In a 50/50 bout, Betfair's boxing writer Frankie Monkhouse thinks the price on Liam Smith is too good to miss. Here's why...
"Without getting carried away – as this will be a very close fight – I make the price on Liam Smith a gift, and one of the best pieces of value this year." Back him to win at [2.18].
A hotly-anticipated rematch for British boxing fans on Saturday as light middleweight contenders Liam Smith and Liam Williams renew rivalries at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena. England vs Wales, the head-to-head stats stand at 1-0 in the Liverpudlian's favour, but the betting expects the beaten man to draw level.
That'll come as a surprise to many followers of the fight game, Betfair traders favouring revenge over repeat, and there looks to be plenty of value on offer for punters willing to pick a side and back their man. The first bout was packed with controversy - the follow-up will keep pace.
Beefy nice price to settle the score
29-year-old Beefy Smith let himself down on the scales last time, failing to make the championship weight limit before April's meeting with Williams, costing himself the chance to claim the interim WBO world title. He did, of course, go on to win the fight, but many thought he lost the war. Suffering a deep laceration above his eye in round three, Liam Smith looked in all kinds of trouble, but Williams couldn't get the job done. The Welshman paid the price, a horrible gash above his right eyelid saw the bout called to a halt by referee Terry O'Connor.
It was later revealed that Smith was behind on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage, but did look to be coming on strong down the home straight. We'll never know what could have happened if the fight went on, but we'll get a good idea on Saturday. Keeping the scorecards of fight one in mind, Betfair traders have priced a 26th career win up for Smith as 11/10 second favourite. There's [2.18] on the Exchange. The Sportsbook has another stoppage cheer at 9/4 - market top price, at the time of writing - 9/2 for victory on points.
Williams expected to win on points
5ft 10inch orthodox Liam Williams, based in Clydach Vale, Wales, missed a golden opportunity to become a world champion last time. Heaping on the misery, that reverse to Smith was his first career defeat, stretching his CV to 16 wins, one draw and a spare loss. He has given his injury time to heal, and during the 25-year-old's road back to fitness, would have been convinced he has plenty more to give at this level. Win here and the man with a solid 61% knockout average will propel himself back towards the major prizes.
An away win is exactly how the market sees this one going and, although there's very little in it, Williams edges favouritism, 8/11 available through the Betfair Sportsbook. Those after a bit more can get their stake down on the Exchange, [1.89] available there. With such a close match expected, I certainly wouldn't put anyone off the draw, and that's worth mentioning at [34.0]. Williams' best chance is to win over the judges - according to odds compilers - a points verdict in the method of victory market is 2/1, and the KO/TKO is 3/1, both on the Sportsbook.
Price on Smith win a real gift
Without getting carried away - as this will be a very close fight - I make the price on Liam Smith a gift, and one of the best pieces of value this year. In backing Beefy you're not only getting a man who won by stoppage last time, the more experienced fighter, and the boxer with a healthy support on the night, you're also getting the better price. Personally, I would have had the odds the other way around, making Smith the obvious pick. There's some betting value in this weekend's boxing, but this is the best of it.
Liam Smith to win the fight at [2.18] is my confident pick, but for those looking to have their money work a bit harder, the points win goes 9/2 (Sportsbook). Again, that's bigger than I'd have it myself, so have an interest play and enjoy the night.
Liam Smith win @ [2.18]