Garcia stands at the gateway to greatness

“History, faced with courage, need not be lived again”

Maya Angelou (1928- )
American novelist and poet

In some ways, analysis of this weekend’s Welterweight fist-fight between Errol Spence Junior and Mikey Garcia depends which end of the binoculars you want to look down. Influences abound. Those of recent memory, the annihilation of Amir Khan, the breaking of Kell Brook, to the asinine and unfathomable; the ‘side of the bed you rose from’, the craving to be heard in a gale of voices or the need to gamble an opinion in the pursuit of  distinction. All impose themselves. Continue reading “Garcia stands at the gateway to greatness”

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Maurice Hooker v Mikkel LesPierre betting preview

Article first appeared on Gambling.com

Tonight at central New York’s Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Maurice Hooker defends his WBO light welterweight belt against Brooklyn’s adopted Trinidadian, Mikkel “Slick Mikk” LesPierre.

The fight is the co-main feature alongside Dmitry Bivol’s light heavyweight title fight with Joe Smith Jr., who is best known for spoiling Bernard Hopkins’ farewell night.

Hooker will contest the title for the third time in nine months, a level of activity few current champions or established contenders match. Continue reading “Maurice Hooker v Mikkel LesPierre betting preview”

Heavyweights beware, Time is Gonna Pass You By

Tobi Lark, aka Tobi Legend, once sang, ‘Time is gonna pass you by, so quickly and it waits for no man‘.

Not a theme exclusive to the songwriter, John Rhys, of course and, tangentially, it was serendipitous to learn Rhys was born in the sleepy Suffolk town of Saxmundham, a place a Sunday afternoon drive from my own adopted home, particularly given the sophistication and significance of the song. Rhys moved Stateside as a youngster and would become a distinguished music producer in Detroit and Los Angeles I discovered. Perhaps the influence of Michigan’s blue-collar ‘Motor-town’, historic home of the Ford motor company and Motown Records of course, as opposed to the coastal market town of his birth, explains the soul and beat in the tune and is why it resonated so deeply with a generation of British youngsters.

The thumping cocktail of melancholy and triumph in the Northern Soul anthem embedded Rhys and Legend’s sentiment deep into the psyche of a receptive audience in the 1970s. Tracks like ‘Time is Gonna Pass You By’ entranced a communion of working class kids; coal miners, steel workers, bakers and candlestick makers, longing to escape Lowry skylines, and the drudgery of daily life to converge, via all-night pilgrimages, to clubs and dance halls across the North of England.

Continue reading “Heavyweights beware, Time is Gonna Pass You By”

DeGale surely too wise for Eubank

Article first appeared at Freebets.net

No title. No eliminator status. The James DeGale versus Chris Eubank Junior fight this weekend is a novelty in the modern boxing era. A contest baked on the purest ingredients of style, reputation and personality.

The bout’s appeal is improved by the salty accoutrement of their long running online spat. Exchanges that took the dislike forged in their conflicting recollections of a six round spar they shared and turned it into a grudge. And grudges sell. Continue reading “DeGale surely too wise for Eubank”

Santa Cruz stagnates with Rivera defence

Article first appeared on FreeBets.net

It is one of the inevitabilities of boxing, reliant as it is on the health of two singular participants, that scheduled fights are sometimes derailed by the misfortune of injury.

From the heat of this forge, where promoters and matchmakers scramble to salvage the show, because the show must always go on, opportunities for unheralded fighters can be struck.

This weekend, opportunity knocks for Rafael Rivera as he accepts a late call to replace Miguel Flores, who withdrew with an ankle injury three weeks ago, as the challenger to Leo Santa Cruz at the Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles. Continue reading “Santa Cruz stagnates with Rivera defence”

Gervonta Davis expected to knockout Ruiz

Article first appeared at Freebets.net

Gervonta Davis, he of the thick neck, thicker jewellery and thunderous punches, returns to action on Saturday in Carson, California in what was once the StubHub Centre, but has recently be renamed the Dignity Health Sports Park. A name lacking the poetry, grit or evocative history of the York Hall or Caesers’ Palace, but an important boxing venue these days.

Davis’ defence of the WBA Super-Featherweight title, versus late-replacement Hugo Ruiz, is his first since winning the title in April of last year. Davis, his handlers and those of us who recognise his potential all hope the bout will prove an important jumping off point from which the 24-year old builds momentum and recaptures the acclaim he was initially afforded.

Soft-featured but with darkness in his eyes, Davis is a product of Baltimore’s mean streets, having fought to survive the life of chaos his parents’ drug problems inflicted on him.

Just getting to the ‘start line’ of a professional career in 2013 was achievement in itself, and it is easy to conclude in the period where he stagnated, that the initial riches and early attention he garnered were distracting for the twenty-something. Six years on, 2019 becomes a pivotal year if he is to capitalise fully on the potency of his youth and undoubted talent. Continue reading “Gervonta Davis expected to knockout Ruiz”

The home of greatness; Light Heavyweight awaits Alvarez versus Kovalev rematch

Article first appeared on Freebets.net

One seven five. 12 stone 7. Light Heavy.

Words to illicit a quickening of the pulse in a boxing fan a century ago and words that still cause an extra frisson of excitement for their modern-day counterparts too.

From Fitzsimmons to Loughran, the Fighting Marine to the Ole Mongoose, Ezzard Charles to Bob Foster, through Michael Spinks and Roy Jones, Light Heavyweight has been ‘home’ to some of boxing’s greatest.

They, alongside a legion of other warriors there isn’t space to document, distinguished themselves in the division and decorated the sport’s history books with fights and rivalries still purred over today.

On Saturday night, boxing turns her gaze back to this touchstone division and two diverse characters pursuing their own legacy with the flickering embers of their youth. Sergey Kovalev, the Russian who fights out of Florida, is hoping to win this rematch and reclaim the portion of the world title Eleider Alvarez took from him in August last year. Continue reading “The home of greatness; Light Heavyweight awaits Alvarez versus Kovalev rematch”

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t; Davis to face Hugo Ruiz

In 2019, the weed of cynicism is so thickly entwined in much of what we say, read and hear that our collective consciousness is being starved of the sunshine of positivity. Clouding our days and gnawing at our nights. Social media has proved to be the artificial lighting required to fuel rampant growth of an outlook once the preserve of the few but now the default setting for millions. To stretch the metaphor further, cynicism has its dealers and users and the internet offers them anonymity or infamy, subject to preference, as well as an infinite supply of virtual street corners and under the table shadows in which it can be exchanged.

Omnipresent on every platform in which people congregate, irrigated by sarcasm and often recut and repackaged, to avoid scrutiny, as its more palatable brethren; pragmatism and realism, cynicism is far too established to unroot.  In the main, it’s origin is merely disguised jealousy. Espoused by the covetous, by those searching for meaning and popularity they cannot otherwise find and loathing those that have.

Accomplishment, effort, courage, success are met with scorn by eager detractors. Should a fighter stumble or crumble, the misfortune attracts a cackle of anonymous hyenas keen to feast on the schadenfreude of it all.

I know, because, like you, I recognise the behaviour in myself. I am trying to be better. Gervonta Davis is the newest recipient of my new, but often erratically applied, benevolence. Continue reading “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t; Davis to face Hugo Ruiz”

Thurman returns; rugged Josesito Lopez the first challenge

Article first appeared on Freebets.bet

The current Welterweight division would benefit from some ‘old-school’ busyness as it seeks to ascertain who is the true king from a courtyard full of aspiring princes and deposed monarchs.

On Saturday night, Keith Thurman will return from the latest hiatus in his 11-year career to pursue this unified crown and reinforce a claim validated by a resume that contemporaries struggle to match, but one undermined by inactivity.

Following Manny Pacquiao’s victory last week, and with the spectre of Terence Crawford tackling Amir Khan and Errol Spence tangling with Mikey Garcia already on the horizon, Thurman’s return following surgery and rehabilitation, elongated by subsequent injuries, is exciting and timely. Continue reading “Thurman returns; rugged Josesito Lopez the first challenge”

Bermane Stiverne booked as ‘former champion’ for Joe Joyce

If, like me, you are swimming in the tapioca of middle-age, the last vestiges of youth evaporating before narrowing eyes and a runaway appetite your exercise regime cannot keep up with, retirement represents the ultimate mirage. That fantastical, care-free and indefinite holiday we venture on when work and children have completed their consumption of our finite will and reserves of energy.

Heavyweight fighters tend to get there sooner than a typical blue collar worker or executive, often no more or less content than the rest of us and frequently troubled by the life sprawling ahead of them without purpose, routine or income. It is frustrating for those of us still governed by mortgages and the alarm clock that the mirage, once reached, is just that, a mirage. Even for those heavyweights who captured larger purses in their prime, the discomfort remains and for some, the ‘end’ is never quite conclusive enough, like a season finale written in the hope of being commissioned again.

Winning, success, money doesn’t sate the thirst, frequently it merely affords more stake to play with, to gamble with. Only in losing, often repeatedly, sometimes with enormous consequence, can the gambler stop or have the temptation rendered impotent.

Unfortunately, and particularly for heavyweights, there will always be someone, an opportunist usually, who thinks a 40-something heavyweight has either a shot at redemption or the remnants of a reputation their own, younger, fresher starlet could still capture. It can prove irresistible for heavyweights who care not for the preservation of that reputation or still crave the adrenalin of competition. Fight a novice or emerging prospect for a lump of cash? Why not?

On Saturday 23rd February Bermane Stiverne, 25-3-1 (21), now aged 40 and with less than three minutes of ring time since November 2015, will face British prospect Joe Joyce in a fight notionally made to test Joyce’s readiness for the big prizes. Continue reading “Bermane Stiverne booked as ‘former champion’ for Joe Joyce”

Not fighting; the new fighting

In my preparation of notes for this weekend’s clash between Welterweights Keith Thurman and Josesito Lopez I was struck by the inactivity of both men; Thurman returns from a prolonged sabbatical following elbow surgery and Lopez fights for the first time in almost a year. As the attraction in the fight, Thurman’s absence has been well documented and largely explainable but their respective inactivity is reflective of a broader trend in boxing, particularly among those who have punched and parried their way to the top of their division.  

Not fighting has become customary. This ‘resting’, as old thespians may have once termed these periods of unemployment, is a point of frustration for many of us who remember a time when champions and contenders fought three, four and more times per calendar year. True, training has evolved. Accruing new voices from the doctrines of science, nutrition as well as a disparate parade of sorcerers and snake oil salesman from the grey-scale in between. A boxer’s ‘camp’ has now become an umbrella beneath which this entourage of analysts and soothsayers restore the abandoned physique to optimum and, in doing so, too frequently devour large swathes of calendar too.   Continue reading “Not fighting; the new fighting”

Boxing, is it still a young man’s game?

I wrote earlier this week about the questions posed to boxing fans by Manny Pacquiao’s continued career. Pacquiao ploughs on at an age when the leading lights of every preceding generation were long retired, whether in good health or bad, destitute or comfortable. Where once fighters were considered ‘shop-worn’ or ripe for the plucking, we now find the perennially untested, underachievers and those still punching to prove themselves.

The volume of shows, the quantity of fighters and the plethora of platforms fans can now access to consume boxing creates a script in which the characters, and the weeks and months, are dragged across the stage with increasing speed.

In the thrall of this often breathless narrative and the surge of popularity fuelling it, certainly in the UK, themes and large scale ‘set-changes’ can be harder to notice. Pacquiao’s 40th birthday provided this observer with the necessary illumination to the shift in fighter demographics that has occurred in the past twenty years.

Fighters appear to believe their prime is an infinite or elastic resource and, as a state of mind, it can’t help to bring the best available together.  After all, ‘there is always next year’.
Continue reading “Boxing, is it still a young man’s game?”

The extraordinary and ancient Pacquiao makes accomplices of all of us

It is the way of things that the fresh-faced heroes of our youth, who once charged the ramparts of boxing’s established names in our stead, now find themselves clinging to the last castles of their own generation. A month ago, notification Manny Pacquiao’s December birthday cake now required 40 candles spilled in to my consciousness and caused momentary pause in the day’s proceedings.

For so long, Pacquiao’s dancing feet, blurring fists and relentless aggression represented the new, the urgent, the usurper of the established. Overcoming and occasionally wrecking totems of pay-per-view, Pacquiao swatted aside the Mexicans Featherweights (more often than not) and a series of champions presumed to be too big or too strong for the diminutive Philippine.

This success vaulted him beyond the vanquished, planted him in the Hall of Fame and encouraged us to overlook the fact the one time Flyweight was now into his thirties and far beyond his beginnings. [3min read] Continue reading “The extraordinary and ancient Pacquiao makes accomplices of all of us”

Pacquiao to prevail; Broner can’t be trusted

First appeared on freebets.net on 14/01/19

On Saturday night, at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao seeks to extend an astonishing career, already longer in years and bouts than those of any of his contemporaries, by beating the enigmatic contender Adrien Broner for the WBA’s Welterweight title.

It is an intriguing contest in prospect for fight fans, in part because of the contrast of the career journeys to date and in the potential for their styles to blend well as a spectacle.

Beyond Saturday, their fight also represents the ‘starting gun’ for a sequence of clashes among a generation of Welterweights within which greatness could yet be achieved.

As you would expect, their respective profiles ensure all the leading bookmakers are offering markets on the fight. Pacquiao is 2/5 with Paddy Power for the outright win and also offer a competitive 21/10 on a Broner win by any means. Continue reading “Pacquiao to prevail; Broner can’t be trusted”

Kid Galahad mandated for Warrington’s IBF belt

IBF Featherweight champion, Josh Warrington, may be forced to abandon, at least temporarily, the pursuit of unifications with the three other ‘champions’ recognised in his weight class and face Sheffield’s Kid Galahad instead.

Following the positivity of the preceding article on BoxingWriter.co.uk, in which Warrington’s manager Steve Wood revealed the intention to “better 2018” by pitching the unbeaten 28-year-old in with one of Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jnr. or Oscar Valdez.

There was much to admire in the aspiration, but just a few days later, the sobering hand of boxing appears to have suffocated this would be plan. Continue reading “Kid Galahad mandated for Warrington’s IBF belt”

Warrington will remain urgent and ambitious as champion

Josh Warrington, the IBF Featherweight champion, has enjoyed proving people wrong this past twelve months. Firstly, and most potently, to the two world-class fighters he has faced in 2018; Lee Selby and Carl Frampton. Both were outworked and outthought to first win and then defend the title he now boasts. The suspicion Selby and Frampton felt they were superior pugilists and, therefore, consciously or otherwise, dismissive of the Yorkshireman was hard to supress.

Warrington explained their mistake with his fists in qualitative and quantitative terms. Neither Selby or Frampton could discourage or dissuade him.

In pursuing Frampton at all, despite acknowledging he represented the richest prize he could snare, Warrington showed an intent to fight the best available competition and not follow the more customary practice of a ‘soft’ first defence following the title win.

Warrington’s manager, Steve Wood assures fans, the aim is to continue chasing gilded rivals and not settle for simple defences. [4 min read]

Continue reading “Warrington will remain urgent and ambitious as champion”

Whyte versus Chisora – betting preview

Preview first appeared at gambling.com

This weekend’s clash between Dereck Chisora and Dillian Whyte at the O2 Arena in London, a rematch of their 2016 encounter, reveals much about their respective characters and perhaps particularly Whyte’s, who has the greater career momentum and the higher rankings to risk.

In fact, if Whyte succeeds, and places himself at the front of the ‘Not Deontay Wilder’ queue for Anthony Joshua in April, it will be the latest in an impressive sequence of qualifying victories that began with the contested points verdict over Chisora.

In the two years since, Whyte has added the scalps of American trial horse Malcom Tann and Finnish giant Robert Helenius to his resume, before then brutalising Lucas Browne in quick time and outpointing former WBO World Champion Joseph Parker this year.

As with all heavyweight prize fights, leading boxing bookmakers are extending a range of markets for the contest. Continue reading “Whyte versus Chisora – betting preview”

Bet on Warrington to surprise Frampton

Article first appeared on gambling.com

The featherweight division has provided a platform for many of British boxing’s most noted prize fighters.

From Jim Driscoll a century ago, who lost much of his prime to the First World War, to Welshman Howard Winstone in the 1960s and the braggadocios Prince Naseem Hamed of the 1990s, the 126-pound weight class has been rich in world-class operators from Great Britain.

On Saturday night, at the raucous Manchester Arena, two more British featherweights will seek to carve their names alongside their prestigious predecessors. Continue reading “Bet on Warrington to surprise Frampton”

Magic Man Lomachenko returns as odds on favourite.

First published on Gambling.com on December 7th 2018

Sport, and perhaps particularly boxing, with her inherent echoes of by-gone gladiators, has an ability to first conjure and create heroes and then carve their deeds deep into our psyche.

Their greatness never wilts and a fighter’s flaws, whether technical, physical or emotional, are invariably worn smooth by the passing of time.

In a week where Tyson Fury performed an act of recovery that will be spoken and written about a century from now, it is perhaps fitting that another of boxing’s most blessed sons, Ukrainian Vasiliy Lomachenko, is the next star to return to the squared circle.

As always, the best boxing bookmakers are offering a variety of odds on Lomachenko’s (1/25 with Paddy Power) unification clash with Jose Pedraza (12/1). Continue reading “Magic Man Lomachenko returns as odds on favourite.”

Wilder v Fury: How Tyson Fury can beat the odds

By Hector T. Morgan

The wait is almost over, anticipation has grown steadily since the fight announcement and with the drama of the final press conference fresh in the mind, fight fans are just a day or two out from seeing undefeated heavyweight behemoths Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury trade leather in their WBC title fight in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

Wilder is the odds-on betting favourite to claim his 41st career win and, if he is to fulfil that expectation, it is assumed it will be inside the distance and Fury will become Wilder’s 40th knockout victim too. Anyone counting out the self-styled “The Gypsy King” would be greatly underestimating the giant Brit, his penchant for the improbable and a host of advantages he has going into the fight. Continue reading “Wilder v Fury: How Tyson Fury can beat the odds”

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. Continue reading “Maurice Hooker v Alex Saucedo betting preview”

Fielding fights against the odds

First published on Gambling.com on December 13th 2018

This weekend, Rocky Fielding, the WBA Super Middleweight title holder, faces the boxing’s premier attraction, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in a bout rich with opportunity for the 31-year-old Liverpudlian.

Should Fielding (8/1) emerge victorious from the encounter at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night it would represent arguably the greatest upset achieved by a British fighter in modern times.

Their bout is loaded with commercial expectation too, this will be Alvarez’s first bout on the digital streaming platform, DAZN, since signing his 10-fight deal with the embryonic organisation following his contentious victory over Gennady Golovkin in September.

There are a lot of parties vested in that relationship; stakeholders who anticipate a regulation victory for the Mexican hero, a 1/16 heavy favourite.

Despite the yawning chasm in pedigree and big-fight experience between the pair, there remain a host of betting opportunities with the best boxing bookmakers. Continue reading “Fielding fights against the odds”

Usyk v Bellew betting preview

First appeared on gambling.com

On Saturday night, in the hothouse of the Manchester Arena, Tony Bellew will tackle Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk for the unified Cruiserweight championship.

A fight that offers Bellew the chance to etch his name alongside predecessors in British Boxing folklore with whom the self-effacing “fat lad from Liverpool” will be the first to insist he has no right to be compared.

It has been this paradox, the deeply held certainty of victory despite simultaneous acknowledgement that the other guy holds all the advantages, that has been the narrative of his rise from peripheral domestic fighter to pay per view attraction and, albeit briefly, world champion. Continue reading “Usyk v Bellew betting preview”

Andrade v Kautondokwa betting preview

First published at gambling.com

On Saturday night Demetrius Andrade, the middleweight from Rhode Island, will face the unheralded Namibian, Walter Kautondokwa for the World Boxing Organisation’s vacant middleweight title.

It wasn’t meant to be this way; Andrade was scheduled to fight Billy Joe Saunders in a contest designed, unofficially at least, to serve as a qualifier for a match with the winner of Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin’s rematch.

Unfortunately, the British fighter was found to have a banned substance in his system. Despite the change, the leading bookmakers are still offering a range of odds on the contest. Continue reading “Andrade v Kautondokwa betting preview”

Tete faces Aloyan: Betting Preview

Article first appeared on 12th October on Gambling.com

Boxing, sport’s oldest show girl, remains stubbornly inconsistent. Subject to source, she is in both rude health and her final death throes. One of the most pointed criticisms is her perceived inability to pitch the best fighters against each other often enough.

It is an accusation with foundation, but one which also romanticises preceding generations in which similar complications occurred too. For all the Ali v Frazier trilogies and tales of Sugar Ray and the Raging Bull, there remained the lost classics of Holmes and Foreman, Lewis and Bowe and a whole generation of fighters denied world title shots.

The second season of the innovative World Boxing Super Series format, guided by Kalle Sauerland and lavishly financed, aims to address this failing.

Fight fans are particularly excited about the Bantamweight version that began last week and there is growing belief it could eclipse the thrills provided by the Cruiser and Super-Middleweight editions of season one.

There are a host of betting opportunities available for those willing to invest. Continue reading “Tete faces Aloyan: Betting Preview”

Pulev surely too wise and too sturdy for Fury the younger

First published on Gambling.com on 10th September 2018

There is much to like about the heavyweight clash between Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev and Britain’s Hughie Fury. Scheduled for late October in Sofia, the match brings together two big men at different ends of their respective careers and will clarify much about their prospects in a weight class rich with possibilities.

As with all prize fights there is a sense of a ‘crossroads’ for both fighters, a study of the usual metrics can inform those looking to invest in the outcome. Continue reading “Pulev surely too wise and too sturdy for Fury the younger”

A little less conversation a little more action please. Saunders stalls again.

There is a lot more waiting involved in boxing these days. A lot more empty hollering. Much more theorising. Greater noise. Less fighting. Fighters have become business men at the expense of their supposed vocation. Many are more familiar to us in tweed tailoring, discussing percentages and the narcissism of their legacy than the blood soaked satin of their trade.

For a sport in such apparent rude health, with many tens of thousands pouring through turnstiles to glimpse heroes in illuminated Lowry dimension, there doesn’t seem to be as much actual fighting. Particularly, by the era’s most exceptional talents.

News Billy Joe Saunders has been stripped of his World Boxing Organisation Middleweight belt, after the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission refused to sanction him to fight in their state in a mandatory defence against Demetrius Andrade due to a failed, if contested, drugs test, once again brought the issue of inactivity back to the fore. Continue reading “A little less conversation a little more action please. Saunders stalls again.”

Beneath the opulence of Wembley the small hall classics remain; Tommy Frank steps up

With every passing stadium fight, with the new disciples boxing attracts through those seminal occasions, the memory of how the boxing landscape used to be seems lodged in ever fewer of us. Which isn’t to begrudge the progress and popularity boxing now enjoys nor eschew the game changing economies of scale available to promoters and fighters a like.

Boxing is a tough enough business without those who clutch the sport closest to their collective bosom resisting this upward trajectory and yearning for the time their own affection for the sport distinguished them; identified them. Continue reading “Beneath the opulence of Wembley the small hall classics remain; Tommy Frank steps up”

Catterall v Davies betting preview

First appeared at gambling.com

On Saturday night, in the lull between the attention seeking totems of Anthony Joshua’s knockout win last month and Tyson Fury’s WBC title fight with Deontay Wilder in December, Jack Catterall and Ohara Davies face off in a bid to step out of those shadows and on to the world scene themselves.

There are plenty of betting opportunities in the fight, promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions and broadcast on BT Sport in the UK.

The clash between the two British Super Lightweights, or Light-Welterweight as traditionalists will know them, pitches polar opposite personalities and contrasting styles into a contest for the World Boxing Organisation’s InterContinental title. Continue reading “Catterall v Davies betting preview”

Ohara Davies and the part that can’t be played.

‘All the world’s a stage.’

William Shakespeare, As You Like It

It is received wisdom that a first impression takes just seconds to draw and, more often than not, time only confirms it’s accuracy. Fighters, who must exist in a world where self-belief is paramount, can often exude, or wear like a cloak, an exaggerated confidence. It projects a barrier of protection and is intended to unnerve the opponent. A virtual stand off, a falsehood before the actuality of the physical contest.

The manner or tone of this adopted persona is crucial, not only for its authenticity but also because of its impact on the profile of the fighter, their ability to generate interest and, from that essential metric, their prospects of upward trajectory. If one of the biggest sporting businesses in the world, Manchester United PLC, can sign players based on their Instagram following, it isn’t hard to understand the correlation between opportunity and popularity.

One fighter who has chosen the most precarious version of this script; to gamble on the longer odds of creating dislike and contempt to motivate people to watch him fight, is Ohara Davies. Continue reading “Ohara Davies and the part that can’t be played.”

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