Amir Khan and Danny Garcia have traded words in the build-up to Saturday's fight. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
Tom Craze returns to Bad Left Hook today with a look at this weekend's fights from the betting angle, including Amir Khan vs Danny Garcia, David Haye vs Dereck Chisora, and of course, Anthony Mundine vs Bronco McKart.
The circus rolls into East London this Saturday for one of the most controversial fights in British boxing history, as David Haye, the -350 favourite despite a year of inactivity, faces up to long-time bugbear Dereck Chisora, a +275 underdog.
[ Fight Preview: Haye vs Chisora ]
With neither a stranger to stadium fights (Chisora, too, fought in tomorrow's venue on the Mitchell-Katsidis undercard), either man being affected by what should be a tense, incendiary atmosphere seems unlikely, and with no home advantage to speak of - so often a huge factor, particularly in betting terms - the list of intangibles feels shorter than it might have been. The good news is that, inside the ring, this is a matchup in which the two styles should mesh pretty well.
Despite Haye's insistence that Chisora isn't fit to step foot into the same ring as him, their respective records at heavyweight suggest otherwise. Chisora's recent stretch of Fury, Helenius, and Vitali Klitschko isn't all too far off being at least the equal of the Barrett, Valuev, Ruiz and Harrison combination that Haye would have you believe marks him down as one of the most accomplished heavyweights of the past few decade or two, before he laid the mother of all eggs against Wladimir this time last year. It's flimsy evidence, and taking out the Harrison filler - which of course proved nothing and is, indeed, probably less of an achievement than Chisora's combined stoppages of Sexton (twice) and Williams - shows it's a light resumé.
There's no doubt that Chisora is qualified enough. The big difference is that, for all his talk, Haye went out and did what he had to do - impressively or otherwise - against all bar one of the names previously mentioned since stepping up from cruiserweight. Chisora always comes to fight, but he's beginning to get a reputation in some quarters as a guy who may be little more than a game loser. It's a label that might only get reinforced further should he, as expected by most, drop to four losses (on paper) in his last five tomorrow night.
Chisora's likely forward marches don't necessarily mean he'll be as easy to land quality shots on as some might have you believe - his head movement is good when he decides to gives it some thought and, despite his frame, has decent speed for a heavyweight, both of foot and when throwing flurries. He's not particularly a plodding fighter - which, again, is a slightly lazy description from those believing that his weight dictates that he must be - and he has both the chin and the audacity to keep on coming. Haye does his best work from distance, whether that's in defensive mode, as in the Valuev fight, or to set up his favoured long straight right. He's certainly quick enough to have reason to believe that countering is his best option against Chisora - and, despite his bluster, this seems like his most likely decision - but how he deals with constant pressure and having that space consistently closed down is the key to this fight.
On the rare occasion that a fight crosses over into the mainstream here in the UK - and this is the first of those for some time - there's always high expectation, and with that comes money being invested in action. The Haye stoppage has been backed into what's now the most likely outcome according to the odds compilers, and the raft of novelty bets and over/under lines expands as the public eye the frenzied bar brawl and resulting early train ride home.
For the fight to finish inside the very first minute, it's +4000 (Haye), +15000 (Chisora). You wouldn't want to back either but, considering what we know about the relative chins on show, they're two prices that seem more than a little disparate if both come out swinging. The over/unders vary, but even the line at a lowly 2.5 is just +650, which would probably be an expensive way to spend nine minutes. Those confident that the fight will end inside the scheduled ten, one way or another, will be quoted -110.
Haye pledges it'll be an early night - of course he does - and, if you believe him, it's +2200 and +2000 for the stoppage to come in the first or second rounds respectively. By now, however, it's probable we all know better than to trust a word that comes from David Haye's mouth. The quote for the Haye stoppage overall (any round) is +125. It might be worth noting that, with the majority of books, this will include a win by DQ. It's still extremely unlikely, but has to be considered as a possibility with this particular brand of sports-entertainment more than it does most.
Haye's opening odds of -250 looked a little generous, and it's no surprise to have seen that tightened up over the past few weeks. It's a fight that, on paper, he should win handily. He's got the speed advantage, looks in tremendous physical condition, despite the distraction of a short-lived ‘retirement', and one-punch knockout which Chisora hasn't really shown to date. Inactive or otherwise, technically and in terms of pure ability, Haye remains a cut above his opponent here and, indeed, the vast majority of the division.
The struggle with the conundrum of exactly how Chisora can win tomorrow (+650 for the KO, +750 for the points nod), from this viewpoint at least, means that the +275 outright looks a little short to begin to look at backing the upset. Barring any distractions, issues with training (or lack of) or sheer lack of desire, Haye looks closer to a -500 shot. He holds all the aces here. It is, however, highly unlikely to be that straightforward, and if there's anyone who can throw a spanner into the works, it's Dereck Chisora.
The anticipation is that this is going to explosive for as long as it lasts, and where there's two heavy-handed heavyweights who don't like each other all that much, there's always the chance that a fight like this doesn't ever see its second half. But let's play contrarian. The clipping of the fight's duration - down to a ten-rounder from an assumed twelve - would appear to favour Haye, who asserts that this was always the scheduled distance. From a betting angle it merely benefits the pick that was made before such news came out. Chisora has never been down, let alone stopped, and was rarely in real danger of doing so against Klitschko. In the Helenius fight it looked like he could have gone another six without undue worry. If the knockout does come on Saturday night, there's the feeling that it'll probably come about both early and spectacularly. It well might. If it doesn't, look for Haye to fight more cautiously as the fight wears on, but outsmarting Chisora's high output and negating his volume with the quality work, landing the cleaner, heavier, more eye-catching shots en route to a clear decision, a +175 shot.
Danny Garcia (+450), WBC titlist, takes on the newly-restored WBA beltholder Amir Khan (-500) in what should be an entertaining light-welterweight unification scrap. While the legitimacy of the win was later brought into question, the way in which Lamont Peterson went about unsettling and bullying Khan surely displayed the blueprint on beating a fighter who's largely looked formidable at 140. The problem for Garcia, talented though he is, is that this is more of an adjustment for him to make than it would be the guy originally pencilled in for the date. There's a general feeling that this is a fight that's not only a big step up for Garcia, but one that, stylistically, is all wrong for him.
The prices for Khan to win inside the distance - the outcome he has been confidently predicting - vary from slight odds-on at -110, up to +120, the latter of which looks more backable. For Garcia to do the same, +700 is widely available, ranging up to a market-best of +1000. It's never easy to back against an unbeaten fighter though, and Garcia will come into the contest unconcerned with Khan's power - Kendall Holt will likely have provided a sterner test there. With only 14 stoppages from 23 wins, Garcia himself isn't a puncher, but he has enough about him to make Khan think. What he'll be up against tomorrow night, however, is a difference in speed which he hasn't faced. Wins over Campbell, Holt and Morales are all well and good - and pretty credible - but this is a different kind of challenge.
If you look past the pre-fight press conference animosity and boasts of knocking the other guy out, this is a fight that Khan in particular cannot afford to lose. That may play on his mind and a natural caution might be exercised. As the better boxer, he can win this and control the rounds at range, utilising flashy combinations and bodywork to hurt, but ultimately not deter, Garcia, with the decision priced at +175. Making the case for Garcia to get the win on the cards is more difficult, and this is duly reflected in the best-priced +1100.
Finally, to a fight that, in boxing circles, has been the target of more derision than even the main event at Upton Park. Anthony Mundine (43-4, 25 KOs) takes on forty-something Bronco McKart (54-9-1, 32 KOs) on the ambitiously-titled ‘When Worlds Collide' card, in what is bizarrely being tagged as some kind of Mayweather eliminator for the victor.
That man, of course, will almost certainly be Mundine but, if there's one thing my first-born son will be taught, it's that you don't back a ten-on shot when he's been knocked out by somebody called Garth Wood about 18 months prior. That's not to say you touch McKart at +650 either but, at -1000 (and as short as -1400 in places), it'll take a considerable lump on Mundine before you can even think about recouping your PPV fee. What do you mean you're not ordering it?