Deontay Wilder v Luis Ortiz
This is the biggest fight of Wilder’s career, and one he simply has to win if he wants to a unification bout with Anthony Joshua inside the next year.
The WBC world heavyweight champion has won all 39 of his professional fights without ever even being tested, and has gone the distance only once.
In Ortiz, he faces an undefeated 38-year-old with 24 KO wins from 30 professional fights, and a reported 343 amateur victories to his name.
‘King Kong’ has beaten 14 of his last 15 opponents inside the distance – although two of those were ruled no contests after Ortiz failed drug tests – and he’s got the power to test a chin that could be Wilder’s only flaw.
Eric Molina, who was last seen on British TV being battered by Anthony Joshua, rocked Wilder with a left hook in their June 2015 fight, and the American can’t take many shots like that from a slugger like Ortiz.
For that reason, it’s likely that the champion will employ a more cautious approach on Saturday night, using his height and reach advantage to keep the challenger at bay.
Wilder will use his jab and take advantage of the fact that Ortiz has only boxed for two rounds in the past 14 months, looking to open a huge gap on the scorecards before turning up the pressure as his opponent slows down.
A late stoppage win for the 32-year-old is the likeliest outcome, although it’s also worth backing him to win by decision at .
Sergey Kovalev v Igor Mikhalkin
WBO world light-heavyweight champion Kovalev has his eye on a big all-Russian clash with WBA title holder Dmitry Bivol later on this year, but must first get past another of his compatriots at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
Mikhalkin shouldn’t prove too much of an obstacle for Kovalev.
The southpaw is on a 10-fight winning streak since his only loss to Aleksy Kuziemski in 2010, but hasn’t boxed anyone near the calibre of The Ring magazine’s 2014 Fighter of the Year.
Kovalev is arguably the world’s hardest-hitting light-heavyweights, and former pound-for-pound king Andre Ward is still the only fighter to beat the Russian.
A stoppage win for the champion – the 28th of his career – is a safe bet.