KHAN, MAIDANA: Boxer versus banger on HBO. / Photo: Mark Robinson, GBP
Khan -250; Maidana +180
Over 9.5 -165; under 9.5 +145
Boxer versus puncher matches are always intriguing, and tonight’s main event on HBO between Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana is one of those fights that is bound to keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Khan is favoured to win the junior welterweight title fight at the Mandalay Bay casino hotel in Las Vegas, but backers of the British superstar will not be able to relax for a moment. Maidana is one of the few fighters who truly will be dangerous as long as he is in the fight.
SOTO, ANTILLON: fans will be the winner. / Photo: CHRIS FARINA, Top Rank
Soto -280; Antillon +190
Over 9.5 -170; under 9.5 +150
Although Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is off the card the show goes on, with Humberto Soto defending his lightweight title against Urbano Antillon in what should be a rousing main event on PPV tonight from Anaheim, CA.
Antillon is based in southern California although Mexican-born and he will have support, but Soto, the Mexican national, will surely get his share of cheers, and this is one of those fights where, as they say, the fans will be the winner no matter which boxer has his hand raised at the end.
ABRAHAM, FROCH: hostility level has increased. / Photo: TOM CASINO, for Showtime
Abraham -160; Froch +140
Over 11.5 -120; under 11.5 +100
It’s not often that fights come along as intriguing as the one between Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham on Showtime on Saturday. The network’s Super Six: World Boxing Classic tournament has had its setbacks, but a fight such as Froch-Abraham makes it all worthwhile.
The betting odds have hardly changed. Abraham opened at around -160 and that is where he has remained apart from minor fluctuations. The over/under of 11.5 rounds at essentially even money indicates that the oddsmakers see this as a long, likely full-distance, fight.
HASEGAWA meets a bigger man in BURGOS. / Photo: Thompson Boxing
Hasegawa -180; Burgos +140
Over 11.5 -165; under 11.5 +145
Japan is the scene for an attractive double world championship show on Friday with Hozumi Hasegawa meeting Juan Carlos Burgos for the vacant WBC featherweight title while Vitali Tajbert defends his WBC super featherweight belt against Takahiro Ao.
Hasegawa, 29, is moving up two weight divisions for the fight with Burgos. The Japanese fighter lost shockingly in four rounds to Fernando Montiel seven months ago, losing his bantamweight title in his 11th defence. It seems that Hasegawa’s struggles making weight were taking more out if him than anyone realised.
MARTINEZ, WILLIAMS: following in famous footsteps. / Craig Bennett, Goossen Tutor
Tonight’s rematch in Atlantic City between Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez evokes memories of the glory days of the middleweight division, when the best fought the best and return fights captured the imagination of the boxing public.
Williams is in many ways a throwback fighter. He will take on anyone, and he once told me in an interview that when the blood is flowing and punches are flying is when he’s happiest: anyone who loves boxing has to love Williams.
STIEGLITZ: An improved fighter. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Stieglitz -380; Ornelas +260
Over 10.5 -150; under 10.5 +120.
Robert Stieglitz suffered a punishing defeat against Librado Andrade in California almost three years ago, but he is unbeaten since, capturing the WBO 168-pound title by stopping Karoly Balzsay and making two successful defences. On Saturday the Russian-born German fighter defends his title against Librado’s brother, Enrique Ornelas — they have the same father but Enrique’s birth was registered under his mother’s maiden name.
Some might see this as a sort of “revenge” fight for Stieglitz, but I doubt if he thinks that way although it would no doubt give him a measure of satisfaction to be able to beat his conqueror’s brother.
PACQUIAO, MARGARITO: size isn't everything. / Photo: CHRIS FARINA, Top Rank
Pacquiao -400; Margarito +300
Over 10.5 +140; under 10.5 -165
Looking at Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito standing alongside each other, it doesn’t seem like a fair fight. Pacquiao looks so much smaller. We have learned, though, that size alone doesn’t win fights. Speed, power and ability are important attributes, and Pacquiao has those in abundance, which is why he is a clear favourite in Saturday’s PPV main event.
The odds have been coming down, though. Margarito looks in awesome physical condition, and not all the pundits are picking Pacquiao — ESPN’s Teddy Atlas, for instance, is emphatically siding with Margarito.
HARRISON, HAYE: British heavyweights have captured the UK public's imagination.
Haye -750; Harrison +450
Over 7.5 +140; under 7.5 -160
The talking — and there has been a lot of it — is over, and on Saturday David Haye and Audley Harrison climb into the ring in Manchester for their Best of Enemies heavyweight title fight that will be televised on Sky Box Office in the UK.
Haye is a massive favourite in the betting, but the fight has caught on in the UK, where Harrison has a high profile. People look at the size difference, Harrison’s southpaw stance and his punching power with the left hand, then wonder what might happen if Audley connects with a big left hand on Haye’s supposedly suspect chin.
MATTHYSSE, JUDAH: Super night for Super Zab? / Photo: Carlos Suarez Jr
Judah -155; Matthysse +125
Over 9.5 -165; under 9.5 +145
There was a time when Zab Judah looked like being one of boxing’s superstars but he never quite delivered. It has been a roller-coaster ride for the flashy and gifted southpaw from Brooklyn. He has given explosive performances but has also had his struggles. There was the crazy dance on disobedient legs when Kostya Tszyu drilled him with a right hand — counterbalanced by a devastating upset victory over Cory Spinks. Judah has been up and he has been down but he has always been entertaining.
On Saturday Judah, 33, tops the bill on HBO’s Boxing After Dark in a fight that could put him back on top when he meets Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse in a junior welter title eliminator. If Judah wins impressively it could be the beginning of a new chapter in an often-stormy career,
GUERRERO: meets California rival on HBO. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Guerrero -165; Escobedo +145
Over 9.5 -220; under 9.5 +180
The lightweight division is heating up, with Juan Manuel Marquez meeting Michael Katsidis and Humberto Soto facing Urbano Antillon in title bouts in the coming weeks, while red-hot Brandon Rios is poised for a championship challenge in the new year.
Two fighters who seek to play a part in big fights at 135 pounds meet on Saturday, when Robert Guerrero clashes with California rival Vicente Escobedo in a 10-round bout on the Zab Judah-Lucas Matthysse show in Newark, NJ, with TV coverage on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
HYLAND (left), CASEY: Intriguing all-Irish showdown. / Photo: Brian Peters Promotions
Casey -140; Hyland +120
Over 9.5 -175; under 9.5 +145
The great old-time British promoter Jack Solomons used to say that if a fight fell through he would try to make the replacement match better than the original. Brian Peters, the Irish promoter, has taken a leaf out of the Solomons book with his show in Limerick on Saturday that features local favourite Willie “Big Bang” Casey going up against Dublin’s Paul Hyland for the vacant European 122-pound title.
Originally, Casey was to have challenged Kiko Martinez for the title, but the Spanish boxer withdrew after suffering a rib injury in training and vacated the championship on the understanding that he will meet the winner of Saturday’s bout.
RODRIGUEZ (left) weighed 166.2; McGirt 167.8. / Photo: Rich Hundley III, Showtime
Rodriguez -450; McGirt +300
Over 9.5 +130; under 9.5 -160
Edwin Rodriguez returns to ShoBox tonight when he tops the bill in a 10-rounder against James McGirt Jr., and I make this the stiffest test yet for the undefeated 168-pounder from Massachusetts. Rodriguez, a former U.S. national champion and national Golden Gloves champion in the amateurs, is an exciting prospect being groomed for big things, a boxer-puncher who goes to the body with telling effect.
I did think that Rodriguez got caught a bit too easily in his ShoBox fight with the game but limited Kevin Engel in April, but I think he wanted to look good and was so eager to land his hard punches that he didn’t always bother too much about defence. Rodriguez produced some classy punching from both hands, though, including left uppercuts, and he ended the bout with a driving right-hand shot to the body.