IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston weighs up the betting value in Saturday’s action pitting Kid Galahad vs Kiko Martinez, Jaime Munguia vs Gabriel Rosado and Terri Harper vs Alycia Baumgardner.

Two big shows tonight, with Kid Galahad defending his featherweight title against Kiko Martinez in Sheffield while across the pond middleweight contender Jaime Munguia puts his unbeaten record on the line against veteran Gabriel Rosado.

Galahad is a huge favourite over Martinez in a fight billed as Kid vs Kiko. The odds are understandable. Galahad has looked dominant in his last two fights after losing a split decision to Josh Warrington. It’s almost as if Galahad wants to take fights out of the judges’ hands by winning every round without argument. Not surprisingly Galahad is a 1/20 (-2000) favourite.

No one wants to lay these sort of odds, even though Galahad is expected to win. Kiko always looks in tremendous condition and he can punch. But Kiko is 35 and there’s a lot of ring mileage on him. He’s been stopped four times.

Kiko revitalised his career with his gutsy losing effort against prospect Zelfa Barrett, a fight that many thought the much more seasoned Spanish fighter deserved to win. He took the fight to Barrett throughout and had success with pressure and what looked much the heavier blows.

That was a terrific performance by Kiko even though he didn’t get the decision. But was he a little bit flattered by the Barrett fight? Barrett couldn’t keep Kiko off him and was getting bullied and harried in just about every round. It’s not going to be so easy to bully Galahad.

I thought Galahad reached a new level when he stopped the capable Claudio Marrero in eight rounds. And in his last fight, Galahad systematically broke down the game but outgunned Jazza Dickens before the one-sided beatdown was mercifully stopped with a round remaining.

Galahad isn’t the type of boxer who ends matters with one punch but he’s very good at chipping away in a systematic manner and gradually eroding the other man’s resistance. Kiko might very well come storming in when the first bell sounds, and he might land some shots, but Galahad is likely to meet him with sharp counter punches. And if Galahad can slow Kiko down, he can start teeing off on him.

The oddsmakers expect a Galahad stoppage win. The KO TKO proposition is priced at 1/3 (-300) at Betfred. However, I’m not expecting a blowout. The last time Kiko lost inside the distance was when Gary Russell Jr halted him in five rounds in Brooklyn two years ago. A cut over Kiko’s eye caused the stoppage, but Martinez was never off his feet. So I’m thinking that it might take Galahad some rounds to wear Kiko down.

Can Kiko go the full route? If you think this does indeed go all 12 rounds, Galahad to win by decision might be appealing. The Galahad decision prop is offered at 3/1 (+300) at Betfred

Fight to go the distance is priced at around 5/2 (+250) and fight not to go the full 12 rounds is offered at 2/7 (-350). 

I’m thinking on the lines of Galahad by TKO in about eight or nine rounds. This is a home fight for Galahad in Sheffield and I think he will be looking to impress — and that means getting the job done inside the limit. 

If the stoppage comes I think it will be late in the bout rather than early, so Galahad to win in rounds 7-12 at a general price of 13/8 (+160) might not be the worst idea in the world. If Galahad managed to get Kiko out of there inside six rounds I would consider it a special type of showing. 

Over on the US West Coast, in the Los Angeles suburb of Anaheim, Jaime Munguia is a whopping favourite to defeat Gabriel Rosado. Betfred offers Munguia at 1/8 (-800). If you think Rosado can spring one of the year’s major surprises, you can pick up the old pro from Philadelphia at odds of 11/2 (+550). 

However, it really would be a shock if Rosado derailed the Munguia train. Although Rosado can box and punch, he turns 36 in a couple of months and has been in a lot of tough fights. While Rosado pulled off a stunning result by knocking out Bektemir Melikuziev in his last fight it was somewhat misleading. Melikuziev dropped Rosado in the first round and basically forgot all about defence after that. Rosado timed him for a right hand from the boxing gods. It was surely the best right hand Rosado has ever thrown. Could Rosado land that sort of right hand tonight for a second successive one-punch KO? It hardly seems likely.

If Rosado is going to win this fight he is going to have to find a level of performance that I think is beyond him. Rosado has lost 14 fights in a 41-bout career (although one defeat was changed to a no decision due to his opponent failing the post-fight drugs test, thus making an official total of 13 losses). 

We’ve seen Rosado busted up, knocked down and stopped. He’s enjoying something of a late-career revival, losing by split decision to Daniel Jacobs and starching Melikuziev, and no one could begrudge him his opportunity, but tonight’s fight looks a bridge too far.

Munguia is somewhat hittable but I see him as much improved from the fighter who barely scraped a decision against Dennis Hogan on home ground in Mexico. That fight was almost three years ago. Mexican great Erik Morales, now a trainer, has done good work in improving Munguia’s boxing ability. In his last fight, Munguia looked relaxed and showed an excellent variety of punches in halting the willing but outclassed Kamil Szeremeta in six rounds. He’s a big, strong 160-pounder and he’s a decade younger than Rosado.

I do understand why people would take a stab at the big odds available on Rosado. Also, I think the sentimentalist in many of us would like to see the old warrior pull it off. But the most likely outcome is that Munguia simply grinds Rosado down. 

The Munguia KO TKO proposition is offered at 4/6 (-150) at Betfred. That’s a reasonable price. Some markets have an over/under of 9.5 rounds with the under priced at (-110). I think the “under 9.5” rounds might have value. 

Rosado looked all business at the weigh-in, proudly bearing the Puerto Rican flag (a nod to Gabe’s pride in his ancestry). Munguia fans will be chanting “Mexico!” when the battle commences. I get the feeling that Rosado will be looking to put it on Munguia from the start and I can see the contest developing into a battle of attrition. Someone, I believe, is going to get stopped, probably Rosado. Distance “No” is priced at 1/2 (-200) at Betfred. That is quite a good look if you don’t mind laying the price.

UNDERDOG PLAY: I quite like the idea of Detroit’s Alycia Baumgardner upsetting the odds against Terri Harper in their women’s 130lbs title bout on the Sheffield show. I really like Yorkshire’s tough and talented Harper but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen of Baumgardner, who throws heavy shots with good form. Strong and muscular (she wrestled before turning to boxing), Baumgardner knows how to fight and radiates what I believe is genuine confidence. Her promoter, Marshall Kauffman, has made the trip from the US to back his fighter. That’s always a good sign. Of course, it’s quite possible Harper will outspeed and out-volume Baumgardner but I don’t think it’s the worst idea in the world to put something on the visiting fighter. Betfred offers Baumgardner at 7/2 (+350). A little sprinkle on the draw at 18/1 (+1800) is always advisable as a “just in case” wager.

Main image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.