This holiday season has several very enticing opportunities to make money by picking the underdog.  Over the next few months, I will be sharing some of my thoughts on these bouts.  Today, we start with the November 6 bout between Juan Manuel Lopez and Rafael Marquez. 

As of this writing, Marquez is a +300 underdog.  I see this as a pure “styles make fights” pick.  In boxing, we typically see the superior boxer beat the stronger puncher.  For some recent examples, see Bernard Hopkins vs. Kelly Pavlik or Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley.  For some historical examples, see Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman, James Braddock vs. Max Baer, or Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns.  In some of these “boxer vs. puncher” scenarios, such as the Hopkins vs. Pavlik bout mentioned above, the public is wowed by the puncher’s flashy stoppages and the bookies adjust their odds accordingly.  These are the perfect opportunities to profit.

Though not always the case in the examples mentioned above, these puncher-type fighters tend to be fairly one dimensional and are often exposed by boxer-type fighters.  As you’ve probably figured out, based on this stylistic clash, I am going to put my neck out there and predict a Marquez victory.  Big punchers have a tendency to telegraph their punches and based on film I have watched of Lopez, he is no exception.  Skilled counterpunchers like Marquez thrive on these tendencies.  In these situations, the counterpuncher doesn’t even need to anticipate his opponent’s punches, because the opponent’s body is already giving away his intentions.

Most boxing gurus would tell you that the weapon of choice against a southpaw is the straight-right hand.  Marquez has a fantastic straight-right which will be compounded by the fact that Lopez is not very adept at defending against it.  I’d encourage readers to watch Lopez’s bout against Rogers Mtagwa.  You will see that Mtagwa, whose skills are rudimentary, is able to land the straight right with more ease than Lopez fans should be comfortable with.

If you’re worried about Lopez landing a lucky shot, I would put a safety bet on Lopez to win by KO.  I don’t see him taking a decision.

That won’t be how I’ll play it however.  I’m going to put my money on Marquez to win and maybe even add a kicker bet on Marquez to win by KO.

Pick confidence level: 65%

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