Hopkins vs Murat: Fight preview and betting odds

Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

Are any of today's "big" fights going to be competitive? The oddsmakers suspect not, and Tom Craze breaks down the lineup.

In what's unlikely to be a vintage Saturday night for boxing, the formula looks fairly clear: take one modest-looking, and likely overmatched, outsider, and throw them in against an established A-side.

In terms of betting propositions, there's little to get excited about on either side of the Atlantic this weekend - lopsided odds the inevitable result of some uninspiring matchmaking - but, really, how else are you going to pass the time until Monday morning?

Bernard Hopkins vs. Karo Murat

There's a very strong argument indeed that Karo Murat has no real business sharing a ring with Bernard Hopkins. Since being clowned by Nathan Cleverly, Murat has fought four times, winning three (the other being a split-draw with Gabriel Campillo). The opponents he's beaten in this spell have a combined 30 losses between them. That's enough, say the IBF, for mandatory challenger status.

Credit to Hopkins, a predictably heavy -600 favorite here (as short as -1000 elsewhere) for going about defending his title in the right way. It's not Murat's fault, either. But here he is, a +600 outsider in a fight where his only hope is that the 48-year-old man in the opposite corner has aged hideously. It's the same old question, the same doubt, and likely the same old Bernard Hopkins. Having schooled Tavoris Cloud, a younger, faster, stronger fighter - one you'd back to beat Murat every day of the week (the pre-Hopkins version of Cloud, at least) - back in March, it feels like there's only one outcome here.

Every Hopkins win since 2004 has come by way of unanimous decision - when he wins, there's generally little doubt he's done so. In the past decade, he's scored one stoppage. The gulf in class on Saturday night may suggest that a knockout isn't out of the question, but at this stage in Hopkins' career it's an outcome that feels as implausible as a Murat victory.

It's +500 that the self-professed ‘old man' bucks that trend here, and a general -333 that Hopkins emerges with yet another decision. Those looking to side with Hopkins in some form may be more interested in backing the UD at -200, but it's hardly a price that's much to get too excited about considering the risk of a rogue judge picking numbers from a hat and ruining the clean sweep on the scorecards. Murat's available at +1200 and +1400 for the stoppage and the decision respectively, which really just indicates that the layers are as lost as most of us are when working out exactly how he gets the job done here.

Neither man is a stranger to a draw, though, and given Hopkins' uncanny knack of turning fights ugly quickly, some may look past the chasm in actual ability and hope for a messy, difficult-to-score affair at a speculative price (+2800).

Peter Quillin vs. Gabriel Rosado

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(Tom Casino/SHOWTIME)

It's noteworthy that many have pinned hopes on this being the most interesting, most competitive major fight of the weekend, considering that Quillin is a heavier favourite than that found in the main event.

‘Kid Chocolate' is, at the bookies' most generous, a -700 shot here, but there's a general -900 more easily found across firms, with some going as short as -1200.

There's little doubt that Rosado (+600) will have some backers at the price. The Philadelphia man's momentum was halted in fairly gruesome fashion by a relentless Gennady Golovkin, but, prior to that, his wins over Sechew Powell and Jesus Soto Karass were either credible or impressive, likely respectively, and many thought he was robbed last time out against J'Leon Love before the result was changed to a no-contest on account of Love's failed drug test.

In Rosado's six defeats, he's only been stopped twice, but those knockouts, at the hands of Golovkin and Alfredo Angulo, suggest that Rosado struggles against the most heavy-handed. Quillin (21 KOs from 29 wins) can bang, and while there's an argument that his aggressive style is perfect for Rosado, equally the same applies in reverse.

Quillin is both athletically and technically the superior here, and his assertion that ‘nothing [Rosado] does in the ring is going to be good enough' sounds about right, from this viewpoint at least. You'd expect Rosado to match fire with fire - five of his last six wins have come via stoppage, and looking to blast Quillin out early would appear to be his best shot here. Quotes of +1200 on him doing so look slightly too big, but it's only the +800 offered by SkyBet that wavers significantly from the general market price.

Quillin is -162 to record his 22nd stoppage, and there's an fun statistical quirk, for people who like fun statistical quirks: Quillin's last five stoppages have come in the 4th, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th rounds. There's +1200 on him finishing Rosado in the 8th, and +187 to do so anywhere in the second half of the fight.

It feels likely that this one doesn't go the distance, but should it last, there's +225 on a Quillin decision, +1600 on the Rosado equivalent, or +3300 for each man to pick up their first career draw.

Deontay Wilder vs. Nicolai Firtha

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(Tom Casino/SHOWTIME)

Not only is Wilder an enormous, unbackable -3300 favourite here (as short as -4000 elsewhere), but get this: he's a best-priced (ahem) -1200, or a worst-priced -2500 to win by knockout. By knockout.

Firtha's +1400 to pull off the massive upset, but don't go spending your winnings already, you hear?

Kell Brook vs. Vyacheslav Senchenko

Not to be outdone, heading the bill on a fairly miserable-looking Matchroom card in Sheffield, England, is another fight that doesn't figure to be particularly competitive.

Though this is being marketed as some kind of step up for Brook (-700), the reality is that he's in against the exact same kind of opponent he's already dealt with handily. Senchenko (+700) ruined the evening of many an Englishman last November, but he's getting on a bit and, really, is no better a fighter - if even the equal of - than the likes of N'Dou, Jackiewicz, et al, all of whom Brook turned over with largely minimal fuss.

Brook, too, is odds-on to earn a 21st stoppage in his 31st contest (-162) and should this pan out anything like the Malignaggi fight, it's hard to argue that it's not the outcome we'll see here. Brook doesn't necessarily have huge power at welterweight but, unlike Malignaggi, he can punch, and it's hard to see him having much trouble finding the Ukrainian, who's available at +1400 to put another UK favourite down for the count.

There's a best-priced +250 that Brook gets the nod on the cards, with Senchenko at +1800 to do the same - but for what little it's worth you might as well add a zero on the end of that. The draw is +3500, which is nearly twice the price of the Senchenko decision and, essentially, you'd be backing the same thing. Just ask Raymundo Beltran.

Follow Tom Craze on Twitter @Box_Bet

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