- The light welterweight division is all the rage on Showtime this week.
- Mikey Garcia threatens Sergey Lipinets’ IBF title, while Regis Prograis and Julius Indongo fight for the interim WBC.
- In the featherweight division, Oscar Valdez makes his fourth title defence vs Scott Quigg.
The light welterweight class was left for dead after Terence Crawford unified the division only to leave for welterweight. Now, the division is alive again! Two titles are up for grabs this week on Showtime. Mikey Garcia eyes Sergey Lipinets’ IBF strap, and the interim WBC title will go to either Regis Prograis or Julius Indongo. Over in California, Oscar Valdez defends his featherweight title against Scott Quigg.
Let’s look for some value picks in the odds at Bovada. (Check out the pros and cons of Bovada by reading our comprehensive sportsbook review.)
Mikey Garcia (-1400) vs Sergey Lipinets (+700)
March 10th, San Antonio, TX (Showtime)
Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) is slowly making his way to welterweight in order to join the likes of Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, and Terence Crawford. But first, he’s stopping off at light welterweight to face IBF champ Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs). A win would make Garcia a four-division champion.
Almost nobody is giving Lipinets any chance of winning. The media has largely dismissed the Kazakhstani champ and the bookmakers have placed him at a long +700. He’s currently undefeated, but that’s only because he’s never faced a serious opponent. He’s a tough fighter and has shown that he can go a full 12 rounds, but he’s still a couple of rungs below the elite-level fighters.
Garcia is undoubtedly one of the top pound-for-pound fighters around. He’s been able to move up in weight with relative ease, maintaining a lot of his power and holding his own against larger opponents. His most recent fight, a scrap against Adrien Broner at 140 lbs, showed just how comfortable he is fighting at junior welterweight. He was unfazed by the bigger, stronger Broner, and out-boxed him to a one-sided victory.
As a natural junior welterweight, Lipinets will have a size advantage over Garcia. But if Broner couldn’t capitalize on his size advantage, then we shouldn’t expect Lipinets to have much luck either. The champ just doesn’t offer anything that Garcia hasn’t seen before.
Light welterweight is something of a ghost town right now, and though he won’t admit it, Garcia is probably already looking past this upcoming fight. At -1400 odds, there isn’t much to be made through picking Garcia outright. However, Garcia by KO, TKO, or DQ is at -125. That’s where the value is.
Pick: Mikey Garcia (-1400)
Regis Prograis (-300) vs Julius Indongo (+225)
March 9th, Deadwood, SD (Showtime)
Former WBA and IBF champ Julius Indongo (22-1, 11 KOs) and American prospect Regis Prograis (20-0, 17 KOs) face for the vacant WBC interim light welterweight title this Friday. Indongo is looking to rebuild after his humiliating loss to Terence Crawford last year, while Prograis looks to make a name for himself.
Indongo was an obscure African champion before he shocked the world by dethroning the then-undefeated Eduard Troyanovsky with a first-round knockout. He followed up that performance with a one-sided decision over Ricky Burns, silencing his detractors. But it all came to an end when he faced Crawford for a division unification fight. Crawford dropped the Namibian champ and toyed with him for two rounds before stopping the show in the third.
Prograis is an untested, undefeated prospect. He’s got great speed. He’s got great movement. He’s got the power. All he needs now is a shot at the title. At 29, he’s a little on the older end for a rising star, and this could be his only chance to break through. Other than his knockout victory over Joel Diaz Jr. last year, his professional career has had few notable accomplishments.
Indongo is being slighted at +225 odds. Sure, Crawford made him look like a rookie. But Crawford is also arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world right now. There’s also the issue of Indongo’s age. At 35, he’s probably past his prime.
We know that Prograis is great at crushing cans. Throw him in the ring against a no-name fighter and he’ll put on a spectacular show, but how will he fare against a former world champion? We just don’t know. Indongo at +225 seems like pretty good value.
Pick: Julius Indongo (+225)
Oscar Valdez (-333) vs Scott Quigg (+250)
March 10th, Carson, CA (ESPN/ESPN Deportes)
Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) puts his WBO featherweight strap on the line for the fourth time this Saturday when he faces the heavy hitting Scott Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KOs).
There’s quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding both fighters. Though Valdez remains undefeated, his last two fights were strange affairs. The Mexican champ is mostly known for his crafty technique, but he turned his last few fights into slug-fests. In his last fight, he was knocked down by Genesis Servania, a fighter who had no business entertaining a world title. Before that, he had some nervous moments against Miguel Marriaga, a tough but unremarkable fighter.
Since taking his first professional loss in early 2016, Quigg hasn’t fought anyone of note. The split decision verdict left a bitter taste in his mouth, and the British boxer has struggled to put the loss behind him. He’s fought and won three fights since, but those were all tune-ups. This upcoming fight is his first real test since the defeat.
Quigg is a heavy puncher and that could pose some real problems for Valdez, especially if he continues to fight recklessly. It doesn’t make sense to me that Valdez is such a heavy favorite. In my eyes, this is a pretty even fight. Quigg at +250 is too good to turn down.
Pick: Scott Quigg (+250)