WBC and WBA champion Danny Garcia and his IBF counterpart, Lamont Peterson, are expected to meet in a light welterweight title unification match down the line, but first they both face tune-up fights in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Lamont Peterson v Edgar Santana
Held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in New York, USA and screened on Box Nation from 02:00 hours in the UK, the penultimate bout on the card – and our first point of interest – sees 32-2-1 (16 KO) Peterson defend his belt against 29-4 (20 KO) Edgar Santana.
Peterson (1/20, Ladbrokes) is someone who I like to see win in the ring. After all, he spent a large part of his childhood homeless on the streets of Washington DC, and I admire people who overcome adversity. From nothing to everything, rags to riches and why we like films like Rocky, I think.
Anyway, as you probably know, Peterson defeated Amir Khan to win the IBF title in late 2011. Indeed, it proved to be a controversial match after Khan was docked two points for continually pushing his opponent away.
Quite honestly, after Khan had won the early rounds and Peterson looked to have done the same in the middle of the fight, and was in the ascendancy, I bet on a draw at 12/1 in-play and thought I was going to get it.
I won’t be going for a draw this weekend, however, but what I learnt from that bout – and a few others featuring the American – is that Peterson starts slowly.
He’s suffered the odd knockdown too. So while he his opponent, Santana, hasn’t fought in Peterson’s class before and should prove to be out of his depth, if we are to witness an upset – or just see Peterson floored – it should come in the early rounds.
A Puerto Rican from a rough, poor neighbourhood, Santana (12/1, Bet365) was once a fighter of great promise, but dropped a couple of close decisions and also had to serve a few months behind bars after his involvement in cocaine trafficking.
As the bout winner prices clearly indicate, Santana is rated as having slim to no chance of defeating Peterson, but with 20 KO’s from 29 wins he’s got a punchers chance and has nothing to lose.
All in all, nothing to lose, of course, can be a good mindset to have, but I expect Peterson – who has a 31 ½ inch reach advantage over his opponent – to get through the early rounds and win on points by a wide margin. He’s 6/4 to do that with Bet365.
However, at 7/1 with Paddy Power, Peterson to get knocked down is well worth a punt. At the price, I just had to have a little dabble.
Danny Garcia v Rod Salka
Inflicting knockdowns, or forcing the referee in to intervene and stop the contest with his opponent still on his feet, is exactly what the 28-0 Danny Garcia has to do later in the evening.
Garcia (1/40, Bet Victor), like Peterson, also defeated Amir Khan and has had a very impressive career in the pro ranks. Two defeats of the legendary Erik Morales, a comfortable besting of Zab Judah and a points demolition of the fearsome puncher that is Lucas Matthysse testify to that.
The only criticism is that Garcia appeared to have been outworked in his last bout, against Herrera, but was given the verdict. No prizes for guessing who bet on a draw again…
Anyway, Garcia fights the 19-3 Rod Salka (14/1, Bet365) in this weekend’s main event and the contender is so lightly regarded that both the WBA and WBC refused to sanction the bout, meaning that it’s a non-title contest.
Besides the gulf in class and calibre of opponents fought, in quick assessment of a bout that’s now being held a few pounds higher than the light welterweight limit, Garcia will move up to the welterweight within a year and carries and decent punch, while Salka has fought most of his career at lightweight and has only won three of his fights by stoppage.
Therefore, Salka’s only shot at winning is on points, while Garcia should be able to walk through his opponent. I’ll side with the latter, and at 8/11 with Paddy Power, Garcia to win by KO/TKO is my bet of the night.
Garcia to win by KO/TKO – 8/11 Paddy PowerPaddy Power