BOXING BOFF Iwan Evans (@IwanEvans19) eyes up the value for the big Carl Frampton-Scott Quigg bout in Manchester.
Carl Frampton v Scott Quigg | 27th February 2016 (22.00) | Sky Box Office
Carl Frampton (21-0, 14 KO's) and Scott Quigg (31-0-2, 23 KO's) clash in a long-awaited domestic super-fight at Manchester Arena, with Frampton’s IBF Super Bantamweight title on the line, and Quigg's WBA 122lb belt making it a unification contest.
Being two guys in the lower weights, the two don't hold the same crossover appeal as say an Anthony Joshua; Frampton is a big star in his home country of Northern Ireland,but this is a fight that has brought both into the public eye, and sees the duo headline their first pay-per-view show.
For pure boxing fans, this is a fight to savour. However, they are #2 and #3 in the division – behind the Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux – but perhaps most importantly, it's two British fighters clashing to be the best in their country.
Frampton was a stand out amateur and was long talked about as being a superstar early on his pro career, given he has been managed throughout his career by the great Barry McGuigan, with comparisons between the two inevitable.
It's in fact a family affair with two of Barry's sons negotiating the deal behind the scenes with Eddie Hearn, and his other son Shane, training Carl.
Twenty-eight-year-old Frampton won his world title in front of his adoring fans in the spectacular setting of Belfast's Titanic Quarter in September 2014, outpointing his former foe Kiko Martinez for a wide 12-round Unanimous Decision victory.
It was Carl's second victory over the Spaniard, having stopped him in nine rounds back in February 2013 when he was fighting under the Matchroom banner.
Two successful defences have followed – the first a fifth round stoppage of mandatory challenger Chris Avalos exactly a year ago. And then we saw some real chinks in Frampton's armour as he was put down twice in the first round in a 12-round decision victory over little known Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez in Texas last Summer.
That fight with Gonzalez was expected to see Carl landing as a major star in the US, but he was far from convincing and that first round will certainly leave some demons in his mind.
Frampton can be commended for doing enough in the end however, as he showcased his fantastic technical ability, he did win the majority of the rounds in convincing fashion.
It could be argued that Quigg is the man in form coming into this clash. Having hammered the aforementioned Martinez on the same summer night as Frampton's clash with Gonzalez, destroying the ex-IBF ruler inside two rounds.
It was a stunning performance from the Bury man, following a perfectly executed plan from trainer Joe Gallagher. Having been on the back foot for the first round, Quigg landed a huge uppercut on Kiko in the second. It was a punch of great timing, precision, and power, and although Martinez took a standing eight count, a succession of massive blows from Scott forced referee Terry O'Connor to step in at 1:58.
It was by a mile Scott's best performance and he has improved significantly since his first world title fight, having had to work very hard for a 12-round draw against Cuba's Yoandris Salinas in October 2013, this having been upgraded from interim to regular WBA champion.
Early stoppages of Diego Silva, Tshifiwa Munyai and Stephane Jamoye followed, and before his last fight, he outpointed Japanese fighter Hidenori Otake in November 2014 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Scott is being written off in some quarters as being nothing more than the puncher in this contest, and although he has had nowhere near as extensive an amateur career as Frampton, he has improved his technical ability significantly since joining up with Bolton-based trainer Gallagher.
What should be noted in this match-up is there can be doubts raised about the recent opponents of both fighters but I hold real qualms about the level Frampton has fought at.
Alejandro Gonzalez, who Carl battled last time, has had one fight since that defeat and was beaten over 10 rounds at Bantamweight by average Frenchman Karim Guerfi – Guerfi lost in five in a European title challenge in April 2014, while Chris Avalos was recently knocked out in five (same as Frampton) by 16-0 prospect Oscar Valdez.
The man who gave Quigg serious problems, Yoandris Salinas, has lost two of three fights (both by stoppage) since he fought at the 02 in London, and another of his victims, Stephane Jamoye, retired recently after a nine-round thumping in front of his hometown crowd in Belgium, by Liverpool's Ryan Farrag.
However, both guys have done what they've had to do and that's why they hold unbeaten records. The great prospect about this contest is that it's expected to tell us the true level and ability of both fighters.
This fight has long been talked about, and I'll be honest, I've always said Quigg wins so I won't be changing my opinion here. In what I class as a genuine 50/50 fight, he's the value at 6/4 to win with Paddy Power.
Watching Frampton's clash with Gonzalez, the Mexican targeted Carl's body early on, and this is an area that could pay dividends for Scott.
There were rumours that the man from Belfast was really struggling to make weight last time and he could be softened up early.
I don't see any great value in backing Quigg to win inside the distance, instead I'm having a small play on the 27-year-old winning in rounds 4-6, which has paid out in six of Quigg's last eight bouts and is value at 11/1 with Bwin.
Gavin McDonnell v Jorge Sanchez | 27th February 2016 (21.00) | Sky Box Office
The chief support for this card comes at the same weight class, and a potential future opponent for either man, as Doncaster's Gavin McDonnell (14-0-2, 4 KO's) steps up on the world title trail, challenging Panama's Jorge “Buffalo” Sanchez (15-0, 9 KO's) for the vacant WBC Silver title.
This is a very intriguing clash as both men are unbeaten and the rapidly improving McDonnell faces another dangerous opponent. I'm a big fan of both the McDonnell twins, as regular readers of my WeLoveBetting previews know, I tipped up Jamie to win at a good price in his last fight with Tomoki Kameda.
Gavin is not at Jamie's level yet but despite obviously being the same age, Gavin was maybe not as serious in boxing earlier in his career, and is slightly further behind in progression.
Both brothers have stepped up their game considerably since joining up with trainer Dave Coldwell however, and Gavin boxed incredibly well last October as he defended his European title against useful Frenchman Jeremy Parodi, winning a wide 12-round decision.
It was the best I'd seen Gavin box and it's three straight wins for him since he got a somewhat lucky draw against Josh Wale in May 2014, where he wasn't at his best.
McDonnell is a classic boxer who has a very good jab and is a difficult target to hit. With just four stoppages on his record, he's clearly not a massive puncher, but two of those victories inside the distance have been against unbeaten fighters and he also claimed an impressive second-round stoppage of Ross Burkinshaw in July 2013.
Not a great deal is known of Jorge Sanchez, which is typical of guys coming over from South/Central America, where records can be built to look impressive against a variety of poor opposition.
The man from Panama was actually meant to fight in Britain back in December on the big Joshua v Whyte card, where he was expected to clash with another Yorkshireman Josh Warrington but the Leeds man pulled out in fight week with illness.
Interestingly that was going to be at featherweight level and having seen video of “El Buffalo”, he looks like a very stocky and strong fighter and could well be a force at this lower weight.
However, what I've also seen of him is that you don't have to go looking for Sanchez; so he looks absolutely made for the taller McDonnell, who's incredibly strong at the weight himself.
Jorge has fought at a far lower level than Gavin and, other than claiming the South American 122lbs title, he has very little to justify a #14 ranking with the WBC having yet to go past eight rounds as a professional.
The best name on his resume Hernan Cortez, who currently holds an 8-8-3 (2 KO's) record, is a guy he's fought twice – including last time out in September when Sanchez won an eight-round Technical Decision – is someone who's given him problems on a couple of occasions.
In the first fight between the two, Sanchez was put down in the second round, only to rebound and claim a seventh-round stoppage. This isn't the only instance of the 25-year-old being knocked down as in February 2013 he fought a then 8-7-1 Luis Garcia, he was put down in the fourth, only to come back for final round stoppage in a bout scheduled for eight.
The only bits of video I've seen of Sanchez seems to clarify what I think of this fighter – he's not very good defensively and I think it's unlikely we are seeing the second coming of his countryman Roberto Duran here. Jorge looks sloppy and the confidence of having an unbeaten record could very well lead to his downfall here.
I think I've spotted a fantastic value bet and that is Gavin McDonnell to win this fight by KO, TKO or DQ, which is priced up at 11/4 with Paddy Power. As
I've mentioned, Gavin isn't a noted puncher but neither are any of the guys who have put Sanchez down. I just can't see this going the 12-round distance – either the visitor's chin will be exposed early, or the lack of experience over the later rounds will see the Doncaster man grind him down for a late stoppage.
Hosea Burton v Miles Shinkwin | 27th February 2016 (20.00) | Sky Box Office
There’s a very intriguing battle for the vacant British Light Heavyweight title as the Joe Gallagher-trained Hosea Burton (14-0, 5 KO's) faces Bushey's Miles Shinkwin (12-0, 6 KO's).
Burton was a stand out amateur fighter, winning the ABA's in 2009, but his progress as a pro has been slow, with some big fights against Bob Ajisafe and Tony Hill cancelled at the last minute.
The talk is that, he has very much been avoided and you can definitely think why as he comes from a top gym and he has a good pedigree. However,
Burton is yet to be really tested as a pro and has had just the one eight-rounder, which means this is a real step up in class. That clash was in April 2014 as he won a shut out decision against Frenchman Valentin Freulon.
What I've seen of Burton is, he's very typical of a stand out amateur who's not made much of an impact as a pro yet. His style is not the most exciting and given he's 6ft 4, he's tall and awkward for the weight. However, there are a few instances of him showing defensive fragility as a pro, which could well be exposed at a better level.
Shinkwin, like Burton, was a top class amateur and as a 16/17-year-old he was being talked about as a real prospect for the future, beating the likes of Anthony Ogogo and Travis Dickinson, and losing very narrowly to future world champion Demetrius Andrade.
A lack of dedication saw Shinkwin balloon up in weight and his performances as a senior in the unpaid ranks saw him unfulfill that potential.
But since turning pro in October 2012 he has amassed a perfect record and is making real strides under the Frank Warren promotional banner.
He's been in some harder contests than Burton, most notably in July 2014, as he claimed a 97-95 decision win over then 11-0 Joel McIntyre to win the vacant Southern Area at the York Hall, Bethnal Green.
Three impressive stoppage victories have followed since and he's definitely ready for this step up in class.
This is a little bit like the Frampton v Quigg fight but obviously at a much lower level. Both of these guys have been at the same level throughout their professional careers,and now face a step up in class to prove who's the best domestically.
The two 27-year-olds were amateurs at the same time, and given they turned pro within seven months of each other, this is a somewhat inevitable contest.
It's a genuine 50-50 fight and that's why I was incredibly surprised to see odds of 5/2 with William Hill on Shinkwin winning.
I must note that a lot of early money has seen the odds close up already, and as the fight draws near, I think we'll see a much shorter price on the underdog.
That's why I think the price on Miles winning is a great value bet. There's not much between the two in terms of ability, and given what I've noted about Burton's defensive weakness, I wouldn't be surprised to see the man from Hertfordshire win this one inside the distance.
Carl Frampton v Scott Quigg – Scott Quigg to win (6/4 Paddy Power)
Carl Frampton v Scott Quigg – Scott Quigg to win in rounds 4-6 (11/1 Bwin)
Gavin McDonnell v Jorge Sanchez – Gavin McDonnell to win by KO, TKO or DQ (11/4 Paddy Power)
Hosea Burton v Miles Shinkwin – Miles Shinkwin to win (5/2 William Hill)
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