Theophane can boost title quest
Our expert Simon Crawford believes Londoner Ashley Theophane can see off Pablo Cano in Las Vegas this weekend.
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There's no doubt that Floyd Mayweather's intriguing clash with Saul Alvarez takes centre stage in the world of boxing this weekend.
And quite rightly so.
The 36-year-old Mayweather (44-0 26KOs) is regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound fighter the sport has ever produced and every clash he is involved in can justifiably be tagged a 'superfight'.
But Saturday's showdown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas really is an epic with well-schooled Alvarez, just 23, putting his own unbeaten record of 42-0-1 (30KOs) on the line.
It's experience against youth; speed against power; guile against brawn and really is a hard one to confidently pick a winner out of.
My gut instinct is that the fight has come just a shade early in Alvarez's career, even though he has packed so much into his 23 years so far.
Had it been made even 12 months further down the line, then I really do think you could have made a very strong case for him beating what would have been arguably a Mayweather past his best.
But Mayweather has not earned a 42-0 record for nothing.
He may not be the most concussive puncher in the paid ranks, but his skills and ability to adapt to any situation or style thrown at him makes him a huge favourite with the layers and the best you'll get on him is 2/5 (bwin).
Despite his impressive record, Alvarez is as much as 27/10 with sportingbet to pull off what would be a shock win.
The fight has been made at a catchweight of 152lbs with Alvarez putting his WBC and WBA light-middleweight titles on the line.
Alvarez will literally be bigger than the American and also stronger, so I can understand why some punters may be tempted to have a small stake on him.
But for me Mayweather's all-round game is just too strong - he's awkward to hit due to a watertight defence, his handspeed is awesome and although he does not have dynamite in his fists he can still seriously hurt his opponents.
I see Mayweather winning by a big points margin, but unfortunately so do the layers and the best you'll get on that is 13/20 with sportingbet so my advice is to simply watch what should be a fanstastic 12 rounds of top-class action.
On the undercard, Londoner Ashley Theophane opens the pay-per-view portion of the bill when he faces Mexico's Pablo Cano.
The 33-year-old (33-5-1 10KOs) has been sparring with Mayweather in the build-up after signing with the American's own promotion company.
A former British light-welterweight champion, Theophane has some notable scalps on his record including Delvin Rodriguez and DeMarcus Corley - plus he dropped a split decision to current world champion Danny Garcia, who knocked out former world champion Amir Khan.
He faces a tricky assignment against 23-year-old Cano who has 20 knockouts from his 26 victories in the paid ranks.
But Theophane has set his sights on winning a world title and knows he has been handed the perfect stage to launch his bid.
"Cano is a good fighter - but I've beaten better," he said.
"Yes, he's been in with some big names (Erik Morales, Paulie Malignaggi and Shane Mosley) but he's lost to those big names.
"Although he gave a good account of himself he still came up short so it's a fight I do expect to win.
"I've been preparing with the best in the world so I'm full of confidence and raring to go. I signed with Mayweather Promotions to become a world champion and I need to prove now that I'm good enough. If I don't win this fight then the dream is over - it's as simple as that."
Theophane is experienced, motivated, super confident and, after sparring with Mayweather, has to be in the shape of his life so I'm going to have a wager on him beating the dangerous Cano with 2/1 available with Sky Bet.