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The Hookmaker: If Horses Fail You This Weekend, There's Always Our Boxing Accumulator

The Hookmaker: If Horses Fail You This Weekend, There's Always Our Boxing Accumulator
By Gavan Casey Updated

It's a mammoth sporting weekend for those of us not averse to the odd saucy punt, with the Grand National at Aintree gearing up to reduce me to a sofa-punching maniac for the sixth year in succession on Saturday evening.

It's Saturday night where I'll be looking to make amends, as a huge night of boxing kicks off in London before finishing in Las Vegas with a suddenly controversial Manny Pacquiao's return to the ring.

Our last two Hookmakers have garnered mixed returns: The first was a grand slam which  yielded a small fortune, but more recently we got seven out of seven winners only for a couple of distance fights where I'd picked stoppages to cost us the lot.

That being said, I'm overwhelmingly confident about this weekend's picks.

If you've read The Hookmaker before, you know the drill. Six fights. Six predictions. Six figures, although that depends entirely on how much money you personally place on it.

We're going with Ladbrokes again this time around, and our sixfold is roughly 10.7/1, so €10 returns €117, and so on. Here we go:

Matthew Macklin to beat Brian Rose by any method: 6/5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gECo3FJfqcQ

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This is the most dangerous bet.

90% of boxing fans and scribes alike see this as the curtain call for the Tipp middleweight's storied career, largely based on Mack The Knife's lacklustre displays since his KO defeat to Jorge Sebastian Heiland at the 3Arena in 2014.

But, as an extremely candid Macklin said this week, he knows his career is on the line, and long before he was stopped by Heiland he struggled to motivate himself for anything other than fights of paramount importance.

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In Rose he faces a solid, high-end domestic fighter, and a once-defeated world title challenger, but if Macklin can perform to even 75% of what he was capable of three or four years ago, he has every chance of out-hustling the Blackpool fighter.

There's a danger, of course, that he's running on empty - even Macklin has admitted to that - but the 33-year-old should be sufficiently inspired to get over the line on Anthony Joshua's undercard on Saturday evening.

Jamie McDonnell to beat Fernando Vargas via KO/TKO or DQ: 2/5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpZNz-BNDtc

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No, not that Fernando Vargas.

This guy is a 38-year-old, late replacement, and he missed weight today. Say no more, even against a light puncher like McDonnell.

Lee Selby to beat Eric Hunter by any method: 1/6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0b8Lq8mxfk

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Should be easy work for the 'Welsh Mayweather' versus his mandatory challenger, though one suspects he'll make it tougher than he needs to. Frankly, his defence is porous, and the potential future Frampton foe might have some hairy moments before pulling away from the tough American.

Selby is 8/11 to win on points, but he's the kind of fighter who - despite not punching very hard - can wear an opponent down through accumulation, as I've found to my cost in the past. Straight-up Selby win, for me.

George Groves to beat David Brophy via KO/TKO or DQ: 1/3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qxp_LOpIgyw

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Ice-cool Scot David Brophy is a decent fighter who has been developing a good fanbase, so it's a curious decision to put him in with Groves at this juncture in his career.

In essence, he's been thrown to the wolves, and Groves will clip him - probably before the turn of the fight.

Anthony Joshua to beat Charles Martin by KO/TKO or DQ: 1/3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4dIcdZAYLg

I've gone on a bit of a rant about this 'world title' fight here, but for the purposes of this accumulator, Joshua all day.

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From what I've seen of Martin, the IBF beltholder is susceptible to either hook and the straight right hand. You'd be concerned for Martin in the sense that there aren't many shots left after that.

I firmly believe he's cashing out by accepting this fight: for the love of Christ, he was champion and he called a prospect out - who even does that? Well, usually someone who knows he'll earn upwards of £2m to get his arse planted on the canvas.

The St. Louis man certainly has a left hand capable of damaging AJ, but you get the impression he'll freeze beneath the London lights on Saturday night.

Manny Pacquiao to beat Timothy Bradley by decision or technical decision: 5/6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY10t72JRmo

It's rare we see such an unwanted third leg to a trilogy, but of course Pacquiao won the first two bouts between the pair - even if two judges saw otherwise in 2012.

I have to admit, I thought Bradley was ahead in the opening half of their 2014 rematch until he quite clearly injured his calf.

But if Bradley had my sympathy, he didn't have the rest of the boxing world's as justice was deemed to be served on the scorecards, correctly righting 2012's abysmal wrong (which, to be honest, was nowhere near the farce HBO and others made it out to be).

All of this being said, I think Pacquiao would have found a way to win the rematch regardless of Bradley's injury-prone legs, and I think he does it again tomorrow night.

Don't let the Mayweather fight fool you; Pacquiao running on half a tank is still capable of superb if slightly slower and less dynamic displays than he produced in the late 2000s.

He has a point to prove, but he also hasn't stopped an opponent since 2009, so don't go near the KO.

So there we have it.

The Hookmaker

  • Matthew Macklin to win
  • Jamie McDonnell to win by KO/TKO or DQ
  • Lee Selby to win
  • George Groves to win by KO/TKO or DQ
  • Anthony Joshua to win by KO/TKO or DQ
  • Manny Pacquiao to win by decision

You should get close to 11/1 on this with all bookies.

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