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BLH Boxing Betting Preview 2016, Part 2: Canelo, Golovkin, Pacquiao, and more

How is 2016 looking for boxing bettors? There are big fights signed, and more will come. Tom Craze takes a look ahead.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a relatively fallow month, but boxing finally begins to emerge from the depths of winter this weekend, kick-starting a solid-looking formative schedule for 2016.

Following our look ahead at the heavyweight betting landscape this year, here's a glance at how just some of the other pieces are falling into place over the coming 12 months.

The announcement that got everyone talking, of course, was the bolt-from-the-blue news that Canelo Alvarez will be making the first defence of his lineal middleweight crown against, well, a welterweight. From this viewpoint, though, Canelo-Khan isn't quite the freak show that many proclaimed it to be, at least in their initial reactions. We all know what the big question mark over this fight is though, and so it's hardly surprising that Canelo is the firm -275 favourite on May 7, with a general 1/3 to be found across the industry. Khan's as unfancied as +340 and +370 with some books, but +275 is more readily available.

Should that fight go the way the layers expect, though, it's what happens next that will be of more interest to most, with Canelo-Golovkin already agreed, should both men get through their next fights. It's the Kazakh - already the de facto middleweight ruler according to many - who's strongly fancied to win that one, with quotes of -400 at the bookmakers' most generous, and -600 at their most cautious. Golovkin is odds-on to win by stoppage, the same way he wins most of his fights, at -162, with Alvarez a +350 underdog to prevail by any means. Before that, Golovkin takes on Dominic Wade on April 23 as a -4000 jolly (Wade +2800) in a contest only the most ardent of GGG fans will be looking forward to.

Elsewhere at 160lb, there are options for Billy Joe Saunders after claiming the WBO strap from Andy Lee in December. It won't be next for Saunders, but the prospect of a grudge rematch with Chris Eubank Jr isn't likely to go away any time soon. As with the first meeting - a split-decision nod for Saunders - the oddsmakers can't split them, with quotes of -110 the pair available, but minor disagreements across the board. Eubank can be backed at even money at best, -150 at worst, with the prices on Saunders ranging from -137 up to -125. First though, Eubank Jr has the hurdle of a British title scrap with current titlist Nick Blackwell to clear. It's a test he should pass, but it should be fun for as long as it lasts. Blackwell is +400 to retain, with Eubank Jr a general -600.

Also in the UK, one of the year's most meaningful fights takes place this Saturday down at super-bantamweight. Carl Frampton vs Scott Quigg is a bout - and a genuine rivalry - over four years in the making, and there's a feeling it'll deliver. The quibbles over the provenance of Quigg's WBA bauble are legitimate, but it's a unification in name. We'll have the usual full breakdown on this later in the week, but it's Frampton who's favoured by most, with prices of around -162 (Quigg +150) reflecting that perceived edge in what should otherwise be a highly competitive match-up.

The man that the winner of Frampton-Quigg should, by right, be jostling to fight is Guillermo Rigondeaux. Don't hold your breath on that one. In the meantime, the Cuban has found an unlikely place on an undercard in Liverpool, England, against James ‘Jazza' Dickens, a fight even Dickens - British champion though he is - would have been unlikely to have dreamed about at the start of the year. Rigondeaux, predictably, is the lopsided favourite - he's -2500 at market-best (Dickens +1400), but it's the -5000 that most firms have settled on.

For the dreamers, a possible catchweight clash with fellow Olympian Vasyl Lomachenko still lingers somewhere on the horizon, a bout for which the oft-used tag of ‘chess match' may never have felt more apt. Fancy splitting the two? No, neither do the bookies - but they have, at least, had a go. At least five firms who've priced it up have it dead even, at -110 the pair. That's a coin toss, in betting terms. Bookmaker BetVictor are the only ones willing to take a stance that's anything off-centre, going -137 on the Cuban, and +110 on Lomachenko.

Still in the realms of fantasy, Roman Gonzalez, consensus pound-for-pound number one, could arguably make no bigger statement than taking on 9-0 wrecking ball Naoya Inoue. The Japanese is one of a handful of names that would make for a wonderful style clash with Gonzalez, but it's a fight unlikely to see the light of day for at the least the foreseeable future. There'd be some contractual minefields to cross, too - Inoue skipped 112lb to take a belt from Omar Narvaez at super-flyweight, so whereabouts they might settle to weigh in remains a question mark. Nonetheless, the layers know they fancy Gonzalez, and he's a -200 (-187 market-best) favourite should that contest ever come to fruition, with Inoue at +162. In the shorter term, the Nicaraguan returns to HBO on April 23 against McWilliams Arroyo, a fight for which he's a -2500 shot.

Up at welterweight, and the postponement of the already-tardy Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter fight means there's a gap in the calendar. When - or perhaps if, this being boxing - that fight gets rescheduled, it's Thurman who's the established -187 favourite, but there's not a huge amount to separate the two, with Porter at +160.

A fight that looks more likely to take place is Errol Spence Jr vs Chris Algieri, which has been slated for April 16. While it's a fight that's likely to play out as an entertaining enough spectacle, the oddsmakers don't make it close. Spence Jr is the landslide -1400 favourite there, with Algieri at +800. A gauge of just how much is expected of the young Texan can be found with UK firm Sky Bet, who quote him at just +125 to win an alphabet world title by 1st January 2017.

The week prior, Manny Pacquiao takes on Timothy Bradley in a needless, but eminently watchable third instalment. Given how the previous two fights played out, it's little wonder he's a clear -275 favourite, but a rejuvenated Bradley (+225), under the tutelage of Teddy Atlas, might give the Filipino something different to work with in what's mooted as his final fight. Should he decide to stay active, many would speculate it'd be to campaign for another unnecessary rematch, this time against Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao's a +300 outsider if that money-grab came into being, with Mayweather sitting at -400.

Follow Tom Craze on Twitter @Box_Bet

If you've got a question about how a fight might look in the bookmakers' eyes, or have another boxing query that's playing on your mind, tweet Tom with the hashtag #TweetScience, and we'll get it up on the site in the next Twitter Q&A.

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