Frankie Monkhouse takes an early look at this month's all-British clash between James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr and believes he has a bet worth having...
"this bout also doubles as the opportunity for one man to rescue their career, while forcing the loser to contemplate a long retirement"
No Groves rematch for DeGale
James DeGale was rocked by the news he'll never get the chance to avenge his 2011 defeat to long-term rival George Groves when the latter announced his retirement recently. It's a bout both men seemed keen on revisiting and there was certainly a good deal of interest among fight fans.
St George decided to end a career that saw him realise a life-long ambition of being crowned world champion, calling time at the age of 30, following a devastating seventh-round knockout defeat at the hands of rising star Callum Smith. Londoner Groves gave followers some memorable nights and we wish him well.
Bout that excites Chunky
That left James DeGale searching for an opponent that would excite both himself and his army of fans and he seems to have found it in the form of Chris Eubank Jr. The pair are scheduled to meet at the 02 Arena in London on 23 February over 12 rounds with the vacant IBO super middleweight title on the line.
A chance to claim a respected version of the world title in front of what will be a sell-out arena, but this bout also doubles as the opportunity for one man to rescue their career, while forcing the loser to contemplate a long retirement.
Feeling the strain
Chunky brings a 25-2-1 record and has world championship experience, but rumours suggest his body is beginning to feel the strains of a career spent mixing it against top-level opposition. The 32-year-old from St Albans has failed to win half of his last four, fighting out a majority decision draw with Badou Jack in Brooklyn before losing his IBF world title to Caleb Truax in Stratford.
The 6ft slick southpaw levelled the score when beating American Truax in a rematch next time out and kept warm with a third-round stoppage victory over little-known Colombian Fidel Monterrosa Munoz back in the summer. Punters remain unconvinced and have the DeGale win priced at [2.32] on the Betfair Exchange. In the method of victory market, you'll find the points cheer at 7/4, a KO/TKO judged to be unlikely at 15/2.
Eubank has a point to prove
29-year-old Chris Eubank Jr will feel he has a point to prove following a 2018 wide-points decision loss to George Groves in the semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series and the disappointing performance that accompanied it. Since going down 112-117, 112-116, 113-115 on the scorecards in Manchester, Eubank has fought only once, beating JJ McDonagh (16-4-0) inside three rounds back in the summer.
The fact he is fighting for a world title on the back of that performance may come as a bit of a surprise to boxing lovers, but Junior has halted eight of the 10 opponents faced since suffering his only other career defeat, vs Billy Joe Saunders November 2014. That run includes TKO10 vs Nick Blackwell and KO3 when faced with previously unbeaten fighter Avni Yildrim in the early exchanges of the WBSS, a result that also earned him the IBO strap.
Traders support Junior
It's difficult to ignore a run of knockout wins and the 72% KO average carried into this contest by Eubank has won him a fair share of admirers. Exchange layers have set-up in support of the Brighton native, offering him as [1.87] jolly. Another early night will attract attention at 2/1 - market top price on the Sportsbook - the points verdict carrying an 11/4 price tag, also best price.
Other markets of interest include the fight to go the distance at 8/13 against the 6/5 for no. The draw can never be written off and these two to fight out a share carries a bulky 16/1 price. If you do fear the level finish you can take advantage of the draw no bet market which gives us 4/6 Eubank v 11/10 DeGale, your stake returned in the event of even scorecards at the final bell.
Back DeGale to win @ [2.32]