Josh Taylor a sure bet to pull off a 12-round decision over Teofimo Lopez in WBO title fight

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 10: Teofimo Lopez is featured against Sandor Martin during their junior welterweight bout at Madison Square Garden on December 10, 2022 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Teofimo Lopez has produced many fireworks in his career. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez were both undisputed champions in the near past, but each enters their fight Saturday for Taylor’s WBO lightweight welterweight championship with a lot to prove. They will meet in the main event of an ESPN televised card on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Taylor is coming off a less than impressive split decision win over Jack Catterall in which he admitted he took Catterall lightly and didn’t train properly. Lopez is coming off a rambling split decision over Sandor Martin and wasn’t exactly the guy who made so much noise by winning the undisputed lightweight title from Vasiliy Lomachenko on October 17, 2020.

Taylor is a -190 favorite, with Lopez at +150 on the buyout. The over-under is 10.5 rounds with the favored over at -225. The sub is at +160. Taylor by KO is +250 and Lopez by KO is +450.

Lopez is a big puncher who struggled to go light. Now that he’s grown to 140 pounds he won’t have such a hard time gaining weight and theoretically this should make him more powerful and therefore more dangerous. A play on him to win by KO at +450 wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. He’s won 13 of his 19 fights by knockout, so he’s clearly a finisher.

Left-handed, Taylor isn’t as physically gifted as Lopez, but he’s a better boxer and has the better corner. And he’s addressed the issues that led to his poor performance against Catterall and says he won’t make that mistake again. It’s easy to see how he struggled against Catterall. After winning the undisputed title by defeating Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas, he returned home to Scotland to fight Catterall, then considered a lightweight.

He felt he had conquered the world, never matched Catterall’s talents, and was caught in the moment celebrating his victory over Ramirez. This added to a poor performance, although he squealed with a controversial victory.

Taylor is the smarter fighter, so I think he’s going to keep Lopez on the end of his jab, slow down the fight if necessary, and force Lopez to make mistakes trying to create something. I’ll put the 190 and take Taylor to win.

I also expect it to be a long fight, so I’ll play the fight that goes all the way. It’s -165, so I’ll bet that and bet it’ll go all the way to 12.

Faces of Jaime Munguia Sergey Derevyanchenko

Jaime Munguia will face one of his best opponents on Saturday when he meets veteran Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Munguia is 41-0 with 33 knockouts but has only feasted on cream puffs.

He’s a -650 favorite to defeat Derevyanchenko, who once would have been a formidable opponent but is fast approaching the end of the line. Derevyanchenko is +425.

Munguia is definitely talented and figures to win the fight. That said, this is where matchmaking could come back to haunt him. He hasn’t been tested for so long that if Derevyanchenko can summon one last good performance, things could get interesting.

I don’t trust Munguia given his level of opposition to be a more than 6-1 favourite, so I’ll pass him. It’s a gamble to take Derevyanchenko given how close he is to the end. But if he succeeds early, he could break Munguia.

I’m going to take a bet and bet half a unit on Derevyanchenko to win at +425. It’s a big bet, but it would be a great reward if he succeeded.

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