Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, and live on Box Nation from 01:00 in the early hours of Sunday morning in the UK, undisputed pound-for-pound boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr aims to match Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 undefeated streak by beating Andre Berto, while Britain’s George Groves challenges Badou Jack for the WBC super-middleweight title.
Jack v Groves Tale of the Tape
Badou Jack: 19-1-1 (12 KO)
Born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Gambian father, 31-year-old Badou Jack managed to represent both nations as an amateur boxer, but didn’t make an impression at Olympic level and turned pro only two years after taking up the sport.
Winning his first fifteen bouts in the paid ranks, Badou hit a roadblock when drawing with Marco Antonio Periban – who James DeGale later knocked out – and the Swede was sensationally stopped in a round by the lightly-regarded Derek Edwards two bouts later. However, after a very fair and impressive upset defeat of ex-WBC super-middle champ Anthony Dirrell, the man nicknamed ‘The Ripper’ is very much back in business and a world champion.
George Groves: 21-2 (16 KO)
Having defeated long-term rival and current IBF super-middleweight champion James DeGale as an amateur, George ‘Saint’ Groves repeated his feat in the pro ranks and sensationally dropped and outboxed Carl Froch before the now retired, multiple-time former world champion was awarded the victory via a ninth-round TKO.
Given the controversial finish to that match – in that the ref was adjudged to have stopped it too early – a rematch took place and, as is no secret to British sports fans, Groves was cleanly caught and fairly stopped by Froch a second time. Since then, a now 27-year-old Groves has earned two wins against low calibre opposition. This weekend he fights for a world title for the third time in his career.
Jack v Groves Betting
WBC super-middleweight belt holder Jack is priced at 15/8 with Ladbrokes, challenger Groves is offered at 4/7 by Paddy Power and a draw is 20/1 with the same firm. As for method of victory, Jack is 5/1 to win by KO/TKO or DQ with Ladbrokes and 4/1 on points with the same company, while Groves is 6/4 to stop his opponent with Paddy Power and 11/4 to emerge victorious by a scorecard verdict with Stan James.
All in all, this is a tough fight to call, but I do think that Groves has fought better opposition and is the superior fighter. The Swede does have a decent overhand right and a good defence, but he often fails to bring his left hand back into a defensive position after jabbing, and as Groves has good speed and footwork, I can see the Englishman taking the lead, dictating the pace and forcing Jack onto the back foot.
Now, Jack likes a slow tempo and measured approach, and is not someone to stand firm and stay in the trenches when under pressure – he moves backwards and doesn’t fire back. There, I think, Groves can land 2-3 power shots, move out of range, land a couple more, keep repeating this and either win on points or earn a KO/TKO win.
It is a worry that Jack is a Mayweather fighter on a Mayweather card – so you have to have concerns about Groves being allowed to win on points – but one way or another, and although you can also argue that Groves’ price is too short and point to him fading late in bouts, styles make fights and if Groves fights to this best of his ability and doesn’t make any major mistakes, I think he’ll make it third time lucky as a world title challenger.
[quote_center]Advised Bet: Groves to win @ 4/7 with Paddy PowerPaddy Power[/quote_center]
Mayweather Jr v Berto Tale of the Tape
Floyd Mayweather Jr: 48-0 (26 KO)
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, 38-year-old Floyd Mayweather Jr is part of a famous family of boxer/trainers and was initially coached by his uncle, Roger. Now trained by his father, Floyd Sr, the man initially nicknamed ‘Pretty Boy’ for his ability to avoid taking punches and marking his face up was a world champion within two years of his professional debut.
Using a shoulder-rolling style of defence that’s allowed him to remain undefeated for so long, the now five-weight, twelve-time world champion that’s latest nickname is ‘Money’ has beaten everybody put in front of him since turning pro in 1996, including the only boxer rated as having a realistic chance of toppling him in Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao. Should he defeat Berto and match Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 undefeated record, Mayweather claims that he’ll retire.
Andre Berto: 30-3 (23 KO)
Once touted as the ‘next big thing’ in boxing, 32-year-old Andre Berto enjoyed an impressive amateur career, winning a Bronze medal at the 2003 World Championships, but was disqualified in the U.S. Olympic trials and beaten in the first round of the 2004 Olympics after being allowed to switch allegiance to Haiti through his parents lineage.
A boxer that’s considered to be a fairly hard hitter with good speed, Berto won his first twenty-seven professional fights – picking up the WBC welterweight title along the way – before he was beaten by Victor Ortiz in a thrilling match. Long since nicknamed ‘The Beast,’ Berto won the IBF welter title in his next bout, but then lost twice in a row before a pair of comeback wins – somehow – put him in a nothing to lose big payday against the biggest name in boxing.
Mayweather Jr vs Berto Betting
WBA and WBC welterweight champ Mayweather Jr is priced at 1/50 with Ladbrokes, challenger Berto is offered at 16/1 by William Hill and a draw is 40/1 with the same firm. As for method of victory, Mayweather Jr is 7/4 to win by KO/TKO or DQ with William Hill and 8/15 on points with Stan James, while Berto is 28/1 to stop his opponent with Bet365 and 40/1 to emerge victorious by a scorecard verdict with the same company.
In conclusion, this is undoubtedly Mayweather’s best chance of landing a stoppage win in a long, long time, as Berto offers little head movement and is therefore very hittable and easy for a ‘hit and move’ boxer to wear down and potentially stop in the late rounds, but then there are other factors that have to be considered.
Firstly, Mayweather’s hands have taken a beating over the years and since his speed, defence and footwork is so good that he can coast to victory against anybody on points, regardless of how hard he hits, he’s used extra padding in his gloves in recent fights, which weakens his punching power.
Time after time ‘Money’ takes little risk offensively in the ring and wins on points, and since he recently insisted that number 49 will be his last fight and stated his concerns about potentially staying in the sport for too long and experiencing speech and mental problems as a consequence – as many boxers have done – it seems unlikely that he’ll take unnecessary risks and produce anything other than the usual shut-out points win against a hand-picked opponent that’s style suits him well.
Indeed, 8/15 for Mayweather Jr to win on points is value. It’s not as much of a sure pick as it was against Pacman – that was a no brainer – because Berto isn’t even a top ten welterweight and has lost three of his last six fights – including a brutal loss to Robert Guerrero and stoppage defeat at the hands of Jesus Soto Karass – but it is the pick that offers the most logic and value.
[quote_center]Advised Bet: Mayweather Jr to win on points @ 8/15 with Stan JamesStan James[/quote_center]