Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly co-headline Saturday's live Sky show at the Echo Arena, Liverpool. Whilst the card may initially look impressive, a closer look tells us that it's essentially some of Matchroom's big names in glorified sparring sessions.
People may think that's a harsh assessment, or maybe even insulting to some of the opponents lined up for the 'home' boxers, it isn't though, they're all crap or past it, or even both in some cases. As regular readers are aware, I'm not shy of giving a forthright opinion – and this card is complete and utter balls, take my word for it, there's not a competitive fight on the bill.
Don't believe what Sky and Matchroom (and some so-called experts) say, they're just selling the card, which is their job of course, but it doesn't make it any more palatable for the knowledgeable fans, which you clearly are if you're a regular at BLH.
Now I've cleared up any doubts you may have had about the standard of this card, I'll proceed with some very short opinions and predictions on the fights:
Rocky Fielding v Noe Gonzalez Alcoba: I'll start with this fight as it's the most competitive on the card. Alcoba can hit a bit but is 35 years old now and is coming off a bad knockout loss against George Groves. He's not fought since the Groves defeat 14 months ago and doesn't look to be in great shape. Fielding has improved a lot over the past couple of years and should have too much for Alcoba, most likely stopping Uruguayan late on.
Tony Bellew v Julio Cesar Dos Santos: I think Bellew is much better suited to cruiserweight than he was at light-heavy. He looks bigger, stronger and seems to have regained some of the knockout power that he had as an amateur. Dos Santos won't put up much resistance. I've only seen him the once but that was enough to gauge what level he's at, and it's not very high. Basic would be a compliment, he's a case of plod, swing, plod, swing, foul, repeat ad nauseum. Bellew should be able to find the Brazilian’s chin an easy target and will surely land hard enough and often enough to get an easy stoppage victory.
Nathan Cleverly v Alejandro Emilion Valori: Valori is crude, doesn't take a shot too well and is fighting outside of Argentina for the first time. Cleverly is rebuilding so perhaps we can let him off for taking this fight, but I don't believe a knockout victory here will be the confidence booster Matchroom believe it will be. Cleverly, despite his lack of knockout power should get the job done inside six one-sided rounds.
Callum Smith v Vladine Biosse: Biosse is a trier but is a few levels below Smith. He's best known for losing to J'leon Love earlier this year when he was stopped in the tenth round. Smith will be looking to better that, which he surely will do.
Anthony Joshua v Matt Skelton: It's nice to see the elderly have a day out away from the nursing home, I'd suggest Blackpool or Great Yarmouth though, not a boxing ring. The only thing that will be visible on Saturday night that's older than Skelton is the moon, and Skelton can probably remember when the moon was first formed. Joshua will do a similar job to what David Price did on Skelton, a two round blast out.
Stephen Smith v Pedro Navarrete: Navarette has lost eight of his last ten bouts. Enough said.
Luke Campbell v Craig Woodruff: It's nice to see Campbell back after his brief hiatus. I wouldn't put money on the bout going the full six rounds. Woodruff won't fall over but he won't be able to cope with Campbell's speed, accuracy and punch variation.
Others: The unbeaten Anthony Ogogo, Gamal Yafai, John Quigley and Tommy Martin also feature in bouts they should all win at a canter.