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The first big boxing action of 2020 takes place this weekend as a number of potentially explosive fights take place in America. With a number of big fights already signed so far this year, optimism is high amongst boxing supporters and the sport has an opportunity to get off to a hard-hitting start with a number of decent fights on Saturday night.
Standout fight this weekend sees Jesse Hart and Joe Smith Jr collide in an intriguing light-heavyweight clash where both fighters are known for being accompanied by excitement. Hart, a proud Philadelphian, was touted for a long time before stepping up twice against Gilberto Ramirez for WBO honours, and despite tasting defeat both times, Hart proved that he certainly had the skill an desire to operate at the highest level.
In Smith Jr, Hart is meeting a man with dynamite in his fists and who also ended the career of Hart’s hero, Bernard Hopkins, back in 2016. Since then, Smith Jr has failed to build on the Hopkins upset and has lost two of his three fights since after being widely outpointed by Sullivan Barrera and Dmitry Bivol. Hart has since registered a win over Barrera and he starts this fight favourite with SportPesa at 1/5, but the 4/9 price for him to win on points looks the smart bet as he wins on the cards against a tough opponent who hasn’t been stopped since 2010.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Jaime Munguia makes his 160lbs debut against Spike O’Sullivan and it could be an early night for the talented Mexican. Munguia exploded onto the scene back in 2018 when he destroyed Sadam Ali in four rounds for the WBO light-middleweight belt, and since then he’s managed to preserve his undefeated record beating Liam Smith and Dennis Hogan along the way.
Against O’Sullivan, Munguia is 1/50 to win, which suggests just how big the Irishman’s task is, but looking at O’Sullivan’s losses then a pattern begins to emerge. Stopped by Chris Eubank Jr in 2015, O’Sullivan rebuilt his ledger until he was ready to return to the highest echelons, but David Lemieux was waiting for him and he blasted O’Sullivan in one round. Munguia can get the job done early on Saturday and SportPesa’s price of 7/4 for the first three rounds is very attractive.