After a one-week break, I’m back with two boxing bets. Firstly, the flashy and cocky Adrien Broner takes on former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter, while live on Sky Sports 1 from 01:30am in the early hours of Sunday morning, Britain’s Paul Smith faces the long-reigning WBA super-middleweight champion Andre Ward in a bout that he has slim to no chance of winning.
Broner: 30-1 (22 KO) Pro Record
Adrian Broner is a cocky but talented 25-year-old American fighter that craves attention and is a three-weight world champion. Nicknamed ‘The Problem,’ Broner is more of a come-forward fighter compared to Floyd Mayweather, but nevertheless uses the same shoulder-rolling defence and models his style on the pound-for-pound king.
Big for his weight and a constant KO artist, Broner dominated as a world champion in the super-featherweight and lightweight divisions, but wasn’t able to carry his punching power into the welterweight category, unimpressively beating the then WBA champion, Paulie Malignaggi, on points before being knocked down several times in a crushing defeat to Marcos Maidana in his first defence of that title.
After the Maidana defeat, Broner dropped down to light-welterweight to defeat Carlos Molina, Emmanuel Taylor and John Molina Jr – each time via a scorecard division and each time unimpressively.
Porter: 25-1 (16 KO) Pro Record
Nicknamed ‘Showtime,’ Shawn Porter compiled an impressive 276-14 record on route to winning the 2007 World Golden Gloves Championship as an amateur, but was sensationally knocked out in the PanAm Games and failed to qualify for the 2008 US Olympic team.
Once known for being Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao’s sparring partner, Porter has now established his own reputation in the pro ranks. Indeed, having fought at light-middleweight for more than half of his career, Porter showed that he had real punching power at welterweight when knocking the then IBF welterweight kingpin Devon Alexander down on route to a comprehensive defeat to win his version of the world title.
In his next bout, ‘Showtime’ stopped Paulie ‘Magic Man’ Malignaggi in four rounds. Considering that the talkative Italian-American had survived 12 rounds with a broken jaw against Miguel Cotto and had only been stopped twice in a career in which he fought pretty much every elite fighter of his generation, this was impressive.
However, Porter lost his IBF title in a close fight to England’s Kell Brook in August 2014 and is now on the comeback trail after later stopping Erick Bone in the fifth round of their March 2015 bout.
Set to face the flashy and talkative Adrien Broner at a catch-weight of 144 pounds, a win would put Porter back in line for another world title shot.
Broner v Porter Betting
Broner is offered around 11/10, Porter is available at 10/11 and you can bet on a draw at 25/1. In terms of method of victory, Broner is priced around 5/1 to win by KO/TKO/DQ or 7/4 to win on points, while Porter is 4/1 to win by KO/TKO/DQ or 7/4 to win on points.
The Broner v Porter Betting Verdict
It’s a pity that this fight has been made at catch-weight of 144 pounds and not at the welterweight limit of 147 as Porter is the naturally bigger and heavier man who’s fought most of his career at 154 pounds, while Broner has really struggled above 140 pounds and was easily beaten by Marcus Maidana at 147.
However, despite the weight limit favouring Broner this weekend, it’s still outside of his comfort zone and Porter will surely balloon-up after the weigh-in, so I expect Porter to bully and defeat Broner.
Recommendation: Porter to win at 10/11
Ward: 27-0 (14 KO) Pro Record
Given the lofty nicknamed of ‘Son of God,’ Andre ‘SOG’ Ward was an accomplished amateur boxer, going undefeated between 1998 and 2004 and capping his career off by winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic games.
Tall with lightning -quick hand speed and superb footwork, Ward won his first twenty professional bouts before signing to compete in the ‘Super Six’ super-middleweight tournament that was devised to match the best fighters at that weight together and eventually unify its world titles.
Convincingly outboxing the then WBA champion Mikkel Kessler to win his first professional world title, Ward went on to beat Allan Green, Sakio Bika and Arthur Abraham before facing Carl Froch in the tournament final.
Ward easily defeat Froch on points to add the Englishman’s WBC title to his collection and later defeated former light-heavyweight kingpin Chad Dawson by an impressive tenth-round stoppage.
Rated as the second-best pound-for-pound boxer in the world and peerless at his weight, Ward has only fought once since 2012 – partly because of issues with his promoter and partly because he’s so good that nobody wants to face him.
Smith: 35-5 (20 KO) Pro Record
Part of the Smith family who so frequently appear on Sky Sports – be it in the ring or as annalists – Paul Smith won an ABA title as an amateur, along with a Silver medal in the 2002 Commonwealth games.
Signing with Frank Warren in the pro ranks, Smith quickly amassed a 23-0 undefeated record, winning the English middleweight title along the way. Smith, however, immediately lost that title to Steven Bendall, beating low quality opposition in his next six fights.
A big step up in class then followed, as the Liverpudlian lost by KO/TKO to up-and-comers James Degale and George Groves. Without intentionally being unkind, 32-year-old Paul Smith cannot therefore be ranked as much more than a mid-level veteran journeyman who’s not a world class fighter.
Perhaps with this in mind, Smith was granted a WBO Super Middleweight title shot against reigning champion Abraham. To his credit, Smith fought admirably against Arthur Abraham, going the full 12 rounds in what was a very close fight.
However, the wide scorecard verdict that Abraham was awarded seemed inaccurate, so the WBO chairman, Paco Valcarcel, ordered a rematch. In that rematch, Abraham won a convincing and one-sided points decision, with Smith showing great heart once again.
Ward v Smith Betting
Ward is offered around 1/33, Smith is available at 12/1 and you can bet on a draw at 35/1. In terms of method of victory, Ward is priced around 4/7 to win by KO/TKO/DQ or 13/8 to win on points, while Smith is 20/1 to win by KO/TKO/DQ or 40/1 to win on points.
The Ward v Smith Betting Verdict
Of course, Smith is totally out of his depth against Ward and should be stopped within twelve rounds. However, considering that ‘SOG’ is ring-rusty after not having fought since 2013 and has only stopped just over half of his opponents anyway, while factoring in that Smith has a good chin and great heart, the 13/8 about a Ward points win looks like the bet to chance.
After all, these factors are surely why Smith has been picked to fight Ward and an early knockout does nothing for a man who needs to get as many rounds as possible under his belt in preparation for a potential super-fight with middleweight kingpin GGG – another man deemed peerless at his weight.
Worth a punt: Ward to win on points at 13/8
Of course, whether you do or don’t opt for a wager, have a great weekend and feel free to contact me on Twitter via @JCLaLiga if you have any questions or feedback.