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Talking Boxing

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

January 21, 2017

Fighting the Odds - January 21

Orlando Salido, Francisco Vargas

You can get good odds on Liam Williams becoming a world champion before January 2018. Editor's note: There's not many fights on tonight to make proper money.

by John A. MacDonald

If I am being kind, last week did not go well, but let's not call a spade a long-handled, manual earth moving implement. No, let's call it a spade, last week was an unmitigated disaster.

It all began so promisingly, with Erislandy Lara stopping Yuri Foreman in the fourth, having lulled his opponent in to a false sense of security - and the viewers/spectators in to a deep, peaceful sleep in the previous three rounds. This ensured that Lara enriched the bank balances of anyone who backed him to win between rounds 4-6, at 5/2 (hint: ME!). The first meaningful, sorry semi-meaningful... no that doesn't work either, the first backable fight of 2017, brought a decent win. I was convinced in that moment that this would be a great year, filled with winning bets, wonderful fights and normal liver function.

How wrong I was. The following night, brought only one of those three things, and it wasn't even liver function. I had commented that Gervonta Davis had been more protected than the giant panda, it turns out he is more grizzly bear than panda; a hard-hitting, skilful grizzly bear.

Davis had the talented to overcome his lack of preparation, and ruin my bet in the process. I wasn't concerned, as James DeGale was certain to win on points. It was a sure thing, and I would celebrate by channelling my inner Meatloaf and belting out "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" in my underwear at 4am.

Alas it wasn't to be, much to the disappointment of my early-rising neighbours. Covering the draw was common sense, unfortunately common sense ain't that common. I have spent the following week chastising myself with all the vigour of a masochistic Catholic.

After a week-long period of reflection, I've reached the conclusion that the fiasco was not my fault, but that of fate. Now, here me out: I wrote my predictions on Friday the 13th - I was doomed to fail. All gamblers need good luck, and that is a day that sucks out good luck in the manner which ex-wives suck out the will to live.

Anyway, it is a new week filled with opportunity. Donald Trump is now the most powerful man in the world an will either usher in a golden age, showered with riches, or bring an end to civilisation as we know it - delete as appropriate depending on your political persuasion. The possibilities are endless, as such, in the words of Steven Gerrard: "We go again." Unlike Steven Gerrard, I will try my best not to fall on my backside immediately afterwards.

On to tonight's offerings:











Cedric Vitu v Isaac Real
European light middleweight title


A slick, southpaw against a strong, underrated fight: ring any bells? This fight has many similarities to DeGale v Jack, and as a result I am backing the draw at 20/1 with a small bet. Vitu, the reigning champion on points would my preferred bet, but - at the time of writing - no U.K. bookmaker is offering anything other than outright odds, and at 1/3 a Vitu win doesn't represent good value. I won't be surprised if Real sends Vitu to the canvas, but I don't think he'll do quite enough to win.

Patrick Nielsen v Beibi Berrocal
10 rounds, non-title


Finding value here is akin to an obese man trying to catch a glimpse of his penis - it can't be seen. Now before I'm chased by an angry, slow-moving, wheezy mob of portly gentlemen, I should clarify that I myself used to be rotund and that I treated my gentials like oxygen - I didn't need to see them to know they were there.

Moving on, quickly, rather than back a fleshy Nielsen at 1/33, I feel it's worth taking a glance at Sky Bet's odds for fighters to become a world champion before Jan 2018. There are two standout bets here for me: first Katie Taylor at 10/11. Now this is as close to free money as it gets. Taylor will almost certainly get a world title shot this year, and is good enough to win it. This should pay out in summer allowing you to treat the wife to a romantic break, entertain the kids, or drink yourself in to a stupor. The choice is yours. P.S. Apologies to Taylor for jumping from male anatomy to her. If you are reading this, Katie, please don't hurt me.

The second bet that stands out is Liam Williams at 2/1. It has been rumoured Williams will face Liam Smith for the - soon-to-be - vacant WBO light middleweight title. So essentially, you are getting odds of 2/1 on Williams to beat Smith, something I don't think you will get once the fight is finalised. Fill your boots.

Ed: Back to tonight's boxing, John.

Jack Arnfield v Mick Hall
WBA International Middlewight title


In a rematch of their meeting in the one-night-eight-man-love-it-or-loathe-it-tournament that is Prizefighter, the pick here is Arnfield on points at 4/7 with Sky Bet. I will also be bravely predicting that the sun will set, and the Daily Mail readers will have inappropriate thoughts about Theresa May.

Robbie Davies Jr v Zoltan Szabo
WBA Continental super lightweight title


Most sports fans wouldn't be able to differentiate between Robbie Davies Jr and Sammy Davis Jr at the moment. Unknown does not equate untalented though, and the Liverpudlian's profile has been hampered by the fact that there have been more confirmed sightings of Big Foot, than Davies Jr TV appearances.

Tonight he gets his chance against Zoltan Szabo, who is one of the many hapless Hungarians we see on these shores week in, week out. Szabo will not fall over the first time a punch lands, and won't turn up wearing a pair of shorts that look like they've been purchased in the Sports Direct sale - actually, he may be guilty of the latter, but it doesn't diminish his ability to fight.

Szabo is well know to British fight fans, having previously beaten Zak Davies and Stephen Ormond, and lost to Ohara Davies. Tonight he will look to win his best of three series against British fighters with the surname Davies. Never mind 'Brit Bashing', if he is victorious he will be the 'Davies Destroyer'.

What you may not be aware of is that Szabo's nickname is the "Sticky Man". Why is he sticky? Who knows, but in light of recent events, I fear it may involve a high-speed broadband connection and a webcam. If the "Sticky Man" is in danger, will the corner throw in the man-sized Kleenex tissues rather than a towel?

I'm backing Davies Jr to follow in Ohara's footsteps and stop Szabo at 4/7.