Betfair's boxing expert Frankie Monkhouse is bucking the trend and taking DeGale for an early night, but there's value to be had...
"The favourite is not the biggest hitter, as his 56% KO average suggests, but Caleb Truax doesn’t look in this class, having been stopped every time he’s stepped up."
James DeGale headlines a star-studded card at the Copper Box, Stratford on Saturday evening, part of an action-packed night for fight fans, Lomachenko - Rigondeaux the cherry on top in Madison Square Garden. All the talk is about the latter, brains or brawn, but Chunky promises to serve up a tempting appetiser.
The Londoner failed in an attempt to add the WBC super middleweight strap to his IBF bauble last time, but only just, fighting out a majority decision draw with Badou Jack in Brooklyn. Supporters want to see a return to winning ways, and the betting strongly suggests they'll get it.
DeGale's last four have gone the distance
Love him or loathe him, Chunky has done British boxing proud, both as an amateur, and in the paid ranks. The 31-year-old from St Albans brings a record of 23 wins, against one draw and a single defeat, but that loss came early in his career, against George Groves on a majority decision. There were many with a keen eye who thought he deserved the nod vs Jack last time too. Judge Glenn Feldman scored it 114-112 in the Englishman's favour, Julie Lederman and Steve Weisfeld both tallied 113-113. Painfully close to a famous upset.
Southpaw DeGale will take heart from that near miss, regroup, and come again, stronger for the experience. He stopped Mexican Marco Antonio Periban in three rounds three years ago, but each of his four starts since have all travelled the distance. Another points win is [2.5] on the Betfair Exchange, second favourite, behind the knockout at [1.46]. Prefer to keep it simple and back DeGale to win the fight? Forget about it, at [1.02].
Another knockout is Truax's best chance of winning
Not a lot is known about American opponent Caleb Truax by armchair fans, but we saw from last week's defeat of Miguel Cotto by Sadam Ali, reputation counts for nothing in this game. 34-year-old Golden jets into London having won 28 of his 33 previous bouts, 28-3-2, and he's lost two of his last five. Beaten by Daniel Jacobs in 2015, stopped in the final round of 12, he then suffered a round one TKO at the hands of Anthony Dirrell a year later.
Difficult to come back from, but Truax, fighting out of Osseo, Minnesota, did just that, forcing his way back into contention for major titles with two knockout wins on the bounce, downing journeyman Zachariah Kelley in two, before dealing with KeAndrae Leatherwood in three. Another KO/TKO is [32.0], a big price, but deemed more realistic than the points win on foreign canvas. There's also [32.0] on the Truax victory, regardless of how he achieves the result.
Fav isn't the hardest hitter
I was shocked to see Cotto lose last week, but don't fancy another upset in this fight. That means, it's a case of predicting the method of victory market for James DeGale, and I am bucking the trend and backing him to win by KO/TKO. The favourite is not the biggest hitter, as his 56% KO average suggests, but Caleb Truax doesn't look in this class, having been stopped every time he's stepped up. There's no lack of boxing over the course of the weekend - take DeGale by KO/TKO in your multiples at [1.46].
Keeping Chunky's punch power in mind, we take a jab at something a bit bigger. Playing the round group betting, there's more to be had, and we're on DeGale winning in rounds 7 - 12 at 13/10 (Betfair Sportsbook). After controlling the contest in the early rounds, I expect the jolly to realise he has the measure of his man, and finish it in the second-half.