Matt Lessinger’s Boxing Picks for this Weekend
Matt Lessinger’s picks are a perfect 10-0 during the last year I have posted his write ups. That’s right, ten wins and zero losses — including a few dogs. This also includes a 10-1 shot with a Grammy winner.
If you don’t know Matt Lessinger’s name or reputation by now, then do your own homework, or get out from under that rock you’re living under. We’re way past that point where I make introductions. Look HERE (Grammys) and HERE (Merryweather) and HERE (Porter).
Matt Lessinger has just posted another interesting write-up on handicapping this weekend’s boxing. As I always say, I’m not encouraging anyone to bet these picks. But many of you who do bet should find his analysis spot on. Here’s his report, verbatim:
The big fight this weekend is Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez for the title of best middleweight not named Gennady Golovkin. Here is my up-front disclaimer: I would not advise anyone to put any serious money on this fight one way or the other. There is a lot of recent controversy surrounding Miguel Cotto, some of it centered around the possibility that his new trainer Freddie Roach (Pacquiao’s trainer) has him using PEDs. This is a natural speculation, because suddenly at age 35 he has “rediscovered” his power, knocking out his last three opponents.
Whether Cotto is taking PEDs or not, Canelo Alvarez should win this fight. He has never been knocked down in his life, (which includes 47 pro fights), and now suddenly everyone thinks Cotto, who is on the verge of retirement, could be the first to do it. This should sound familiar. Everyone thought Pacquaio had a chance to knock out Mayweather, as evidenced by the fact that Pacquiao by KO was only +450, when it should have been +1000 or higher. Guess what? In this fight Cotto by KO is also +450, and it should be about +1000 IMHO. People remember what an in-his-prime Cotto was capable of, but that does not equate with what today’s Cotto is likely to be able to do.
On the other hand, Alvarez by KO is +275, and I think that is the best value of any lines I have seen on this fight. The two hardest hitting opponents that Cotto ever fought were a juiced-up Pacquiao and a plaster-in-his-gloves Antonio Margarito, and both of them knocked him out. Alvarez hits at least as hard as either of them, and is also more skilled than either of them. Even if he does not put Cotto on the ground, there is a good enough chance that he will cut him up badly to the point where the fight needs to be stopped, such that I see value on betting Canelo by KO at +275 or higher. Again, I’m not betting the farm by any means. This fight has controversy written all over it. Cotto lost his title two days ago before the fight even took place, so even if he wins he is not the champion. Truthfully, I have no idea how that will affect the fight — I just have the sense that something unexpected could happen (someone gives less-than-their-best, someone quits prematurely, etc.).
Another less-heralded fight this weekend is Martin Murray against Arthur Abraham for the WBO Super Middleweight title. The line is -120 for Abraham and -110 for Murray, suggesting this is a very even matchup. I’ve followed both of their careers. Murray is the FAR superior boxer, in just about every way imaginable. Abraham has a more solid defensive posture, but against any legitimate opponent he has no power whatsoever, and there is no scenario I can envision where he scores a KO. He is counting on winning a decision to retain his paper championship. From a betting perspective, the problem lies in the fact that this fight is in Germany, which is Abraham’s home, (Murray is British). Abraham has been carried most of his career by virtue of fighting just about every one of his fights in Germany. Meanwhile, Murray has had a history of getting garbage decisions against him. In 2011 he fought German Felix Sturm in Germany, clearly won the fight, and it was ruled a draw. In 2013, he fought Argentine Sergio Martinez in Argentina, knocked him down twice, and still lost the decision. One of the knockdowns was ruled a slip, which was a terrible call, and he simply didn’t do enough to overcome a hometown decision.
In February of this year he fought Gennady Golovkin and made it into Round 11. Given the beast that Golovkin is, Murray deserves an enormous amount of credit for going that long with Golovkin and actually showing up to try to win the fight. Since then, he has moved up to Super Middleweight, fought three times, and knocked out each of his three opponents. He has stayed busy. This is his fifth fight of the year, and he is as ready as can be. I am convinced that he will win the fight in the eyes of any unbiased spectator. The question is whether he will get a fair decision. I believe that, when a fighter has already been given a couple of unfair decisions, even the hometown fans of his opponent want him to get a fair shake. Abraham has stated that he wants a fair decision, and I actually believe him. If the judges intend to conduct themselves fairly, then -110 on Murray is a steal.
This is really a great weekend of boxing. Guillermo Rigondeaux is fighting as well, and there’s nothing to say from a betting perspective — he should school his opponent — but if you want to watch someone as masterful as Mayweather, and you can appreciate boxing at it’s finest, he is as talented as anyone in the world. Andre Ward is fighting as well, and if that leads to a comeback against better competition, then it’s a step in the right direction.
An added note: They’ve now come out with full props for the Abraham/Murray fight, and there is definitely value on the draw at 20-1. By comparison, the odds on a Cotto/Alvarez draw are also 20-1, but the fight is looked at as more one-sided in favor of Alvarez, with a greater chance of a knockout. The chances of a KO in the Abraham/Murray fight are much lower, plus the fighters are more evenly matched, so 20-1 is clearly good value. It is easy to envision a scenario where Murray wins the fight from an objective point of view, but because the fight is in Germany, two judges score it a draw, or one scores it a draw and one favors Abraham. If you happen to be betting this fight, get 20-1 on the draw now, because there’s no way it will stay that high.
Good luck to everyone this weekend,