Expect fireworks this weekend as 2024’s boxing slate gets up and running.
The hard-hitting, unbeaten, unified light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev welcomes the challenge of Callum Smith to Quebec City and the Briton will be attempting to blow apart Beterbiev’s 19-0 record that features 19 wins by knockout.
The undercard features everyone’s favourite (or second favourite) Australian twin, Jason Moloney, and Christian Mbilli’s return to making a splash at 168.
Let’s have a run down of where the value can be found:
Callum Smith is arguably the best opposition at 175-pounds that could have been served up to Artur Beterbiev – if we are to ignore the elephant in the room of the Dmitry Bivol will-they-won’t-they saga.
So, it’s pretty humbling for the Briton that he opens up as a 16/5 underdog on Saturday night as he attempts to steal the unified light-heavyweight titles from the unbeaten favourite.
Beterbiev has 19 wins and 19 KOs as a professional, and at 2/9 to win the fight and 4/9 to secure another knockout, it’s hard to squeeze too much value out of the 38-year-old.
It’s hard to pinpoint Smith’s best career victory and despite looking pretty natural as a 175 fighter, taking on Beterbiev is levels above where he has contested so far at the weight.
He stayed out of relative danger against Canelo in his solitary career loss, but didn’t ever look like winning it – he’ll be reluctant to make the same mistakes in failing to initiate attacks this weekend, which opens up the late stoppage win for Beterbiev when Smith decides to break cover.
A win in Rounds 10-12 for Beterbiev weighs in at 3/1 and is probably the pick of the weekend, with Rounds 7-12 a relative safety net at 11/10.
Beterbiev does love to engage which makes him an exciting fighter – if you fancy Callum Smith to follow in the footsteps of Jeff Page Jr. and Callum Johnson, then 7/1 says that Beterbiev gets knocked down but goes on to win the fight.
Tough defence for Moloney
Good things happen to good people, and Jason Moloney picking up a world title at the third time of asking last year can certainly be documented in that category.
But the Australian will have his work cut out against a tough, durable and game Saul Sanchez this weekend, and immediately 5/2 for the underdog feels like a big price.
Moloney is priced up as a 5/17 FAV in this chief support to Beterbiev-Smith, but backing the champion by decision at 5/6 is where the value is best found.
Sure, Sanchez is yet to go 12 rounds as a pro, but the 26-year-old doesn’t feel like the kind of fighter that is going to wilt under the pressure of this occasion.
Moloney is the better technical fighter and an unwillingness to engage in a fire-fight down the stretch will probably see the chances of a Moloney KO dwindle the longer the fight goes.
Sanchez isn’t a fighter that is hard to find – his lack of head movement off the line opens up the chance to land a 9/4 bet that Moloney can land 200+ punches in the contest.
Early night for Mbilli
If you’re intent on backing an early blow-out this weekend, then this could potentially be in the hands/gloves of Christian Mbilli.
The rising super-middleweight is a big 1/14 FAV to beat Rohan Murdock, with the Australian priced up as a 15/2 dog.
Murdock is expected to be well out of his depth here, with the aggressive nature of Mbilli well suited to an early KO.
We’re looking at Rounds 1-3 at 11/2 for the 28-year-old, adding to the 13 he has already registered as a professional.