Smith vs O’Maison & Conlan vs Marriaga: Long shot betting options

There’s plenty of action to choose from this weekend. With a little luck, this columnist can return winning ways.

The Longshot

This column rarely gives advice to an underdog, and with good reason; Risk-adverse matchmaking is designed to ensure that the “house” boxer wins. Of course, messing up happens quite often but identifying the right inexperienced boxer to fight against can be very difficult. Today, I will be brave.

The basics of the British ultralight belt war between Dalton Smith and Sam O’Maison, Jordan Thompson takes on Vasil Ducar. Mancunian Thompson is an interesting prospect; he’s a born athlete, played elite level tennis as a junior and made an impressive transition to boxing.

The same attributes that made ‘Troublesome’ successful with racquets and balls played a big part in his success in the ring; namely his 6’6” frame and explosive power. In 13 matches, only two opponents heard the final bell. As a result, Thompson never made it past the fourth round.

At 29, time is not on Thompson’s side. Matchroom has clearly decided to raise the level of resistance their fighters face. It is difficult for newcomers to hit hard like the Manchester-born player, as the power of the punch can hide many limitations. The only way to truly gauge a boxer’s potential is to find an opponent durable enough to withstand the blows.

Vasil Ducar fits that bill. The Czechs showed their toughness on their last visit to these shores, taking Chris Billam-Smith 10 laps gap is expected, in March last year. The current European and Commonwealth cruiser champion, Billam-Smith, possesses a different kind of strength than Thompson; Bournemouth’s men’s punches are clubbing, while ‘Troublesome’ is explosive. It remains to be seen how Ducar handles the issues posed by Thompson, but he has only been stopped once in five defeats, to Mike Perez. Cubans are highly skilled and experienced, which Thompson certainly does not.

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