweight title

Since turning professional almost four years ago, Davis has been more protected than the giant panda! Now, that's likely through no fault of his own - prospects are tough to match, particularly ones who hit hard - but that doesn't excuse the fact that he's unprepared for this fight. If he is successful, it is solely down to his natural talent, of which he has a lot.

He has looked devastating, stopping 15 of his 16 opponents, but as previously mentioned, they were not Murderers' Row. For Davis to be at his most effective, he needs to be in close to unleash explosive hooks and uppercuts. Pedraza - making the third defence of his belt - will look to utilise his footwork to keep things and range and frustrate his opponent. Davis can box - you don't win a Golden Gloves title if you can't - but has become accustomed to having everything his own way, he won't get that here. Pedraza to win outright is available at 8/11, in many places, and that's the pick here. Davis is too untested to know if he will survive to a points loss, or get stopped late, having only ever been as far as the 9th round.

James DeGale v Badou Jack
IBF and WBC super middleweight unification

The big one. A fight between who many perceive to be number one and number two at the weight - apart from Boxrec who have DeGale and Jack at 4th and 9th, respectively. Presumably Boxrec also believe that David Shayler is the Messiah, Michael Bay should win the Best Director Oscar every year, and David Cameron should receive a knighthood for services to the pork industry.

Anyway, back to the real world. If this fight was based purely on skill, James DeGale would be a massive odds-on favourite. However, it isn't, and a result he is only a 4/11 favourite. Herein lies the problem with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist: he has never produced the performance people believe he is capable of. His fight reports read like school report cards: "could do better," "must try harder," "James seems to lose focus". Despite this, we all expectantly await the day it all falls into place, like children anticipating Christmas, in June.

Some will argue we have seen this against Brandon Gonzales, and Marco Antonio Periban, but whilst those wins were impressive; the opponents are solid contenders rather than elite opposition. Badou Jack on the other hand is the Parka of fighters - unfashionable but effective. Jack is; soli​​d, workmanlike, and a literal Jack-of-all-trades. Will Saturday be the day DeGale produces the masterclass, or will he scrape through once again? Either way, I see the result being the same: DeGale on points, 8/13.

Orlando Salido, Francisco Vargas
Orlando Salido, Francisco Vargas