Canelo-Smith, Glowacki-Usyk, Yamanaka-Moreno Preview
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez caused an uproar with boxing betting fans when he chose to vacate his WBC Junior Middleweight title rather than face his mandatory opponent, unified WBC/WBA/IBF/IBO Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
Traditional types lamented Alvarez's choice as spineless and cowardly, even if it was one made with the halfhearted intention of facing Golovkin in the future, when the bout may be both even more lucrative and Alvarez in a greater position to win it. His decision to box the unproven WBO Junior Middleweight titlist Liam Smith on the weekend of Mexican Independence Day was unanimously expostulated by fight fans and casual observers alike.
Does Smith stand a chance against the evolving Mexican champion?
Alvarez, a strong puncher with a boxy frame, is good at putting his punches together and avoiding, or at least daunting the effect of, his opponent's punches. At 26-years-old, he's still improving, his character traits being his Mexican spirit and scientific-boxing skills, which mesh well to make a complete fighter. A well-fought unanimous decision win over three-division champion Miguel Cotto, sandwiched between knockouts over big name opponents Amir Khan and James Kirkland, elevated him from world champion to superstar.
Smith, 28, dominated the English scene en route to a world title fight in October 2015. His best win came against Boxcino tournament winner John Thompson, a talented American fighter whom he figured out after a slow start down and knocked out in the seventh round. He's since stopped sub-world class opponents Jimmy Kilrain Kelly, who happened to be unbeaten, and Predag Radosevic to retain. He is a good body puncher with an effective jab. His output generally increases as the rounds go on, but if he doesn't come out sharp against Alvarez, I think he'll be too tired by the middle rounds to use his legs, much less finish his man.
Alvarez should come away with a knockout win within eight rounds. Most boxing betting fans will likely lean that way
Shinsuke Yamanaka and Anselmo Moreno first fought for Yamanaka's WBC Bantamweight title in September of last year in Yamanaka's home nation of Japan.
Moreno, a mover known for fast hands and quick maneuvers limited Yamanaka to single punches, but didn't do enough to win on the scorecards that night. Not much has changed since then. There's still no way Moreno stops Yamanaka, a disciplined and accurate fighter who is perhaps a bit too laid back in the ring; a consequence of having fought all 27 career bouts in Japan, including ten defenses of his WBC title against international competition.
Yamanaka had a hard bout with former world champion Liborio Solis in March. Both fighters were dropped; a late surge by Yamanaka demonstrating the dangers the southpaw poses all night. I think a late knockdown against a slippery and slip-prone Moreno seals another suspicious package on the scorecards. It's hard to bank rounds when fighting a slow pace against a smooth operator like Moreno. But winning a competitive bout on the scorecards in Japan is highly improbable, if not impossible, especially with a negative style like Moreno's.
WBO Cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Glowacki burst onto the international scene with his upset over longtime champion Marco Huck in the nearly undisputed 2015 Fight of the Year, and followed it up with a methodical quadruple-knockdown victory of 200-lb division mainstay Steve Cunningham.
A 2012 London Olympics gold medalist, Oleksandr Usyk was an unstoppable force at the heights of the amateur game for over half a decade. At 29, he's had just nine pro bouts but has reached his physical peak and is thus ready for a major bout.
Usyk will hold advantages in physical conditioning and consistency over the 26-0 champion when they do battle in Gdansk, Poland. But he's still testing the waters in the pro ranks. Glowacki is smaller and rougher but by no means reckless. His jab and lateral movement enable him to set up more meaningful attacks.
Normally, I would pick the more experienced fighter. Usyk really shouldn't be in with Glowacki yet. He hasn't fought anyone professionally who'd prepare him to face a boxer like Glowacki, one who is capable of exchanging power shots or setting up to land counters. But Usyk is nonetheless one you'd expect to be harder to hurt and impose your will upon. If Glowacki spends too many rounds sitting on the outside, if he fails to work the body on the inside, Usyk will start ripping combinations one after another until he's taken the Pole's heart away. Check the sportsbook for current odds.
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