It’s been almost two years since Jack Catterall (27-1 13KO) lost a controversial decision to then super lightweight king Josh Taylor and ‘El Gato’ should be walking to the ring as the undisputed champion at super lightweight but instead he is battling to rebuild his career and will need a dominating win over future hall of famer Jorge Linares to keep his name relevant on the world scene.
Despite being on the edge of dominance at 140lb, Catterall has quickly become the divisions outcast and is struggling to secure the big fights that he so desperately needs. When he signed with promoter Eddie Hearn after the Taylor controversy, he was on record to say he only wants the elite fighters but they have failed to come to fruition and he now finds himself in with a fading but still dangerous, Jorge Linares.
Skill has never been an issue for Catterall, as a slick southpaw he possesses flawless boxing skills and enough power to gain the respect of any opponent he faces. However, he is now in his 30s and the time is now for Jack Catterall and if he is going to fulfill his potential, the next twelve months are imperative. He is in with a huge name this weekend but Linares is not the fighter he once was and he shouldn’t be competing in this weight class so this is the perfect opportunity for Catterall to make a statement and then fly out to the US later this year and demand he gets an opportunity against the winner of Devin Haney vs Regis Prograis.
As a 55-fight veteran, Jorge Linares is universally respected and his name will be entered into boxing’s hall of fame soon. As a three-weight world champion, he has been competing as a professional since 2002 and has ticked every box in professional boxing but he is no longer the force of old. With a record of (47-8 23KO), there are plenty of miles on the clock for the Venezuelan and he is currently riding a three-fight losing streak.
It would be disrespectful to write off ‘El Nino de Oro’ this weekend because he has proved so many times that he can bounce back when his career seems done but at 38, it seems like a tall ask to climb up to 140lbs and take on arguably the most talented fighter in the division.
As you would expect, Linares travels to the UK as the underdog (6/1) and there are a lot of questions around his durability up at 140lbs, a weight class which has never fought at previously. Jack Catterall isn’t the biggest one punch knockout artist, but he hits hard enough to have an impact on his ageing opponent and a price of (13/10) for the fight to have less than nine completed rounds looks fair.
On the undercard, Peter McGrail continues his professional journey against undefeated Columbian Fran Mendoza. McGrail, who will have a huge following from his home crowd, is being earmarked as future world champion and this is a solid step up in just his eighth professional contest.
McGrail is a product to the Team GB amateur system and is one of the most naturally talented southpaws in the country. He has shown good power, 5 knockouts in 7 fights, so far but as he goes through the levels, he will rely more on the slick boxing skills that helped him represent his country at the Olympic games.
Fran Mendoza is an undefeated prospect in his own right and will arrive in the UK with plenty of ambition and will look to give McGrail the toughest test of his young career. Peter McGrail to win by decision at (6/4) is the play here.
Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez was unfortunately called off earlier this week after the latter suffered a back injury but the show goes on in London as cruiserweight rivals Isaac Chamberlain and Mikael Lawal face off and finally settle their differences.
It would have been easy for promotional outfit Boxxer to cancel the show entirely but fans will be in for a treat as Chamberlain and Lawal put it all on the line for the British cruiserweight title. Chamberlain, who has a record of 15-2, is a fighter that has only lost to world champions (Lawrence Okolie and Chris Billam-Smith) and he will be hoping his experience can help him through against a dangerous and undefeated opponent.
Despite being undefeated at 17-0, Lawal is largely untested and is taking a huge step up in competition this weekend. There is no doubting his ability and punching power but Chamberlain has a huge experience advantage and knows what it takes to win at this level.
This is an intriguing clash and the winner will have a real opportunity to progress towards European and world honours. The build-up has been feisty all week and this is a fight that could potentially steal the show this weekend.
The fight not to go the distance at (6/5) is the play here.
BACK Less than nine completed rounds in Catterall vs Linares 2pts at 13/10 (⭐
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BACK Peter McGrail to win by decision 1pt at 6/4 (⭐
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BACK Chamberlain vs Lawal NOT to go the distance 1pt at 6/5 (⭐
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PROFIT/LOSS (OCT 2023): LOSS -4.24 points