Last week, this column had a couple of near misses: two selections won but they were not paired together and the bell saved Jordan Thompson, preventing an 11/1 shot victory. These things happen; we go again.
There is not an awful lot of action taking place today, but I believe there are a few prices that stand out.
With only seven fights priced up, a long odds selection has been hard to identify. Honestly, I came close to backing Kevin Johnson to pull off the upset in Germany. Thankfully, I settled on something more sensible.
Teofimo Lopez returns to the ring for the first time since his shock defeat to George Kambosos, last November. The loss saw the former disputed undisputed lightweight champion’s stock fall. However, there are mitigating circumstances which help to explain the lacklustre performance: Lopez was extremely tight at the 135lbs divisional limit and multiple postponements of the Kambosos clash would not have helped his preparations.
I still believe Lopez is one of the best young fighters in the world. The move to the 140lbs weight class should suit him. However, his mentality will be the key to any future success. After defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2020, it appeared that the 2016 Olympian believed he had become a superstar. At his best, Lopez is an intelligent fighter that sets traps, yet, against Kambosos he went looking for a knockout with every shot. If Lopez has prepared for this fight as he did for those earlier in his career, it will be a tough night for his opponent.
The man in the opposite corner will be Pedro Campa, a once-beaten Mexican. From the footage available, I suspect that Campa is tailor-made for Lopez. ‘Roca’ is aggressive, throws wide shots and does not have particularly fast hands. That could be a recipe for disaster against Lopez, who possesses excellent timing.
Some may be concerned that Lopez will display signs of ring rust, but I think the Brooklyn-born fighter knows he needs to make a statement. As such, I think it is worth backing the fight ending in under 2.5 rounds at 9/2.
Lopez has scored two thirds of his 12 stoppage victories inside the first two frames. Yes, those stats are somewhat artificially inflated by the low-level opposition he faced when he first turned professional, but he has halted capable fighters such as Richard Commey and Mason Menard early, too.
Hopefully, ‘The Takeover’ continues with another explosive performance.
As outlined above, I expect Teofimo Lopez to despatch of Pedro Campa promptly, but I accept that under 2.5 rounds is probably too risky to be included in parlays. However, I believe that backing the fight to end in under 4.5 rounds at 11/8 is playable.
On the same bill, Xander Zayas takes on Elias Espadas, over eight rounds. Teenage prodigy, Zayas, has looked impressive in his 13 bouts to date and I suspect he will do so once more here. Espadas represents another slight step up. The Mexican displayed flashes of ability in his fight with D’Mitrius Ballard, before the fight was stopped due to a cut. Zayas throws fast, accurate shots and I can see him stopping his opponent in the second half of the fight. Zayas to win in rounds 4-8 is priced at 12/5.
This week’s double is available at over 7/1.
Further down the undercard, Troy Isley faces Victor Toney. I have been impressed by the Tokyo 2020 Olympian in his six fights so far. ‘Transformer’ varies his attack well, mixing punches to head and body. Toney has only suffered one loss, which came against Sebastien Fundora, in 2017. ‘The Towering Inferno’ could not stop Toney and it looks like Top Rank are giving Isley the opportunity to make a statement by halting a man that went the distance with Fundora. I believe Isley is capable of grinding down Toney and I am backing Isley to win between rounds 4-6 at 5/2.
If you like all three selections, the treble is priced at over 27/1.