Deontay Wilder vs Eric Molina; Nicholas Walters vs Miguel Marriaga - boxing on TV this weekend

It could be one of the most mis-matched world title matches in many years

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The Independent Online

Lara vs Rodriguez, Friday night 2.00am, Spike TV

Four boxing cards will be broadcast on UK TV this weekend, beginning with a WBA light middleweight world title match between Erislandy Lara and Dominican Republic veteran Delvin Rodriguez.

Lara’s entry into professional boxing was treated with much excitement after his famous defection from Cuba, but he has failed to fully ignite in the paid ranks despite a 20-2-2 record.

Victories over the likes of Ishe Smith, Austin Trout and Alfredo Angulo have been tempered with defeats to Saul Alvarez and Paul Williams, plus a draw with Vanes Martirosyan.

He is the defending WBA champion however after outclassing Smith in his last fight, but a boxing style which relies on plenty of movement has failed to make him a big star.

28-7-4 across a 39 fight career, Rodriguez has only won three of his last eight bouts and is very much the underdog in this contest against the 2005 AIBA World Champion.

One of the most exciting boxers in the world features as chief support in Chicago, as Russia’s 8-0 Artur Beterbiev seeks his ninth successive stoppage when he meets 33-year-old American Alexander Johnson.

Haskins vs Iwasa, Saturday night 10.00pm, Channel 5

Bristol’s Lee Haskins is one of Britain’s most underrated boxers, and the 31-year-old competes for the interim IBF bantamweight title on Saturday night against Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa.

Haskins is a former British, Commonwealth and European champion, with notable victories over domestic rivals and world champions Jamie McDonnell and Stuart Hall amongst his greatest accomplishments.

Despite 31 career wins, this will be the first time Haskins has the opportunity to fight for a version of the world title, but Iwasa is a very dangerous opponent and will enter the ring with a 19-1 record.

This match represents the first time Iwasa fights outside of Japan, with every single one of his prior contests emanating from Tokyo.

All three of Haskins’ defeats have come via stoppage, as has the lone loss of Iwasa, so there is value at 2/1 for the fight to finish under ten rounds.

Many boxing tipsters are anticipating a lengthy affair however, as both men have the technical ability to prevent the other from performing to the best of their ability.

The bookies can barely split the two boxers, with Haskins a narrow favourite at 8/11, and Iwasa available at 11/8.

British light heavyweight champion Bob Ajisafe fights for the vacant Commonwealth belt on the undercard against Kenya’s Daniel Wanyonyi, while former British light welterweight titleholder Darren Hamilton returns to the ring in Bristol.

Walters vs Marriaga, Saturday night 2.00am, BoxNation

Jamaican sensation Nicholas Walters makes the fourth defence of his WBA super featherweight title in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night as he meets the similarly undefeated Miguel Marriaga.

25-0 Walters enjoyed an exceptional 2014 after stoppage wins over Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan, and has defeated 11 of his last 12 opponents via stoppage.

Colombia’s 20-0 Marriaga is also extremely powerful for the weight class, with only two of his career rivals able to last until the closing bell.

Walters.jpg
WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters

The calibre of his opponents is nowhere near the quality that Walters has comfortably dispatched, which means the miniscule 1/9 odds of the Jamaican makes perfect sense.

Marriaga is a significant 7/1 underdog, and Walters will want to lay down a marker ahead of a proposed clash later this year with Vasyl Lomachenko.

Another dazzling prospect features on the undercard, as 17-0 Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo meets the 16-0 Ivan Najera.

Wilder vs Molina, Saturday night 1.00am, Sky Sports 1

The last boxing card of the weekend could end up finishing the quickest, with one of the most mis-matched world title matches in many years headlining an event in Alabama.

33-0 Deontay Wilder stopped the first 32 opponents of his career, before boxing smartly against Bermane Stiverne to claim the WBC heavyweight title in January on points.

As a reward for his greatest victory, Wilder has been given the opportunity to defend his title for the first time in front of his home fans in Birmingham against 23-2 Eric Molina.

There are bad opponents, and then there is Molina who was knocked out in the first round of his professional debut against Ashanti Jordan in 2007, and was also stopped within three minutes by Chris Arreola in February 2012.

Wilder punches harder than both of those boxers combined, which makes Molina unlikely to see out the first round for the third time in his career.

Barring Molina becoming infused overnight with the power of George Foreman, the movement of Muhammad Ali and the chin of Oliver McCall, he has zero chance of winning this contest.

Odds of 20/1 are available for the shock of the century, with Wilder unbettable at 1/66. The closest you can find to value is round betting, where 2/1 for a first round stoppage could be a sensible option.

If you believe Wilder may want to give his fans some entertainment before fully pulling the trigger, it is 5/1 he finishes the bout in the third frame.

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