With two packed British cards take place on Saturday night, boxing fans are able to choose from a Prizefighter bill in Blackpool, or an excellent Lightweight main event in Wolverhampton.
Rose vs Jones and the Middleweight Prizefighters, Saturday 7.00pm, Sky Sports 1
The Prizefighter competition is now entering its seventh year, and despite the criticism often received from boxing purists, more often than not produces entertainment.
Many careers have been established from winning Prizefighter, from Martin Rogan to Martin Murray, while Audley Harrison enjoyed two career renaissances from his brace of victories.
This time around, the Middleweights are in action, with five of the eight participants currently undefeated. The bookies favourite is Ireland’s Luke Keeler at 2/1, who is 7-0 with five stoppage wins. He takes on the 8-1 Luke Crowcroft in the quarter-finals, and the 20-year-old is available at 20/1.
Whoever wins that quarter-final will then face the winner of Tom Doran and Craig Cunningham in the semi-finals, and Doran could be an outside bet, although the 11-0 fighter has only competed once since May 2011, so his stamina could be in question across three separate bouts.
Doran is 9/1 to win the trophy, while Cunningham is 10/1, and the 11-0 Birmingham native has the type of patient style that often gels well within this format.
In the other half of the draw, Blackpool’s hometown hero Jack Arnfield puts his 17-0 record on the line, although the majority of his wins have been against mediocre opponents. Despite having not fought since November 2013, he is the second favourite to win the event, and his fans could sway the judges during close fights.
Great boxing rivalries
Great boxing rivalries
1/10 Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier – 1971, 1974 & 1975
Possibly one of the greatest rivalries of all time, not just in boxing but in any sport. These two titans met three times, with Ali taking home the spoils 2-1. The first was known as the ‘Fight of the Century’ in which two undisputed title holders came together, it ended with Frazier winning after 15 rounds via unanimous decision. The final fight was dubbed ‘Thrilla in Manilla’, where Ali retained all three of his heavyweight titles.
2/10 Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling – 1936 & 1938
Among two of boxing’s most historical fights. With Schmeling’s origins of Nazi Germany, these two represented something a little more than just two heavyweight boxers at their peak coming together. Louis was undefeated coming into the first fight while Schmeling already had 60 fights under his belt. The German won it with a 12th round knockout. By the time the pair met again, Louis had won the world Heavyweight title. It only took him one round to knock out Schmeling. Louis’ performances gained him national recognition and became one of America’s first African American heroes.
3/10 Micky Ward v Arturo Gatti – 2002, 2002 & 2003
The first time these two met proved to be The Ring Magazine’s ‘Fight of the Year’. A famous left hook body shot in the ninth brought Gatti to his knees and proved the deciding factor in the judges’ decision. A rematch was agreed immediately with Gatti knocking Ward down in third, however the American managed to finish the fight before losing by decision. The final fight also won The Ring Magazine’s fight of the year, Ward knocked down Gatti in the sixth, but before the referee could count to ten, the bell sounded. Gatti was able to come back and win via unanimous decision.
4/10 Nigel Benn v Chris Eubank – 1990 & 1993
In what was initially a fierce domestic rivalry, became one of world interest between these two British greats. Eubank was originally the challenger and began shouting out for Benn after only 10 fights. After winning his WBO middleweight title, Benn agreed to face Eubank. With each fighter saying they were going to knock the other one out, it was the challenger that actually did. With a technical knockout in the ninth round. The re-match was watched by half a billion people worldwide, with both defending titles it was so even, it ended in a draw.
5/10 Gene Tunney v Jack Dempsey – 1926 & 1927
Fighting twice, these bouts have gone down as two of the most famous in boxing history. Tunney won the first over 10 rounds via unanimous decision. The second is why these two were forever known in boxing history. In the seventh round Dempsey threw a flurry of punches to knock Tunney down for the first time in his career. The referee couldn’t count until Dempsey had reached a neutral corner. He didn’t oblige, buying Tunney valuable time. Tunney managed to rise at a time many say was over ten seconds. This is why the fight is known as the Long Count. Tunney went on to knock down Dempsey in the eighth and win by unanimous decision.
6/10 Manny Pacquiao v Juan Manuel Marquez – 2004, 2008, 2011 & 2012
One of the greatest modern day rivalries which will go on to be imprinted in boxing’s history. Having fought four times to this day, Pacquiao has won two, Marquez one and the other being a draw. Marquez winning the most recent with a sixth round knockout, handing the Pac-Man back to back defeats. The Ring Magazine awarded it not only ‘Fight of the Year’ but also ‘Knockout of the Year’.
7/10 Ken Norton v Muhammad Ali - 1973, 1973 & 1976
Ali’s second defeat came to the man known as ‘The Black Hercules’. In what was their first fight, Ali was the 5-1 favourite and had won 10 fights since his first lost to Frazier. Norton broke Ali’s jaw in the fight, despite The Greatest carrying on, he lost on a split decision. Six months later, Ali avenged Norton winning also on a split decision and re-gaining his NABF Heavyweight title. The third and final fight was some three years later after Rumble in the Jungle, Ali won via unanimous decision.
8/10 Marco Antonio Barrera v Erik Morales - 2000, 2002 & 2004
Involving two of more modern days most famous Mexican boxers, the Barrera v Morales trilogy is a famous one, spanning over three different classes. Their first fight was in the super-bantamweight division with both holding titles. Morales won the first on a close split decision. Deciding to move up classes, Morales went to Featherweight, where again he met Barrera for a title match. This time Barrera won, in what was Morales’ first ever career defeat. The third and final time they met was in the Super-Featherweight division, where again Morales lost and with it his WBC title.
9/10 Riddick Bowe v Evander Holyfield - 1992, 1993 & 1995
These two Heavyweight giants came together three times in a famous blockbuster conquest. In the first fight, Holyfield walked in with Lineal, WBC, WBA & IBF Heavyweight titles having beaten Buster Douglas and George Foreman. Bowe had never tasted defeat and to everyone’s surprise, won via unanimous decision. The re-match went the distance with Holyfield winning on a split decision. This was Bowe’s first and only career defeat. The third, unlike the other two, was ended after eight rounds when Bowe knocked out Holyfield.
10/10 Sugar Ray Leonard v Thomas Hearns – 1981 & 1989
These two first met in a heavyweight clash with both boxers’ welterweight titles on the line. Ray Leonard known for his boxing skill, and Hearns for his vicious punching. The epic battle lasted 14 rounds before Leonard unleashed a series of punches, forcing the ref to stop the fight. The re-match, known as ‘The War’, had both fighters again holding titles, this time in the super-middleweight class. After 12 rounds of back and forth punishment, the fight was scored as a judge’s draw. The two never fought again with Hearns moving to light-heavyweight.
His opening opponent is 11-0 Mick Hill, who has only stopped one fighter during his career. The winner of that bout will meet with either the powerful Cello Renda, who lost in the final of Prizefighter back in 2008 against Martin Murray, or Liam Conroy, who is the underdog in the entire competition.
Also on the bill in Blackpool, former world title challenger Brian Rose has the 30th fight of his career against America’s Carson Jones, who gave Kell Brook a very tough match in 2012 before being dismantled by the Sheffield man a year later. Rose is a fundamentally sound boxer, who has probably reached his level in boxing, and a win against Jones, who has not had an impressive performance since that first Brook fight will tell us very little about his future potential.
Flanagan vs Ormond, Saturday 7.00pm, BoxNation
British lightweight champion Terry Flanagan holds one of the longest undefeated records in this country, having won his first 26 bouts as a professional. The 25-year-old was initially set to face Stephen Ormond earlier late last year, but the bout was rescheduled and now takes place for the WBO European lightweight title.
Dublin’s 17-1 Ormond is a very exciting boxer, and has performed excellently during his past few matches, beating the likes of Derry Matthews, and Adam Dingsdale. Despite a fairly modest 44% stoppage record, he packs power, and Flanagan will have to be wary for all ten rounds of their fight.
Flanagan lacks a name like Matthews on his resume, but because of his attritional style is the favourite with the bookies at 8/15, with Ormond a 2/1 underdog. Considering the stability of both boxers, either man on points would be the sensible bet depending on your favourite.
Also in Wolverhampton, the mercurial 17-0 Jamie Cox returns against Alistair Warren, exciting prospect Joe Costello competes with Sandor Horvath, while undefeated pair Craig Evans and Tommy Langford will also be looking for victory in their matches.Reuse content