In the main event this weekend in Las Vegas, light middleweights Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan battle it out for a shot at WBC champion Saul Alvarez.
The bookies seem to know who they think will win as they have made Lara a big odds on favourite. Is he really THAT likely to win?
Lara has certainly fought the better quality opposition. He fought, and beat in the eyes of most observers, Paul Williams in 2011. He followed that up with a first round stoppage of Ronald Hearns and then a unanimous decision win over Freddy Hernandez. Add the draw with Carlos Molina and a late stoppage win over Grady Brewer in 2010 and his career has started to shape up nicely in the last 2 years.
He is considered by many to be a high risk, low reward fighter and accusations have been made against numerous opponents from fans and media alike claiming he is being “ducked” by many of the top fighters. He certainly is a dangerous southpaw fighter.
Martirosyan had an extensive amateur career in which he won numerous awards in the USA and beat some top fighters. His pro career has been a lot less inspiring to date though. Having made his debut 7 years ago he has had 32 fights but not one against top contender status. However, this fight changes all of that.
Also, it must be made clear that despite the lack of world class competition he has still been showcasing his talents. He has a good orthodox stance, a boxer puncher style and loves to throw combos when the time is right.
In this fight he will have a 3 inch height advantage over Lara which could play a big part in the outcome. However, Paul Williams also had a big height advantage and it didn’t trouble Lara much at all.
One last thing to consider: This is boxing. Martirosyan is promoted by Top Rank and is an undefeated American star. I’ll leave that thought with you.
Verdict: If you believe that in this fight the best fighter will definitely win, then Lara by points is probably the best bet. But, if you are slightly cynical of the higher echelons of boxing then Martirosyan by decision could be a very good bet.
On the undercard, talented featherweight Mike Garcia fights Jonathan Victor Barros in what could be a very competitive bout. The undefeated American starlet will be favourite to win and further showcase his skills to the world. Most in the boxing world think the young star is the real deal and I agree. He has all the talent in the world, power, speed, good defence and furious attack. He is a star in the making in my opinion.
However, Barros is no slouch himself. He has all the experience in this fight having fought some of the best fighters in the world and once holding the WBA title. He will definitely put up a fight against Garcia and has a chance to win.
Verdict: Garcia is just on the up and up and I think he will prove how good he is. Barros has never been stopped so the smart money is on points. But the brave money is on a late stoppage.