Boxing expert Chris Oliver looks ahead to the weekend's action, featuring a rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez in the early hours on Sunday.
Recommended bets: Saturday boxing
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Almost a year to the day since their controversial draw, Gennady Golovkin and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez return to Las Vegas in a bid to finally settle their score on Saturday night.
The pair battled it out for middleweight supremacy in most eagerly anticipated bout of 2017 and while it may not have been the barn burner everyone had anticipated, the fans were treated to a gripping 12 rounds of world-class skills and technical ability.
At the final bell most thought Golovkin had done enough to get the nod in a close fight, a view echoed by Dave Moretti's 115-1113 card, and Don Trella calling it even was understandable, but Adalaide Byrd's 118-110 in favour of Canelo was nothing short of ridiculous.
The rematch that had to happen almost didn't, with Canelo twice testing positive for Clenbuterol and being banned for six months, but finally it's here and Golovkin starts a slight favourite. The unbeaten Kazak is a best price of 4/6 with the Mexican available at 6/4, suggesting another close one beckons.
The first bout saw Canelo start fast and finish well, with Golovkin dominating in the middle of the fight, and a case can be made for either man making the necessary adjustments to get the win.
We'll start with the favourite, who will be fully aware that he would have got the nod - on two cards anyway - if he'd have been quicker out of the blocks and should be ready to go from the first bell.
Canelo v GGG: Fight details
- Date: Saturday September 15
- TV Channel: BT Sport Box Office (£16.95, scroll down for booking details)
- TV Start time: Undercard from 11.30pm, main event approx 4am
- Radio coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live
- Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
- Sky Bet odds: GGG 4/6, Canelo 6/4, Draw 20/1 (Click here to bet)
His constant stalking put immense physical and mental pressure on Canelo, whose retreat resembled flight at times as Golovkin's constant advances forced him to be very defensive through the middle rounds. It will be more of the same from ‘GGG’, who won't be deterred and even Canelo's very best shots barely registered a reaction first time around.
Golovkin also has the advantage of having fought since their last meeting, as he reminded us all of his trademark power with a two-round demolition of Vanes Martirosyan in May, so there will be no ring-rust on his part.
He is bidding for a record 21 middleweight title defences, but that tells you he has been on the go for a long time and Mexican fans will be optimistic youth can prevail here as they point how strongly their man finished the last fight. This may have been him realising he needed to up his game as he was behind, but it could have been down to Golovkin tiring in the later rounds and those who buy into the latter theory will fancy this to be more apparent a year down the line. Not just in terms of stamina, but also in speed with Canelo looking to counter the constant advances of the 36-year-old with his quicker hands.
While the older man was more active in the first fight, Canelo produced the eye-catching moments, albeit it in spurts, and he might feel he can stand his ground a little more this time having seemingly taken the power of Golovkin pretty well.
With no knockdowns or anybody seriously hurt last September, this looks to be going to the judges again and the 4/7 about it going the distance seems fair. Let's hope we have a decisive winner this time, but don't hold your breath. Both men can be backed at 14/1 for a split decision win and those odds warrant a small interest whichever side you are on.
What tips it in favour of Golovkin, for me, is that there are too many questions over Canelo this time around. How will he be, physically and mentally, following the positive tests? Now very much the villain of the piece, he will be under immense pressure to prove he had no 'extra help' first time around and everybody outside of Mexico will be hoping justice is served by the long-standing champion getting the victory most believe he deserved first time around. Also, will the year off mean Canelo needs a few rounds to get going?
Golovkin clearly felt he won the first instalment with a bit to spare, but you didn't quite get the impression Canelo felt the same, and the favourite will be very confident he can repeat that 'win' here.
With a quicker start, Golovkin can gets winning rounds in the book earlier this time and open up a big enough lead to negate any late charge from the younger man. A Golovkin points victory makes appeal at 9/4 in what would be a very popular outcome, not just for those financially involved.
There could be fireworks on the undercard as Ireland's Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan (7/4) takes on David Lemiuex (4/7), with the winner likely to get a lucrative shot at Canelo next time out.
In a bout that could go either way, both men carry serious power and will be looking detonate those bombs from the off.
This could go early and the 5/6 available (Ladbrokes) about under 8.5 rounds looks a very solid bet.
Posted at 1340 BST on 14/09/18.