Maurice Hooker v Alex Saucedo betting preview

First appeared on gambling.com

Boxing is awash with many things, much of it desirable, some less so.

The politics created by the sport’s myriad governing bodies an omnipresent example of the latter. Since the shiny flotsam and jetsam of these organisations began to beach on the shores of the world’s oldest sport in the 1970s and 80s, the phrase ‘fighters make belts’ has become one of a flood of unwanted idioms in boxing parlance.

Often invoked to justify and explain the presence of a ‘world-title’ belt around the waist of a fighter few would recognise as the real champion, the phrase is an apology in itself.

The WBO Light-Welterweight belt Maurice Hooker (8/5 best price with William Hill)and Alex Saucedo (8/13 best price with Coral) will fight for on Friday night is just such a piece of boxing driftwood.

True, great fighters have held it; Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez its most notable custodians, but in 30 years of existence the belt has largely been an adjunct to the central narrative of the division.

Despite these misgivings, as a fight, the contest should prove enthralling and the best bookmakers are offering a range of markets to investors. And there is good value among them too.

On the basis of their current stature within the weight class neither Hooker, the holder, nor Saucedo, the challenger, has the gravitas to elevate the meaning of the strap they fight for in the way Cotto and Marquez did.

However, there is a sense Saucedo possesses the style and potential to lead those who bear witness to Friday night’s fight to enjoy the future kudos of recalling the time they ‘saw Saucedo win his first world title’.

Fan Friendly Saucedo is Television Gold

Saucedo is often television gold, his fight with Zappavigna was a bruising, bloodbath in which the 24-year old passed the gut check all would-be champions must navigate.

He has a busy, sharp shooting style with good hand speed and a variety of combinations within which he is smart with his use of power. Often his combination is to touch and manoeuvre the opponent, the power shot disguised cleverly within the flurry.

Despite his youth, Saucedo, who is trained by Abel Sanchez and guided by Top Rank Promotions, has been a professional just seven months less than his 29-year-old opponent.

Notably however, he has yet to go beyond the 8th round. This will be perceived as a weakness and create a note of caution in those keen to back the Oklahoma man.

If the fight goes toward the championship rounds, can Saucedo maintain the pace he’s displayed in his 28 fights so far?

At 5ft 10, he is a tall fighter for the weight, but against Zappavigna and Lopez – his last two opponents – he fought ‘shorter’, preferring to stay in the pocket and trade, and trade in quantity and quality.

It led to him being cut back in June before eventually flooring and finishing Zappavigna in the 7th of 12.

Saucedo Will Dictate the Pace

Maurice Hooker, who won the title away from home in Manchester, England, is determined to capitalise on the belt he secured in the process.

Like Saucedo he is tall at the weight, 5ft 11, but paws with the jab with higher gloves and is more circumspect in style.

Fights and fighters can never be entirely pigeon holed at this level. Most are adaptable to the opponent and the circumstances, the ebb and flow of the contest, but it’s easy to surmise Saucedo will seek to dictate the pace of the fight and force the champion to engage.

Hooker prevailed facing Terry Flanagan, a strong but methodical Brit, and there is a case to be made that the older man will again box behind the jab and look to get on top in the second half of the fight when Saucedo is presumed to fade.

The key difference between Saturday’s challenger and the challenge put forward by Flanagan, is the aggression of Saucedo, his youth and most importantly his hand speed.

The willingness to engage will offer Hooker opportunities but on the evidence I’ve seen he lacks the authority in his jab to fend off Saucedo and his right hand lacks the power to discourage him too.

I like Alex Saucedo’s busyness; I like his combination punching and his ability to land to the body and to disguise the power too.

I think he will prove too much for the champion and despite his lack of championship rounds, I like the look of 16/1 on rounds 10-12 or 9/2 available on the stoppage with Bet365.

For the more cautious, BetHard are offering 10/19 on a Saucedo victory, they also offer 6/4 on Maurice Hooker, but he won’t prove as enjoyable to cheer for as the challenger.


 

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