Errol Spence v Mikey Garcia: Weight will make all the difference in this classic
A weekend treat for fight fans from America as two greats go toe-to-toe. Betfair's boxing writer Frankie Monkhouse gives a nice price selection...
"On paper we have an unbeaten world champion with an eye-catching KO average and a man who is near the head of the pound-for-pound rankings"
One for the purists
Boxing fans have a real treat in store this weekend as ITV air free-to-view coverage of Errol Spence v Mikey Garcia for the IBF welterweight world title. The AT&T Stadium in Arlington plays host to a star-studded card and the main event will be one for the purists amongst us.
Followers will be forced into the early hours of Sunday morning if they want to watch this live, with the first bell expected around 4.00am GMT, but those who do make the effort will be rewarded with a meeting of two of the modern game's most exciting fighters.
Two undefeated world champions, two highly skilled combatants with a massive year in store for the winner. It has split opinion but Betfair traders have had no problem coming down in support of The Truth. Is that the smart pick, or is there value to be had in backing a famous upset?
Spence unbeaten in 24
Errol Spence goes into bout-25 of his professional career with a record showing 24-0-0 with 21 of his wins to date coming by way of knockout. The 29-year-old from Texas is ranked number two in the world behind Terrence Crawford and recent results ensure he is pushing his fellow countryman hard in the pound-for-pound list.
The 5ft 9inch southpaw makes the third defence of the IBF strap he won when stopping Kell Brook at Bramall Lane three years ago.
The Truth halted Special K in the 11th round of an engrossing contest and has improved with the passing of every bout since. Spence stopped Lamont Peterson in seven next time out at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and was last seen downing Mexican Carlos Ocampo inside a round before an appreciative Frisco audience back in June.
The Betfair Exchange has Spence as [1.29] favourite, another KO/TKO favourite in the method of victory market at even money. The points cheer is easier to get excited about at 2/1, both quotes taken from the Sportsbook.
Garcia not to be taken lightly
Followers of Mikey Garcia will tell you just how talented the 31-year-old Californian is and it's not often they get the chance to support their man at a nice price. The 5ft 6inch orthodox has 39 wins from as many starts with no less than 30 of them coming inside the distance, resulting in a fearsome 77% knockout average.
He is coming in on the back of beating Robert Easter Jr on points for the IBF and WBC world titles, knocking his opponent down in the third round on-route to a wide margin. That result means Garcia has won each of his last three on the scorecards.
On paper we have an unbeaten world champion with an eye-catching KO average and a man who is near the head of the pound-for-pound rankings, so why do we find him as a [4.6] supposed no-hoper on the Betfair Exchange? The reason for that is the difference in weight between both men.
Spence has been winning at welterweight while the man in the opposite corner has done much of his best work in the lower divisions, winning titles at lightweight and super lightweight. A fourth points verdict for Garcia is 4/1 on the Sportsbook, where you'll find the KO/TKO written off at 12/1.
Enjoy the show
This promises to be a cracker and, whatever the result, lovers of boxing can sit back and enjoy the show as big-time action from around the world makes a welcome return to terrestrial TV. ITV have done a fabulous job since linking back up with the noble art and screening this bout will be another feather in their cap.
Mikey Garcia remains one of boxer's favourite boxers and he seems to have it all. He's well-schooled, fit, can box or fight when it's needed and has knockout power. The only concern is the weight difference between the men with Spence the naturally bigger fighter by some way. Garcia competed at featherweight early in his career and is now fighting four divisions higher against an opponent who has been knocking out welterweights for fun.
The fight winner prices look about right but we're not expecting Spence to get rid of Garcia early. The favourite will aim to avoid the fast attacks coming from his opposite number and look to use his power - especially to the body - in an attempt to slow Garcia down. The real value in this bout - and it pains me to say it - is backing Spence for a late stoppage.