Rousey, Garcia deserve to be huge favorites

July 28, 2015 3:04 AM


Bantamweight titlist Ronda RouseyThis Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn will feature the welterweight debut of WBC, WBA Super Lightweight and Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight title holder Danny Garcia (30-0, 17 KO’s). The opponent at 147 pounds is former IBF Light Welterweight and WBA Welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KO’s).

Then in Rio de Janeiro, arguably the most dominant fighter in all of mixed martial arts, current UFC Bantamweight titlist Ronda Rousey (11-0) looks to defend her strap against the beloved Brazilian Bethe Correia (9-0), in her home town.

Westgate Superbook currently lists Garcia as a -1200 favorite and Rousey is even greater at -2000. Both are well over 90 percent to retain their titles.

For Rousey, this bout marks the first time in a while she has taken the fight personally. The champion and challenger have verbally sparred with one another on social media. Correia has appeared to improve with each fight inside the Octagon and seems to have the heart and drive. However, she lacks the experience and well rounded skills it takes to truly pose a threat to Rousey.

The OVER/UNDER for total rounds is 1.5 with the UNDER a -320 favorite. Oddsmakers don’t expect this bout to last very long.

Pick: Rousey… by any way she wants.

In boxing, Garcia will try to use this opportunity to make a statement after not looking all that impressive since his win against Lucas Matthysse almost two years ago. At that point of his career the young, tough kid from Philly was all the rage in boxing.

Garcia’s seek and destroy style, which helped him beat Amir Khan and Erik Morales by knockout, turned him into a major attraction and he instantly became a fan favorite. But just as it appeared Garcia had reached the tipping point of becoming one of the sport’s top pound for pound fighters and a pay per view sensation, his stock began to drop.

Though Garcia has been able to hold on to his titles and remain undefeated, a controversial majority decision win against Mauricio Herrera, and then another debatable majority decision over Lamont Patterson in his last fight has many wondering whether he is on the decline. Garcia’s style is very demanding on a fighter and he’s been in a number of wars for being only 27 years old.

For Malignaggi, after losing two of his last three bouts and not having fought in more than a year, the chance to headline a main event is a welcome surprise. Malignaggi is only 34, but he turned pro over 14 years ago and this is definitely the twilight of his career.

With only 7 knock-outs on his resume, Paulie has been in with the likes of Cotto, Hatton, Khan, Judah, and Broner throughout his career. He’s been able to remain relevant in such stacked weight classes almost exclusively due to his skill as a boxer. Malignaggi embraced the “sweet science” and used his ring IQ and boxing efficiency to overcome a lack of punching power.

Malignaggi will need to keep Garcia at a distance and avoid becoming a stationary target. I look for Garcia to try to cut the ring off and close the distance by throwing combinations behind his jab rather than try to take Malignaggi out with a single shot. Though Danny does have one-punch knockout power, against a such an experienced opponent, he can’t afford to be too over confident in his ability to finish.

I see no reason why Garcia won’t secure his 18th win via KO and move to 31-0 overall.

Pick: Garcia

Unfortunately for dog bettors, there just isn’t enough value even at these generous looking take-backs to warrant my putting up small money in an attempt to win big. My advice is sit it out and enjoy watching as a fan rather than a bettor.

Vegas-Runner is a professional bettor/handicapper featured on CNBC, ESPN, FOX, Yahoo, CBS This Morning, The Herd, JT the Brick, & More. Follow VR on Twitter @vegasrunnerand at the home of the Animals, Contact Vegas Runner at