Fight night tips: The best bets as Haye and Bellew wage war at the O2
These are the bankers to back in what should be a knockout-filled night of boxing...
David Haye v Tony Bellew
With countless insults and even the occasional punch exchanged in the build up to this fight, everyone is expecting a slugfest at the O2 on Saturday night.
On this occasion, the action in the ring might actually live up to the pre-fight hype.
At his peak, Haye was one of the biggest punchers in boxing, while Bellew also has a decent knockout record of 18 in 28 victories.
No matter how cagily the bout begins, these two will soon start swinging. At , under 5.5 total rounds is a relatively safe bet.
Haye, the favourite, is the most accomplished fighter Bellew has ever faced.
He is bigger, more powerful and perhaps even faster than the vast majority of the world’s best cruiserweights.
The only doubt at this point is his stamina at the age of 36, but Bellew’s tendency to be caught by big punches means that question will probably not even need answering.
The Liverpudlian has been knocked down seven times in his career, and if Haye catches him on this chin just once, a knockout victory ( ) seems inevitable.
Ohara Davies v Derry Mathews
In another grudge match, WBC Silver champion Davies can earn the biggest victory of his career against former interim world titlist Mathews.
Mathews – a seasoned fighter who once held the WBA belt and has beaten Anthony Crolla – is a clear step up in competition for the 24-year-old.
The Liverpudlian looked well past his best in a fourth-round stoppage defeat to Luke Campbell last time out, though, and Davies is just as dangerous an opponent as the Olympic gold medallist was.
He has the speed and power to overwhelm Mathews, and is rightfully the favourite.
With 11 knockout wins to date, Davies has a knack of getting his opponents out of the ring early.
And given that Mathews has been stopped eight times in his career, a win for the younger fighter within the distance at is a good bet.
Sam Eggington v Paulie Malignaggi
Perhaps the most intriguing fight of the night is this clash between welterweight prospect Eggington and Malignaggi – the 36-year-old who has left the commentary booth for his first fight in 16 months.
Malignaggi is a classy technician with vast experience in big fights, having won world titles at two different weights earlier in his career.
The American has always had one glaring weakness, though: his lack of power.
That will be a real problem for him against Eggington, who moves forward relentlessly and took some tremendous shots on the chin in his last fight – an eighth-round stoppage win over Frankie Gavin.
Malignaggi has only lost to great fighters, and only Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia have knocked him out.
Eggington, as promising as he is, is a few levels below that group.
But considering Malignaggi’s age and recent inactivity, it is unlikely he can do enough to beat the Birmingham-born prospect.
For that reason, a decision victory for the 23-year-old – priced at – is the likeliest outcome.
Lee Selby v Andoni Gago
When Selby’s IBF world featherweight title defence against Jonathan Barros was called off, a tune-up fight was always likely to be scheduled for the champion.
Up has stepped Gago – a 31-year-old with 16 wins, two defeats and two draws in his career to date.
That Selby is a favourite illustrates just what a mismatch this is.
The Welsh Mayweather has not lost a fight since 2009, and has beaten far better opponents than the journeyman he faces on Saturday night.
With only eight knockout wins, Selby is hardly a big puncher.
He will almost certainly take fewer than 12 rounds to end this bout, though, such is the gap in quality between the two featherweights.
At , a Selby stoppage win just has to be backed.