Knockout artist Alen Babic steps up in grade to face the experienced Eric Molina. Betfair's boxing pundit Frankie Monkhouse previews the betting...
"Expect Molina to take this bout into the second half and make Babic work for the win."
Eddie Hearn presents a busy card from the O2 Arena, London. The main event is a female world title contest involving Chantelle Cameron and Mary McGee with Youssef Khoumari and Jorge David Castaneda for the WBC International title the chief support.
The focus will be on those two title fights, but on the undercard, we have a chance to catch up with one of the sport's most exciting stars in Croatia's Alen Babic. The unbeaten heavyweight has knocked out every opponent he has faced so far but now step up in grade when sharing a ring with experienced American Eric Molina.
Will the young power puncher continue his knockout form, or will Drummer Boy use his experience and ringcraft to drag this fight into the later rounds and make it a gruelling fitness test?
Babic brings a perfect eight-fight record
Babic comes with a perfect eight-fight winning record, scoring all victories inside the distance. The 30-year-old from Zagreb is a former decorated amateur. He had no problems adjusting to life without the vest since turning over in 2019 with a second-round TKO win over Serbian journeyman Lazar Stojanovic in Rome.
Each of The Savage's first seven fights ended before the conclusion of round three as Babic continued to climb the ranks, showcasing his power, and blowing away low-level opposition. It was cruel to continue matching him with journeymen, so his team quickly moved him up a level.
Alen responded to facing more dangerous opponents by knocking them out too. He beat Tom Little in round three before dealing with Doncaster's Mark Bennett before the end of the fifth last time out.
With his form, it's no surprise to see Babic as a hot price favourite in the fight winner betting with no more than 1/12 available on the Betfair Exchange. The KO/TKO heads the method of victory market at 1/7 with a first points verdict written off at 8.515/2.
Molina knows the score
British fight fans may remember Molina from his 2016 visit to Manchester when taken out inside three rounds by then prospect Anthony Joshua. The soon to be champion of the world got rid of his opponent with a perfectly timed right hand, and although he beat the count, referee Steve Gray knew better than to allow him to take any further punishment.
That was his only previous trip to these shores, and Molina will be hoping to give a better account of himself this time. He's a few years older now but isn't sharing a ring with an opponent anywhere near as good as AJ was that evening. Eric has lost three of his last five and two of his three most recent outings, both by knockout. That doesn't do much to inspire confidence in the visitor.
Molina was victorious last time when gaining a first-round knockout win in Mexico, showing he still has the power to survive. He may be 39 years old and fading fast, but the concussive power remains, and that's something his opponent must be wary of. Molina to win the fight is 6/1, and that quote means there's no need to go into the specials if you're backing an away win.
Babic will have to adjust his style
There's no doubt Babic will win this bout, and that is represented in his odds. Molina is a respected fighter who has been in with Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Chris Arreola, so nothing here is going to faze him.
He'll aim to steer clear of the inevitable early onslaught from his opponent, who the fans will roar on. He's smart enough not to allow himself to be dragged into a firefight, despite carrying plenty of his own power.
Expect Molina to take this bout into the second half and make Babic work for the win. Babic's last knockout win came in round five. Molina's most recent stoppage defeat came in round five. We'll follow that stat when making our bets.
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