Andy Lee Vs Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO Middleweight Title


There is no sport more exciting to have a wager on than boxing. Football can be exciting, but once your team is 4-0 down with 2 minutes to go then it’s curtains for you and your scrappy little betting slip. Not so with boxing. Let’s use Carl Froch as an example. If you’d bet some of your assiduously earned coins on a Jermain Taylor victory back in April 2009, you’d have been elated by the final round. Taylor was comfortably ahead on two of the three judges’ cards. Froch would win the fight via TKO with 14 seconds left to go…

It’s that cliché of “it only takes one punch to win a fight” that makes it such an enthralling sport to spectate. Finally, after two postponements, Lee and Saunders fight on Saturday in Manchester for the WBO Middlewight Title. To borrow another shop-worn cliché “this is a genuine pick ’em 50-50 fight”. Hailing from Ireland, Andy Lee is currently the WBO Middleweight title holder. He won this when he scored a surprise TKO in round 6 against the technically skilled Matt Korobov; they were fighting for the vacant title. Since then he shared a draw with Peter Quillin (who both had each other tasting canvas) and has demonstrated his game changing right-hook in both of those fights. Lee was losing on points to both John Jackson and Matt Korobov before landing cleanly on Jackson’s chin to end him and setting up Korobov for the end with the same shot respectively.

Whilst not quite a maestro when it comes to actual boxing skill, Lee is capable of boxing at range. With a 75′ reach and operating as a southpaw, Lee can still be tricky to work against. That said, both of his loses (against 34 wins (24KO’s)) have been times where he has been stopped. Once against the much maligned Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and prior to that Brian Vera, who you might know after recently being halted by Rocky Fielding. The aforementioned Quillin also had Lee down twice as well – visibly hurt in fact, so there are questions on the durability of Lee’s chin. Though as stated, Lee’s right-hook is a shot dangerous to anyone in his division; it’s an equaliser that means he can’t be ruled out of any fight really. Thanks to that, he’s much more likely to be winning a fight by KO than by a points decision.

His opponent for the night  is unbeaten southpaw Billy Joe Saunders. Saunders – whilst lacking genuine power – is an excellent boxer, combining his quick hand-speed with intelligent footwork to make himself a difficult night for anyone at Middleweight. His best win is against rising star Chris Eubank Jr. Whilst this was indeed a split decision I think it’s difficult to truly make a case for Saunders losing the fight. Yes it was extremely close, but it was also clear. On top of that, Saunders has used his talents to secure wins across other top fighters across the domestic scene, namely: Nick Blackwell, Gary O’Sullivan and John Ryder.

To his detriment, Saunders seemed to slow down a fair bit towards the Eubank Jr fight. Wherever this was a case of Saunders not having enough in the tank or Eubank Jr finally starting to work him out, I guess we won’t know until Saunders is dragged into the late rounds again. He’d built up a steady enough lead after the first 5 rounds so it’s possible his mentality shifted and allowed him to think he could coast the fight. Whilst confidence is a required skill to be a top fighter, being able to impose a limit on one’s own mind and halting before arrogance is equally vital.

With both fighters being southpaw I’d expect the first few rounds to be a little bit cagey. A cautious approach whilst both work the other out (in fact, I believe these rounds will edge towards Saunders slightly as he is the better boxer). Lee will eventually begin to look for that KO shot and will want to make this more of a brawl than an exhibition. Saunders has never been down in his career; he looked hurt against Eubank Jr but it’s possible this was down to fatigue as much as anything. Will that happen again? Possibly. Either way, Lee will land that right-hook eventually and as tough as Saunders has proved to be, I’m not confident it won’t shake him up enough for Lee to go in for the kill. My opinion: Lee via TKO 10.

Jake CollinsJAKE COLLINS is passionate about literature, music and sports. He currently works in London and lives in Essex. Read more of his sports betting commentary in Jake’s blog or follow Jake on Twitter and Google+.


Mayweather – Pacquiao: The Biggest Fight of the Century


(photo credit: shosports/YouTube)


A couple of years ago, you’d have been foolish to even consider betting on this fight actually happening, let alone placing bets on who will win. Now here we are in 2015 looking ahead to May 2nd at the illustrious MGM Grand for the long-awaited match-up between the two best P4P fighters in boxing right now. Floyd Mayweather finally takes on Manny Pacquiao for the WBC, WBA and WBO world Welterweight titles in a bout that’s been exasperatingly anticipated for the last 5 years.


Manny Pacquiao v Floyd Mayweather Jr Outright Betting Odds:

Pacquiao win +185

Mayweather win -225

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change)


Mayweather is currently unbeaten and goes into this as the naturally bigger man. He’s an inch and a half taller than Pacquiao whilst also boasting a 5 inch reach advantage other the Filipino. This will be no deterrent to Pacquiao though, who has held world title in a record 8 different weight divisions. Antonio Margarito held a larger size advantage over Pacquiao than Mayweather currently does and he quite comfortably battered the tough Mexican over 12 rounds, so whilst this will play into the fight a little I don’t think it will be a defining disadvantage for Manny.

Kenny Bayliss will be the man in the middle on the night, and this announcement has given rise to some questions from fans in and of  itself. Bayliss is an excellent referee, comfortably one of the best in boxing. Bayliss refereed the Mayweather-Maidana rematch and many were critical of how quickly he wandered in to split up any inside fighting (which was seen to be Mayweather’s weakness in that fight). However, given Pacquiao’s style and – apart from that fight – Bayliss not really having a reputation for that kind of officiating, I don’t see this being an issue either.


It’d be prudent to say that neither of these guys have fought someone relatively similar to the other. In fact, their two styles are exactly what you need to beat the other. Mayweather comes to put on a clinic and – most crucially – he steps in the ring not to lose. He allows fighters to walk him down and then uses his impressive reflexes to make them miss and then land a few counters.

For his age (38), Mayweather still has remarkably fast hands and will utilise these to jab away at his opponent thus creating an opening to work off of. He’s happy to sit on the ropes and defend with the infamous shoulder roll technique (which he has perfected, but didn’t invent. Ken Norton and Archie Moore both used variants of this), before firing off counters to free up some room to enable him to move away. Maidana found a fair bit of success against Mayweather’s defence, particularly in their first fight. Maidana’s attacks can be somewhat crude at times, so this was most likely indicative of Mayweather starting to look his age as opposed to Maidana sussing him out.


Pacquiao, on the other hand, steps through the ropes to win. He’s there to beat you up as opposed to winning rounds, and this approach has cost him in the past. His career briefly took a nose dive when counter-puncher Marquez knocked him out cold in their 4th meeting to date. Pacquiao steps out and back into the action which his impeccable footwork. Adding this to his southpaw stance, he is able to attack the other fighter from a myriad of angles landing flurries to the head and body. He does have a tendency to leave his chin exposed, so it was only a matter of time before he eventually got caught flush.

It’s the shots you don’t see which leave you tasting canvas and this was a perfect example of that. Does Mayweather have the power to do that? Probably not. His last KO was against Victor Ortiz back in 2011 and that was essentially a cheapshot after the two touched gloves (though it was after an intentional headbutt from Ortiz, so morally justified). Prior to that, it was the stoppage of Ricky Hatton in 2007.


Two years later, Pacquiao put Hatton out cold to effectively end the Englishman’s career. They share quite a few common opponents and those fights corroborate with the above. Marquez aside (who came up two weights to fight Mayweather, who in turn came in for that fight overweight…), they’ve both beaten their mutual opponents. Mayweather outpointed De La Hoya, Mosley and Cotto (De La Hoya was SD, other 2 were UD) whilst Pacquiao stopped De La Hoya and Cotto before outscoring Mosley. Mayweather’s fights were more of an exhibitionist clinic, whereas Pacquiao’s were wars. One comes to box, the other comes to fight.

Will this go down as one of the all time great fights or something of an anti-climax? The lack of public seating and general cost of even just watching this at home leaves something of an unpleasant avaricious taste in the mouth. There remains a real buzz about this one though; even people who aren’t boxing fans are talking about it. It has the potential to be a defining classic for this generation of boxing, but with such potential comes the cataclysmic chance of sheer and utter disappointment. Either way, both Mayweather and Pacquiao will be spoken about for years to come as the greats of the last decade of boxing.


Betting Instinct tip – this could go either way, but we like Mayweather to win on points at -164 with

 JAKE COLLINS  is an avid boxing fan and writer currently living in London. Read more of his work in Jake’s blog, or follow Jake on Twitter and Google+.

Hopkins – Kovalev: Pen vs Sword


Sergey Kovalev should provide a great contrast to Bernard Hopkins’ style

At 49 years of age, Bernard Hopkins has defied both logic and science by being in a position where he could unify the Light-Heavyweight division beyond just 2 world titles. The crafty fighter will be defending his IBF and WBA world titles against hard hitting Russian Sergey Kovalev, who holds the WBO world title. It’s as good an example as you’re ever likely to see of a thinker and a puncher going toe-to-toe this Saturday down in Atlantic City.


Bernard Hopkins v Sergey Kovalev Betting Odds:

Hopkins to win +210

Kovalev to win -275

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change)


Hopkins is no stranger to events of this magnitude. He started as a Middleweight – losing his first pro bout in fact – and has worked his way up to Light-Heavyweight. He won his first world title in 1995 in a re-match against Ecuadorian Segundo Mercado. He defended his world Middleweight title a staggering 20 times, before moving up through the rankings at the hight weight classes. Most boxers begin to deteriorate around their mid-30’s, but Hopkins has dynamically adapted his approach to fights with age. This exclusive intellect has enabled him to be in a position where he is still competing at the highest levels of the game. Hopkins has always boxed a smart game, but is now much more economical about his work. He doesn’t have the power he once possessed; his last KO coming a decade ago against a certain Oscar De La Hoya. That said, Hopkins doesn’t go looking to land power shots and put you down. Instead, he will frustrate and steal rounds. Years of boxing have versed him well in the art of dirtier fighting. If you try and trade with Hopkins, he’ll clinch and counter you. He’s astute enough to know he cant go blow-for-blow with fighters any more, especially not at this higher weight.

His last outings have been against ranked – but not necessarily rated – opposition. Shumenov and Murat both made for relatively dull and conclusive fights. He holds notable wins over Tavoris Cloud and Jean Pascal at this weight also, although Hopkins was never able to get the better of the now ineffective Chad Dawson. The rest of his CV is littered with wins over household names, with his record at an impressive 55-6-2. Should ‘The Alien’ add Kovalev to his resume, he’ll be a win against forgotten Light-Heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson away from holding all 4 belts at the weight, further cementing his place as an all-time great.


Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev first burst onto the scene for the majority of the UK audience by dispatching world champion Nathan Cleverly with absolute ease. Cleverly has since been forced to move up to Cruiserweight and hasn’t looked the same since. Besides that, Kovalev has only really beaten fringe competition. Campillo and Sillakh are perhaps the next best two names on the resume and certainly won’t be known to too many boxing fans, particular the more casual viewer. That said, Kovalev hasn’t just beaten these opponents – he’s flat out destroyed them. He is unbeaten and 23 of his 25 wins have come by knock-out.


‘Krusher’ is known and venerated for his punching power. However, he is far more than just a KO artist. Kovalev can also box very well. Before turning pro, he had a strong amateur career which consisted of several medals in the national Russian Championships. Kovalev has adopted parts of this into his pro game; he is exceptionally skilled at cutting off the ring and places his punches very well, often throwing viciously effective combinations. Because he is such a devastating puncher, his ring IQ and footwork can be often overlooked. He does have a tendency to leave his chin exposed when throwing big shots, but Hopkins’ lack of power these days is unlikely to punish that. Kovalev will be hoping to hold all 3 belts by the end of the night in order to force a fight with the aforementioned Adonis Stevenson. Stevenson was called out by Kovalev some time ago and has been accused of changing promoters to avoid the fight with the stone-handed Russian.

Hopkins has the trickery, ability and patience to out-box Kovalev and will most likely approach this as a normal fight. However, only one of Kovalev’s shots needs to land flush and it could well be goodnight to ‘The Alien’. Over 12 rounds and the fact that Hopkins is unlikely to KO Kovalev, you can almost be assured that some of those big shots are going to catch the veteran. I believe Hopkins will last longer than Kovalev’s recent opponents, but don’t see it progressing beyond 8 rounds


Betting Instinct tip Kovalev to win in round 7-9 is +450 with


 JAKE COLLINS  is passionate about literature, music and sports. He currently works in  London and lives in Essex. Read more of his work in Jake’s blog, or follow Jake on Twitter and Google+.

Mayweather – Maidana II: Beginning of the end or business as usual?

Embed from Getty Images


Back on May 3rd, Floyd Mayweather Jr defended his illustrious WBA and WBC Welterweight titles against hard-hitting Argentine Marcos Maidana. Whilst it wasn’t the fight the public asked for, it was to be one of the most entertaining fights that has included Mayweather in recent history. Most people expected another relatively arduous encounter, with Mayweather moving around the ring and countering off the back foot. Whilst there was times where his immense reflexes were on display, we saw Mayweather get caught flush an awful lot more than usual. Furthermore, we were treated to seeing Mayweather forced into trading on the inside for the first time in what feels like forever. To his credit, he battled very well and stood up to Maidana’s power. It had echoes of Mayweather’s previous fight with Castillo which was also a tightly contested battle (And another – including their own encounter and Maidana’s – that Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya believes Mayweather lost).

The contest went the entire 12 rounds with Mayweather deservedly getting the majority decision. Maidana is an exciting fighter, a great pressure fighter and has a puncher’s chance against anyone. Is he a top tier fighter? No. Is he a particularly skilled technician? No. So how was it that he was able to have such a close and visually enjoyable fight with Mayweather?


Floyd Mayweather Jr v Marcos Maidana Betting Odds:

Floyd Mayweather Jr -1000

Marcos Maidana +550

Draw +2500

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change)


It cannot be stressed enough how much styles make fights. Mayweather’s three closest fights (subjectively of course) have been against Castillo, De La Hoya and Maidana. Each one of those fighters is an expert at swarming their opponent and putting them under constant pressure. De La Hoya was obviously far more technically proficient in most areas than the other two, but in terms of style there are some comparisons to be drawn. Even Ricky Hatton caused Mayweather some grief initially, but was soundly outclassed by the end of the fight. Whilst it is clear that Mayweather struggles with pressure fighters, he has ultimately came out on top every time (by the judges scorecards at least).

It is entirely possible that Mayweather is starting to slow up a little, which allowed Maidana to have more success than he was entitled to. Mayweather’s head movement is the best in business, but an awful lot more of those overhand rights from Maidana got in than he would have liked. It’s a scrappy windmill of a swing, but it was getting through where many others have failed. To his credit, Mayweather’s chin withstood the power of Maidana’s (who boasts 31 KO’s from 39 fights). There was of course some controversy on the glove situation. Maidana wears a custom set of Everlast gloves which are built with the intention of projecting power. Mayweather refused to fight if Maidana was to use his standard gloves, so a compromise on non-custom Everlast gloves was suggested. This did little to dissuade Mayweather’s stance however, so Maidana was forced to use different gloves to those he trained with for the fight.


It’s likely that Mayweather signed the re-match believing he has worked out his way to a much easier victory against Maidana, with a more concise and effective game plan. Evidently, Maidana knows he can his Mayweather and thinks he can make those hard-swinging right hands count for a bit more. The smart money says this will be more like Castillo’s second match with Mayweather; a standard 12 round unanimous decision. However, Mayweather looked vulnerable last time out and can only remain athletically sharp for so long. If anyone is going to knock-out Mayweather, Maidana could be the man to do it.


Betting Instinct tip – Another points victory for Mayweather is -250 with


 JAKE COLLINS  is passionate about literature, music and sports. He currently works in  London and lives in Essex. Read more of his work in Jake’s blog, or follow Jake on Twitter and Google+.

Mayweather: An all time great or overrated?

Will Mayweather's ultimate legacy suffer from a lack of elite opposition?

Will Mayweather’s ultimate legacy suffer from a lack of elite opposition?

The vast majority of boxing fans sit in one of two camps when forming a judgement on Floyd Mayweather Jr. There’s the more sincere fans, who firmly see Mayweather as one of the defining icons of the sport and up there with the very greatest. Opposing that view, are those who believe Mayweather has had things arranged in auspicious circumstances and has never beaten a ‘peak’ top fighter himself. Wherever you see yourself, credit where credit is due; the man is unbeaten regardless and continues to fight at a high standard even at the age of 37.

His next defence of  his WBC Welterweight belt (and for the WBA equivalent, belonging to the challenger) is against the aggressive Argentine Marcos Maidana. Despite losing in the fan poll on who Mayweather should fight next, Maidana was eventually chosen as the next contender against the unbeaten Mayweather. The fight is scheduled for the 3rd of May and is being hosted at the illustrious MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas – where Mayweather’s previous 8 fights have all been held.


Floyd Mayweather Jr v Marcos Maidana Betting Odds:

Floyd Mayweather Jr -1429

Marcos Maidana +700

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change)


Mayweather is expected to dominate the fight against Maidana, who many see as a lacklustre appointment at this level of boxing with three losses to his name (one of which was against Amir Khan, who was hotly tipped to have a tough style for Mayweather to battle against) and only a few victories of note to his name. This adds to the argument of Mayweather’s critics, who have often accused him of ‘cherry picking’ his fights, choosing the easier of two options.

Many felt that the sleek and sharp Khan would prove a different test for Mayweather, and – despite the aforementioned poll – Maidana was chosen. Maidana has some real power behind his gloves and is always a threat to knock a fighter out, but he isn’t the fastest or neatest boxer in the world and this is certainly the style of fighter that suits Mayweather perfectly. On the flip side, Maidana has recently embarrassed the somewhat opulent Adrien Broner who fights in a similar manner to Mayweather. He won on a unanimous points decision over 12 rounds after battering Broner without looking to be in trouble a any point. The problem there being that Broner isn’t anywhere near as good as ‘Money’.


So, let’s look at Mayweather’s CV. There’s a cornucopia of household names, some of which would be considered ‘greats’ by a lot of venerable boxing pundits. The likes of De La Hoya, Moseley, Hatton, Marquez, Ortiz, Cotto and even the young Alvarez have all been dispatched by Mayweather. Out of those names – and ALL of the names of the fighters he has beaten – only one of those came down to a split decision, which was the fight against De La Hoya.

Typically, Mayweather fights come down to a unanimous decision; he isn’t a KO artist and will generally prefer to wear opponents down throughout the the 12 rounds. In fact, only 26 of his 45 victories have come by way of knockout. In fairness, there are a plethora of fighters who would be very happy with that percentage but you would expect a little higher from the number 1 pound for pound fighter. He perfected the somewhat infamous shoulder roll technique and operates a defensive fight. An expert at fighting on the back foot, Mayweather works best when the ring is spacious and offers him plenty of room to manoeuvre around and avoid attacks.


Now, you’d generally consider De La Hoya and Moseley as the highest ranked in terms of overall quality against those other names there. It cannot honestly be said that Mayweather defeated a prime De La Hoya or a prime Moseley, and there is a case for claiming he has never beaten an in-form fighter who will be considered ‘one of the best’ – the arguable exception is Marquez, though many would not put him in the De La Hoya/Moseley bracket.

This isn’t Mayweather’s fault of course; he can only fight who is put in front of him. It would have been great to see him go toe to toe with a certain Filipino, but for reasons owing no doubt to both sides, that has yet to materialise. This is the main criticism against Mayweather and it’s a difficult one to argue. Look back to the days of Marvin Hagler. He had the likes of Duran, Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard  in contention. Four absolutely world class boxers who all operated on a platform most fighters could and can only dream of. The fight with Pacquiao that was first discussed a few years ago might turn out to be the biggest loss Mayweather will ever suffer.


However you look at it, Mayweather is an objectively polished fighter and certainly knows how to sell his fights. His talent is undeniable and I can’t think of a fight he’d currently go into without being the absolute favourite. That being said, to quote Carl Froch “If you retire undefeated it means you didn’t fight everyone you were supposed to”.


Betting Instinct tip – Floyd Mayweather Jr to win by decision or technical decision is -161 with


 JAKE COLLINS (jcollins91) is passionate about literature, music and sports. He currently works in  London and lives in Essex. Read more of his work in Jake’s blog, or follow Jake on Twitter and Google+.

Manny Pacquiao out for revenge in Timothy Bradley rematch

All eyes will be on the MGM Grand for one of the most hotly anticipated rematches this century

All eyes will be on the MGM Grand for one of the most hotly anticipated rematches this century


Over time, there has been a plethora of rematches which have been seen either as simply money generating fights or completely unjustified. This is neither of those.

You would be VERY hard pushed to find someone who didn’t score the first fight quite heavily in Manny Pacquiao’s favour. Even the fight’s judges – after a re-score – saw it that way. However the decision that mattered went in favour of Bradley. Be that as it may, it was still a hugely entertaining fight and the rematch looks to be no different.


Timothy Bradley v Manny Pacquiao Betting Odds:

Bradley to win +175

Pacquiao to win -222

(All odds provided by are accurate as of today and subject to change)


The bout will see a clash of styles between two distinctive fighters. Pacquiao has his famously relentless swarming style which will continuously see opponents having to duck his hands, whereas Bradley is a more reserved boxer who looks to operate and work patiently from the jab. Styles very much make fights – as proven in their previous outing – so we’re sure to see another emphatic night of boxing.

The fight takes place on the 12th of April at the exquisite MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, for the WBO Welterweight title, and looking across the list of other fighters that these two have beaten really gives some indication of the magnitude of this epic.


Since losing to Bradley, Pacquiao lost an explosive encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez – which saw questions raised over the quality of Pacquiao’s chin owing to the loss being a KO –  before then comfortably dealing with Brandon Rios over 12 rounds.

The fight against Rios was more of an induction back into the division for the eight-division world champion. He won more or less every round and didn’t look overly troubled at any point. If there were any concerns to be raised, it would be that he was unable to knock Brandon Rios out over the course of 12 rounds.


With 2 losses in his last 3 fights – tarnishing his record (now 62-55-5) – this is a huge fight for Pac Man as he looks to establish himself back at the top of the game and hopefully in line for a shot at Mayweather Jr. We all know what we can expect from Pacquiao in this match; a hearty performance with fluidity, speed and a vehement drive to win. The judges caused an upset for him last time, so he’ll be looking to leave nothing to chance this time around.


After winning the WBO Welterweight title from Pacquiao, Bradley has added a couple more names to make for a very impressive CV. First, he beat Ruslan Provodnikov with a unanimous decision, though many (including myself) had the fight in Provodnikov’s favour. He had Bradley out on his feet (and the floor) several times during the fight and was seemingly unhurt at any stage during the 12 rounds. To his credit, Bradley showed great recovery and tremendous boxing skill to make it to the end.

A fight against Marquez was next – the obligatory matchup for anyone making a name for themselves. A close fight that went to split decision, Bradley just did enough to avoid defeat against the battle-worn Mexican. He’ll need to show the same level of technique for the rematch against Pacquiao for sure as he doesn’t have the power in his punches to knock him down.

Out of his 31 victories, the unbeaten Bradley has knocked out 12 opponents, and this could be of great importance this weekend: due to the controversial nature of the last outing, it’s highly likely that the judges will score in Pacquiao’s favour if the fight is a close one to call. Knocking out the challenger will be an excellent way for him to silence his critics he has ascertained since their last encounter.


Once again, Pacquiao – as he usually is – has to be favourite for this. Pacquiao only has a finite number of big fights left in him, I’m still convinced he’ll comfortably outscore Bradley, with a potential of a TKO coming in the later rounds. Take nothing away from Bradley, he is a fantastic boxer and has done exceptionally well to win his title. For me though, Pacquiao is just a class above and will rightfully regain a world title at this level.


Betting Instinct Tip – Manny Pacquiao to win by decision or technical decision is +110 with


 JAKE COLLINS (jcollins91) is passionate about literature, music and sports. He currently works in  London and lives in Essex. Read more of his work in Jake’s blog.

Brandon Rios Could Upset the Odds and End Manny Pacquiao’s Career

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao is looking to avoid a third successive defeat

This coming Saturday in Macau, the unremitting Manny Pacquiao (1.20 with Intertops Sportsbook) will line up against Brandon Rios (4.30) for the vacant WBO International Welterweight Title.

The announcement of the fight was somewhat surprising to many seeing as Pacquiao is well established as one of the top Welterweight fighters of the last decade, whilst Rios is unfamiliar to this weight and hasn’t fought anyone of the same calibre as Pacquiao, but nonetheless it promises to be a thrilling encounter.

Pacquiao comes into the bout after losing an epic clash against Juan Manuel Marquez, giving a resolute account of himself but ultimately coming undone in the face of Marquez’s excellent counter-punching. Marquez scored the knockout in round 6, and Rios is 41.0 with to win in six himself.

Before that fight Pacquiao had suffered a controversial defeat to Timothy Bradley, ending a run of 15 straight victories. The Filipino fighter will have a point to prove against Rios, who himself suffered his first defeat at the hands of Mike Alvarado in March.

The alluring beauty of boxing is of course that a split-second strike can turn the fight onto its head, but even so Pacquiao has to be the unequivocal favourite for this bout.

This is a fantastic chance for Rios to prove himself at a high-grade and will certainly look to use his slugger style to cause an upset.

Pacquiao, the smaller of the two men, is a relentless attacker but Rios has a habit of happily taking a punch in order to allow himself to land a couple in retaliation, but this could play into Pacquiao’s hands. Pacquiao will thrive on Rios’ usual style, seeing it as an invitation for a knockout

If he wants to avoid defeat, Rios would be well advised to adjust his style accordingly and try to box a little more intelligently than he has to against his usual calibre of opposition.

For Pacquiao, another loss here could well be the end of his career. With a mouthwatering fight with Mayweather looking more and more unlikely, he’ll need to produce here to show he is still to be venerated by the other world-class Welterweights.

Rios really has an opportunity to win another world title after losing his WBA Lightweight Title to John Murray two years ago. Pacquiao will be a huge favourite – and rightly so – but he is at an unpredictable stage of his career and this could be the final nail in the coffin.


Jake CollinsJAKE COLLINS is passionate about literature, music and sports. He currently works in London and lives in Essex. Read more of his sports betting commentary in Jake’s blog.