IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston seeks the betting value as four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia faces Sandor Martin, heavyweight Hughie Fury meets Christian Hammer and Savannah Marshall defends her WBO middleweight belt against Lolita Muzeya.
We have action tonight on both sides of the pond with a show at Fresno in California and, earlier in the evening, the second of the Boxxer shows on Sky Sports, this one from Newcastle.
Let’s look at the California show first. This is headlined by Mikey Garcia, who returns to the ring after 20 months’ inactivity to meet Spain’s European 140lbs champion Sandor Martin in a catchweight 10-round bout at 145 pounds.
This will be Garcia’s first fight since he outpointed Jessie Vargas in February 2020. Garcia came in at 143.6 pounds, Martin at his heaviest-ever 144 pounds, but the Spanish boxer looked in excellent shape.
The southpaw Martin is 28, five years younger than Garcia, and he’s been more active, having boxed as recently as April. Garcia is an overwhelming favourite at 1/50 (-5000). As Garcia has been so consistent in his career it doesn’t seem a good idea to bet against him in what is essentially a showcase fight. However, if you feel that Martin might be in the right place at the right time, Betfred offers 10/1 (+1000) on the outsider.
While Garcia has vastly more top-level experience and looks the much harder puncher, Martin is on a run of nine wins in a row and he has some nice boxing skills. If Martin boxes a disciplined fight, looking to get in with flurries and then using the ring to steer clear of counter punches, he can possibly do quite well in spots. But Garcia is such an accurate, precise puncher that Martin won’t be able to avoid everything.
With no title at stake, Garcia might simply pace himself and not really push for a stoppage. But Garcia hits hard. Even in fights that have gone the distance he’s dropped the other man. Martin is likely to get tagged by sharp right hands. In a 12-round bout I don’t think Martin could stay the course, but in a 10-rounder I think he might just make it. The general price for the fight to go the full 10 rounds is 5/6 (-120). That might be worth a look.
Heavyweight Hughie Fury is a wide favourite to beat Romania’s Christian Hammer on the Newcastle show (1/33, or -3300, at Betfred). Hammer is offered at 10/1 (+1000). The likely result, on paper, is Fury by decision. That is offered at 2/5 (-250). Fury should be able to pile up points with his long left jab and the occasional right hand. If he got Hammer out of the fight inside 12 rounds it would be an excellent performance.
Hammer hasn’t been stopped since Tyson Fury belaboured him into defeat on an eight-round corner retirement, and that was more than seven years ago. His last three losses were all by decision, against Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz and Tony Yoka. However, Fury vs Hammer is scheduled for 12 rounds, and I thought Hammer looked out of gas in the last two rounds of his loss to Tony Yoka last November. In a 12-round fight there might be a chance of Fury getting an against-the-odds stoppage win. After all, four of Fury’s last five wins were inside the distance and although he went the route in his last fight he was in with something of an immovable object in Mariusz Wach. Betfred offers a Fury win by KO TKO or DQ at 9/4 (+225). Hammer is 34. It’s possible that Fury could wear him down.
Savannah Marshall is the local attraction for the Newcastle fans. Marshall, from nearly Hartlepool, defends her middleweight title against Lolita Muzeya, of Zambia, who is unbeaten but has never faced anyone anywhere near the talent level of County Durham’s “Silent Assassin”.
Muzeya has boxed mostly as a welterweight but she matched up quite well physically with Marshall at the weigh-in, where she scaled 158 pounds to Marshall’s 159. I was expecting Marshall to look much the bigger woman, but that wasn’t the case.
The oddsmakers expect Marshall to win inside the scheduled 10 rounds. It’s 2/13 (-650) at Betfred that Marshall gets the stoppage. And Marshall does have the finishing instinct. She has stopped her last six opponents. Even with the two-minute rounds in women’s boxing I think Marshall can close the show here.
But Muzeya has the pride of an unbeaten boxer. She might be able to take the fight into the middle rounds at least. Some markets offer the over 3.5 rounds at even money. That’s tempting, but you’d be taking a chance on an overseas boxer who is basically an unknown quantity.
Nothing stands out as exceptional value this weekend but the best bet, for me, might be a conservative play on Garcia vs Martin going the distance.
Main image: Garcia and Martin face off. Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing.