Hopefully everyone who read this column last week took advantage of grabbing Showtime because Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz was even better than I expected it to be. Wow what a fight. It’s honestly worth the $11 for one month just to watch the replay! If you decide to go that route, wait until March 9 and you get four Showtime boxing cards. If that doesn’t work for you or you already have Showtime, you can also catch a projected, action-packed fan friendly fight on ESPN Saturday as well.
The showcase fighter this weekend is current Ring Magazine No. 6 pound-for-pound ranked Mikey Garcia challenging Sergey Lipinets for the IBF Junior Welterweight Championship Saturday. Garcia is looking to win a major championship in four different weight classes. For those unfamiliar with Garcia, he is fast with a ton of power as reflected in his perfect 37-0 record with 30 knockouts. In his last fight he dominated Adrien Broner in a unanimous decision.
Lipinets (13-0, 10KOs) has plenty of pop but this is a giant step up in class for him and it’s likely another showcase fight for the 30-year-old Garcia.
Currently in town only William Hill is offering a line on the fight, hopefully we will see a few more as the week goes on so check at your favorite book closer to Saturday.
Like I said, this fight is about Garcia as shown by the big favorite line, he should destroy Lipinets, probably within six rounds, and would be lined up for a showdown with current Ring Magazine WBA Lightweight Champion Jorge Linares in the summer. That would be a fantastic fight with the winner likely fighting Vasyl Lomachenko next. Obviously I can’t recommend betting Garcia but he’s a must watch fighter so get in front of the TV to see the star in action.
Valdez vs. Quigg
Ahh it sure is refreshing to see meaningful fights on ESPN. As mentioned earlier, this Saturday marks a fight that should be a classic, two guys punching in a phone booth style fight, which should have the crowd at Stub Hub Center in Carson, California rocking.
WBO Featherweight Champion Oscar Valdez defends his title against England’s Scott Quigg. Valdez (23-0, 19KOs), a former Mexican Olympian, has been lights out as a professional but this is his biggest challenge to date. Quigg (34-1-2, 25KOs) lost a split decision to Carl Frampton, who is correctly regarded as one of the best fighters in the world. Quigg is a former WBA junior featherweight champion, the title Frampton took from him, and he is eager to be a titleholder once again.
Just like the Garcia fight, William Hill is the only line in town at press time. Much like my recommendation last week on Luis Ortiz (by the way how close was that to coming in!), Quigg seems to be a little undervalued, getting +330. I feel like Valdez should be at the high -280 to -320 mark, so my gut tells me there is a little extra value on Quigg. I don’t like the Englishman even close to what I liked Ortiz last week, so I will say this: to make the fight interesting on ESPN, bet a few bucks, maybe 25-50 percent of your normal unit, on Quigg. The fights will be entertaining to watch this weekend but as far as real betting recommendations there isn’t anything of note. PASS
Also this Friday, Showtime has a battle for the interim WBC Junior Welterweight title Regis Prograis (20-0, 12KOs) vs. Julius Indongo (22-1, 11 KOs). Both guys are ranked top five in the division, so should be an interesting fight. The winner will challenge the winner of Jose Carlos Ramirez-Amir Imam for the final fight to determine the WBC champ.
Coming up next week we have UFC Fight Night from London with a 2 p.m. PT start time so that should put fun in the mix with some March Madness. No. 3 Heavyweight Fabricio Werdum faces No. 8 Alexander Volkov. If Werdum wins this fight he would likely get a title shot versus the winner of the July megafight between UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier.