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McDonnell to cause an upset

Frank Monkhouse | 25 February 2017

Fight fans in for a treat in Hull

Boxing punters have one eye on next weekend’s British blockbuster between David Haye and Tony Bellew at the 02 Arena, but before getting involved in the madness of that one, we have an interesting warm-up on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

Undefeated Gavin McDonnell faces experienced Mexican Rey Vargas for the vacant WBC world super-bantamweight title at Hull’s Ice Arena, and punters can bet on the fight, as well as a hard-hitting undercard, right here at Coral. Click now to have your say.

30-year-old McDonnell brings a record of 16 wins against two draws, with four of those victories coming inside the distance. A tad inexperienced, perhaps, to be stepping up to fight for one of the sport’s major titles, but he has shown plenty of promise since making his professional bow over six-years ago.

Already boasting a clutch of awards, including British, European and WBC Silver titles, the home favourite will duck between the ropes on a five-fight winning run, and was last seen beating Robin Zamora on points over eight rounds in the summer, a bout aimed simply at keeping him half-active. McDonnell has not been seen in title action in almost exactly a year, when beating Jorge Sanchez on points in Manchester, and our traders believe that time away from major fights will hurt him, confident enough to offer the orthodox boxer at 15/8.

The fighter in the home corner doesn’t bring the kind of power that will keep his opponent up at night in the countdown to this one, or the KO force to put him to sleep either, having halted only four of his previous opponents, and that makes our 8/1 on a KO/TKO win understandable, with a points verdict more likely at 7/2.

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Vargas looks unbeatable, on paper

Opponent Rey Vargas arrives in England with a fearsome record of 28 fights – 28 wins – 22 knock-outs. That is truly impressive, and it’s little shock to see traders rush to have him as favourite for the win, with a straw-weight 2/5 on the belt going back to Mexico.

That CV isn’t quite so eye-catching under the microscope however, not if you know what you are looking at. Taking a snapshot of his last 10 fights, the 26-year-old’s opponents have a combined 60 defeats. That would get much worse if we were to go back further, but the chosen section of his career pretty much tells the story. Not quite the all-conquering odds-on jolly now.

All but one of his last 10 have been in his homeland of Mexico too, with the odd one out in America. So, not much of a traveller either. He does have power however, and will be aiming to prove that on Saturday. The even money about him getting McDonnell out of there inside the distance looks tight, while I wouldn’t suggest backing him to win over the judges on foreign soil, even at 3/1.

McDonnell over-priced for the upset

All in all, I think McDonnell has a much better chance than the odds would have you believe, and he has been overpriced on a knee-jerk reaction to a little-known fighter who comes over here seemingly in unstoppable form, without really facing too many contenders.

With that in mind, the 15/8 on a home win looks massive, and will give you the local fighter, backed by a sell-out support, with form of his own, at a nice price. Eddie Hearn isn’t about to spend a fortune getting Vargas over here to beat his prize-asset now, is he?

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