Kell Brook vs Frankie Gavin, Saturday night 5.00pm, Sky Box Office
To PPV or not PPV? That is the £16.95 question as Matchroom Boxing present their first major event of the year, and it takes place just under a month after Sky Sports asked fans to part with £19.95 to watch Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao.
Although the bill this weekend at London’s O2 Arena is vastly superior to Matchroom’s last paid presentation which was headlined by Tony Bellew vs Nathan Cleverly, there is still an unhappy feeling for many pugilism punters due to the poor events that have been showcased on Sky Sports so far this year.
There are fights on this PPV which if spread around the schedule would make excellent main events for regular cards, yet in London they are reduced to being held in front of a crowd that will barely have begun to fill up.
If Sky Sports was free-to-view, the concept of paying for big events would be more understandable, but even though three world titles are on the line at the O2 Arena, there is an argument to be made that the added cost does not benefit the consumer, or many of the boxers.
Still though, the card is impressive, and is headlined by an all-British world title bout between the undefeated Kell Brook, and Frankie Gavin.
34-0 in the professional ranks, Brook successfully defended his WBO welterweight title for the first time in March against Jo-Jo Dan, and looks to have recovered completely from the stab wound to his leg which at one point threatened his career.
Gavin made history in 2007 by becoming the first British fighter to win a gold medal at the AIBA World Championships, but despite a 22-1 record, his professional career has rarely been impressive.
Dynamic wins over Denton Vassell and Junior Witter have been bookended by stuttering performances against average opponents, and his lone defeat to Leonard Bundu a year ago was an extremely disappointing result.
Brook is the heavy favourite at 1/8, and will eye a stoppage win after finishing five of his last six opponents, while Gavin’s odds of 8/1 reflect his underdog status.
Those with faith in Gavin may enjoy the 11/8 odds on the fight to go the distance, while Brook to win in rounds 1-4 will tempt many at 9/2.
Kevin Mitchell’s third attempt at a world title will take place against WBC lightweight Champion Jorge Linares who is on a seven fight winning streak.
Mitchell’s career has been defined by two high profile losses to Michael Katsidis and Ricky Burns, but at 30-years-old he is in the best form of his career, and will hope his 40th career victory will be a memorable one.
The bookies can barely split the two fighters, with Linares available at 4/5, and Mitchell at evens. Both carry power and each has suffered stoppage defeats, so the fight to finish under 9.5 rounds at 5/4 is an interesting bet.
Lee Selby is the fourth Brit to battle for a world title in London, with the 20-1 featherweight facing undefeated Russian IBF titleholder Evgeny Gradovich in what should be a tactical affair.
After losing his fifth professional match to Samir Mouneimne, Selby resurrected his career with an excellent run of KO victories in 2012, and specialises in defeating undefeated boxers.
Joel Brunker, Ryan Walsh, Viorel Simion, Corey McConnell and Stephen Smith all lost for the first time to Selby, who will be hoping to add a sixth name to that list in the biggest fight of his life.
Gradovich drew his last match with Jayson Velez last November, and looked shaky against Alexander Miskirtchian before that, which will give Selby even more confidence heading into the bout.
Selby is the favourite at 2/5, but Gradovich is the defending Champion, which makes his 5/2 odds a tantalising proposition.
12-0 Anthony Joshua has won all of his professional fights via knockout, but the calibre of his opposition has been unimpressive.
Joshua’s promoters are heralding Kevin Johnson as his most dangerous opponent to date, but the former world title challenger has lost three of his last four matches, and was dropped by Dereck Chisora in February last year.
Johnson has only won a single fight since 2012, and though he may spoil his way through the early stages of the fight, expect Joshua to finish the American veteran inside five rounds.
Two British title fights also emanate from London, with the vacant middleweight belt on the line between John Ryder and Nick Blackwell, while Scott Cardle and Craig Evans battle for the lightweight strap.
The PPV opens with Dave Ryan and John Wayne Hibbert scrapping for the Commonwealth welterweight gold, and Nathan Cleverly makes his comeback as well.
Jason Cunningham vs Klaas Mboyane, Saturday night 10.00pm, Spike TV
Live boxing makes its debut on Spike TV in the UK, with a Dennis Hobson promoted card from the Magna Center, Rotherham.
14-5-2 bantamweight Jason Cunningham headlines a show filled with local names, and the Sheffield star competes for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental title against South Africa’s Klaas Mboyane.
Burkinshaw has impressed over the past year with clinical wins against Benjamin Smoes and Jason Cunningham, but all five of his previous defeats have come via stoppage.
Mboyane is nicknamed the Iron Man, and has never been finished despite ten defeats, which makes his bout with Burkinshaw likely to last all ten rounds.
Josh Wale meets Dai Davies on the undercard in what should be an all-action contest, while exciting flyweight Waleed Din battles the unbeaten Tibor Nador.Reuse content