IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston seeks the betting value in tonight’s undisputed super-welterweight title fight between WBC, WBA Super and IBF champion Jermell Charlo and WBO king Brian Castaño at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Jermell Charlo vs Brian Carlos Castaño is one of the premier match-ups of the year, with all four major 154lbs titles on the line, Charlo defending three of them. Odds for tonight’s fight in San Antonio have remained fairly steady, with Charlo, of Houston, Texas, favoured at 1/3 (-300) at Betfred and Argentina’s Castaño offered at 9/4 (+225).

Charlo is boxing in his home state but there is likely to be Hispanic support for Castaño — and a group of Argentine fans were in good voice at Friday’s weigh-in.

It’s easy to see why Charlo is favoured. He is the higher-profile boxer, the more experienced, the bigger man and perceived as the more skilled, and he would have to be considered as the puncher in the fight. 

Castaño, though, is what we call a “live underdog”. He was an elite-level amateur who competed in the World Series of Boxing and world amateur championships. He brings pressure and a high workrate. After being outboxed in the early rounds, Castaño had Erislandy Lara under heavy pressure down the stretch in their 12-round draw. He practically swarmed all over Brazil’s Patrick Teixeira to become WBO champion, sweeping the last four rounds on the judges’ cards. Castaño has a tremendous engine. 

And Castaño isn’t just a walk-in slugger. He uses smart aggression, changing angles, moving in and out and to the side.

Charlo, of course, is a dangerous fighter who can crack with either the left hook or the right hand. But Castaño seems to have a good chin and he keeps his hands up. 

For Castaño backers, the main concern is that he could get caught and hurt early in the fight, before he can get into a rhythm. But if Castaño can get some momentum going, crowd Charlo, push him back and basically stay on top of him, then it becomes a fight that the underdog can win.

Castaño looked very confident at the weigh-in, really up for it. Charlo looked intense, which is par for the course with him. Some pushing and shoving between the rival camps seemed to get Charlo agitated whereas Castaño took it all in stride. I preferred Castaño’s demeanour at the weigh-in.

One reason I’m giving Castaño a real chance is that he’s beaten a Charlo-type fighter in French boxer-puncher Michel Soro. And Castaño won that fight, via split decision, on Soro’s home ground in France.

Tonight’s fight is going to be a tough watch for Castaño backers, especially early on, because Charlo can be explosive. But sometimes Charlo can be a little too precise, waiting for the perfect opening. This might give Castaño the chance to hustle, bustle and win rounds.

I’m seeing this as essentially an even fight, so at favourable odds I feel it’s worth taking the plunge and going with Castaño for the upset.

For undecided players, the proposition market doesn’t offer much in the way of value. This has the makings of a long fight so it’s not surprising that the over 8.5 rounds is priced at 1/3 (-300). 

Betfred has “Distance — Yes” priced at 8/15 (-187). “Distance — No” is offered at 6/4 (+150). 

If you feel Castaño can get it done, the 10/3 (+333) for a win by decision (available at some outlets) could be enticing. 

For me, though, a straight wager on Castaño 9/4 is sufficiently attractive in and of itself. That’s the play I like.