Fight night tips: Picks for Smith v Williams, Taylor and Jacobs
We make our predictions on a huge Saturday of boxing, with big bouts in Newcastle, Edinburgh and New York.
Liam Smith v Liam Williams
Saturday night’s main event in Newcastle is a rematch of a cracking fight back in April, when Smith came away with a win as the bout was stopped in the ninth round when a horrible cut opened up on Williams’ eye.
Smith was given the referee’s technical decision, but the cut actually appeared to be caused by a headbutt and it should have been ruled a no contest.
Williams was ahead on the cards at the time of the stoppage, and looked to be in control of the fight as he picked Smith off with the jab and stayed out of the Liverpool native’s range.
Williams is the favourite on this occasion, and – barring another cut or freak injury – he looks the likely winner.
The 25-year-old was on an eight-fight winning streak before the last bout, and just seemed too big and too skilful for the more limited Smith.
He didn’t have the power to close the fight out last time, though, so a decision win for the Welshman is a sensible bet.
Josh Taylor v Miguel Vazquez
Taylor is one of the UK’s most exciting prospects, with 10 wins out of 10 so far including nine knockouts.
The Scottish light welterweight picked up his most impressive win to date in his last fight, stopping the flashy, hard-hitting Ohara Davies by seventh-round TKO in July.
The WBC Silver champion is on track for a title shot in the near future, and should stay on course by beating Vazquez in Edinburgh.
The Mexican is a former IBF lightweight champion with plenty of experience, but he’s never really been an elite fighter and has lost twice in his last seven fights.
The 30-year-old is a tough and tricky opponent who’s never been stopped in his 44-fight career, and he’ll be difficult to beat for Taylor.
The 26-year-old should eventually manage to pin him down, however, and will do enough damage to force a stoppage in the late rounds.
Daniel Jacobs v Luis Arias
Eddie Hearn’s American takeover should begin in style as Jacobs – the most high-profile American fighter in the Matchroom stable – meets the undefeated Arias.
Jacobs suffered the second defeat of his 34-fight career against Gennady Golovkin in March, but the 30-year-old looked excellent in spells against arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
The Miracle Man stuck with the Kazakh and came on strong in the final three rounds, ultimately losing by a narrow decision that really could have gone his way.
With power and style, few middleweights will be able to beat Jacobs and Arias doesn’t look to be one of them.
He’s never really faced an opponent of Jacobs’ calibre, and lacks the knockout power to really cause any problems with just nine stoppages in 18 fights.
Arias has been signed up to make a potential star look good, and he should do just that in a knockout victory for Jacobs – the 29th of his career.