Fight night flutters
Jamie Casey reveals what's on his coupon ahead of a huge night
By Jamie Casey - Twitter: @skyjamiecasey. Last Updated: 19/04/13 4:22pm
Saturday night promises to be one of the biggest nights in boxing in 2013 with a range of internationally renowned fighters in action.
Nathan Cleverly defends his title for the fourth time in the main event of Frank Warren's 'Rule Britannia' event, which also features Dereck Chisora on the card.
Then, it's over to America where Tyson Fury takes on Steve Cunningham before arguably the most anticipated bout of the weekend as Saul Alvarez goes toe-to-toe with Austin Trout.
Robin Krasniqi will finally make his mandatory challenge for Cleverly's WBO light-heavyweight title on Saturday a year after it was first scheduled.
Welshman Cleverly is the heavy favourite to make a fourth defence of the title he obtained through his 2011 win over Aleksy Kuziemski on a high-calibre card at Wembley Arena this Saturday night.
The bout has been postponed on two occasions in the last 12 months amid a run of rotten luck for both fighters but it's third time lucky as Cleverly looks for the win that would strengthen his case for a superfight with Bernard Hopkins.
Chad Dawson is also in the frame for Cleverly's next fight, but the 26-year-old must first beat what's in front of him, and 11/2 shot Krasniqi is not to be taken lightly, with both fighters of an orthodox stance while just one centimetre separates their height in the Welshman's favour.
A broad, natural sportsman, Cleverly has the desired physique to dominate the light-heavyweight division but will no doubt have worked on his tactical prowess, with the University of Cardiff graduate often guilty of being tricked into a tear up.
Undefeated in 25 professional bouts, Cleverly didn't disappoint the American crowd in his last fight as he stopped Shawn Hawk in eight rounds at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on the back of a string of rib-rattling body shots.
Expect Krasniqi to be able to soak up more than Hawk, who was a late replacement for Ryan Coyne, with over eight rounds an odds-on chance at 2/5, but the better value is to back the double chance offer of 1/2 on Cleverly to win in rounds 8-12 or on points.
Feel the Fury
Fury makes his American debut in the early hours of Sunday morning against Cunningham in an IBF heavyweight eliminator bout.
Madison Square Garden plays host to the fight, with the winner hoping to take a step closer towards convincing Wladimir Klitschko of their worth. Undefeated Fury has suggested fighting in MSG will be the "pinnacle" of his career to date, but has come in for criticism for his choice of opponent.
Thus, the Mancunian must be careful not to allow the occasion go to his head, but he holds a visible physical advantage over natural cruiserweight Cunningham.
Although well-known stateside, Cunningham has lost three of his last four fights and can count himself fortunate to be considered for an IBF heavyweight eliminator bout on that basis.
Nonetheless, he possesses the ability to exploit Fury's often sub-standard defence, but the 6ft 9inch man-mountain will prove tough for the smaller frame to floor. The American, perhaps naively, has taken Fury's pre-bout trash-talking to heart, but he may use that as motivation in a fight he's rated 4/1 to win, in comparison to favourite Fury's price of 1/7 on.
With Fury's greater height comes a greater reach, for which reason it's difficult to see Cunningham troubling him with anything other than an uppercut. Expect the Englishman to have too much for the home fighter, with under six rounds a good bet at 2/1, while Fury to win in rounds 4-6 can be backed at even greater odds of 7/2.
Two of boxing's brightest young stars go toe-to-toe in the early hours of Sunday morning as 'Canelo' Alvarez takes on Trout. Trout defeated welterweight legend Miguel Cotto in December to earn the right to fight Alvarez, who is widely regarded as the next superstar of the division.
Undefeated Trout has a growing reputation and is gaining a bigger following by the fight thanks to his outspoken comments, witty personality, not to mention his excellent jab and speedy footwork. He's sure to offer 'Canelo' - a pressure fighter who will find his opponent's foot-speed a nuisance - his toughest test to date, but the Mexican is also undefeated, albeit with one draw on his record.
Trout boasts a slender reach advantage of one inch and could quite feasibly control the early rounds of the fight, but whether he has the power to force a stoppage early on is another matter.
This one could well go to the latter rounds but you'd have to expect Alvarez to swing this in his favour if the fight goes beyond six rounds, but it's such a difficult one to call the best bet is to back either fighter to win on points at 4/9 on.
Should that prove too short to back for one's liking, a draw at 25/1 is worth a small stake while Alvarez on points at even money is one of the most popular pre-bout bets among the punters. Much is at stake, incidentally, with Floyd Mayweather a strong possibility to face the winner later this year, so long as he overcomes the challenge of Robert Guerrero next month.
Odds are subject to change. New customers of Sky Bet can claim a free £10 bet.