New York is celebrating Paddy’s Day by hosting a whole weekend of boxing. The line up includes Irish favourites Michael Conlan and Andy Lee, crowd-pleasers Gennady Golovkin and Roman Gonzalez. Even Conor McGregor will be there.
The world’s best amateur bantamweight Conlan has turned over to the paid ranks and Madison Square Garden Theatre is hosting the Belfast hero’s debut on St. Patrick’s night.
To add to the Irish spectacle, Conlan is getting walked to the ring by The Notorious, Conor McGregor. In the opposite corner will be the little known American Tim Ibarra.
Ibarra was a decent amateur himself, he’s tall and he’s had plenty of time to prepare but the Yank has been stopped twice already in his eight fight career and enters as a 33/1 underdog.
Conlan was clearly robbed in the Olympics last year and he’ll be keen to finish this one before the judges have their say. A Conlan KO win is just 1/10, but the best bet is for him to win in round 2.
Bet Bet: Conlan to win in Round 2 @11/4.
On Saturday night ‘Irish’ Andy Lee makes it a boxing and Paddy double header at the Garden when he faces American middleweight KeAndrae Leatherwood.
The former champ is fighting again for the first time since being dethroned by Billy Joe Saunders at the end of 2015, and Lee is just 1/20 to win his comeback fight.
A KO is never more than a knuckle’s width away when the rangy southpaw is in the ring, with 24 of Lee’s wins coming by stoppage and two of his three losses coming before the final bell.
Leatherwood has the record of a contender but treads the path of a journeyman. In the last four years he’s contested eight fights, all of less than six rounds.
The American will come forward and attack and you can get 12/1 for him to grab a famous knockout win. The sensible money will be behind Lee by KO at 5/6.
Best bet: Andy Lee KO at 5/6.
Headlining in New York on Saturday night is Kazakhstan’s KO king Golovkin, and challenging the champ for his array of belts is Daniel Jacobs.
The American is probably the second best boxer in the middleweight division and he’s known for his skill, fast hands and victory in a battle with cancer only a few years ago.
Britain’s Kell Brook showed it was possible to pick holes in Golovkin’s defence and if the champ has one weakness it’s his lack of head movement. Jacobs has a KO ratio of 88 per cent, so perhaps the 7/1 for an American stoppage win is good value.
More realistically, the ‘Miracle Man’ has to disrupt, hold and generally dance away from ‘Triple G’ if he has any hope of seeing the second half of this contest.
One ominous sign is that Jacobs’ solo defeat came by KO to another talented eastern European, while Golovkin has strung together 23 stoppage wins on the spin.
‘GGG’ is good value to win inside the distance at 1/3 but I think Golovkin will finish the job when Jacobs starts to tire.
Best bet: Back the champ to win in rounds 7-12 at 5/2..
Also fighting on the same card is super flyweight world champion Gonzalez. This guy is a mini-Mike Tyson and if he was taller than 5′ 3″ and heavier than 52kg he would be the biggest name in boxing right now.
‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez has already conquered the minimum weight, light flyweight and flyweight divisons and he’s unbeaten in 46 fights with 38 wins by knockout.
Facing the fearsome Gonzalez is Thailand’s former world champion Wangek. The southpaw is just as aggressive as Gonzalez and it’s 4/11 for the fight not to go the distance.
Gonzalez’s power isn’t quite as devastating at the heavier weights. I really like the 14/1 long shot for the terrier-like Wangek to score a huge upset win in rounds 7-12. However, my main bet on this one is Gonzalez by decision.
Best bet: Gonzalez by decision @ 9/4