By Frank Warren
Boxing fans who keep an eye on events beyond these shores will be fully aware that the genuine marquee fight this weekend takes place some 3,500-odd miles away from Greenwich.
The Barclays Center in New York plays host to a coming together of welterweight champions, with Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman putting their world championship belts and unbeaten records on the line to establish who is the current king of the 147-pounders.
Of course, some would dispute such a label being attached to the winner, bearing in mind that Kell Brook is scheduled for a tasty mandatory defence of his IBF title against the world champ in waiting Errol Spence jnr, while Manny Pacquiao is hoping to get it on with Amir Khan for his WBO strap.
The truth of the matter is that Brook has only engaged in one genuine world level contest at welterweight – when he won his belt against Shawn Porter back in 2014 – and Pacquiao, let’s be honest, has seen better days, as fine a champion as he is.
Garcia and Thurman, both 28, are both now in or reaching their pomp and between them have an unblemished record spanning 60 fights.
Neither of them have padded out their recent resumes with soft touches, although the CV of Garcia is the stronger of the two, albeit with many of his conquests having been at light welterweight.
You know you have got a top fight on your hands when nobody, outside of the respective camps, is making any bold predictions. No-one is confidently calling the winner, although the bookies seem to be slightly favouring Thurman.
Showcasing 50-50 fights, the best taking on the best, is what we aim to do on BoxNation and I am delighted we are able to bring this blockbuster to the UK fans, live and exclusive on the Channel of Champions.
I thought to myself the other day that this fight should be compulsory viewing for our own Bradley Skeete, so he can see the level he needs to get to in order to make his own assault on the top end of the welterweight division.
Someone must have read my mind because I then heard that Bradley is being drafted in by BoxNation for analyst duties on the night.
It will be interesting to hear his take on a fight that I suspect will remain too close to call even as the final bell is looming.
I’m not particularly a betting man myself, but if I was to be putting down a friendly fiver with someone, my pick would be Garcia.
Coverage on BoxNation begins from New York at 2am on Sunday morning
While punters are probably hedging their bets over the outcome of Garcia v Thurman, the bookies have certainly nailed their colours to the mast in pricing up the match between David Haye and Tony Bellew at London’s 02 Arena this weekend.
Taking a glance at one major betting site, they have Haye pretty much nailed on at 1/6, the sort of price that tempts the high rollers into buying money.
As it goes, there appears to be a few racing certainties on the card, if the odds are anything to go by. In all bar one of the undercard fights listed, the home fighter is heavily odds on to the tune of 1/20, 1/100, 1/100 and 1/7. The narrowest price for a blue corner boxer is 4/9.
If you concur with the thinking that the bookies are rarely wrong – and you’ve got a few quid spare to make it worthwhile – then there is a sure-fire accumulator there.
Put on a few bob and you might even get enough back to cover the cost of the pay-per-view!
I know from experience, however, that boxing doesn’t always run true to form – and obviously I fancy Derry Mathews to bust a few coupons on the night – but I do believe the odds on David Haye are a true reflection of how this fight is likely to pan out.
There has been a lot of noise made this week, some of it not to everyone’s taste, but as far as Haye is concerned, all he is interested in at the moment is drumming up the pay-per-view and that is what he is doing.
The Board of Control will huff and puff about it, but if they really wanted to do something, they could. They won’t though.
Without all the sniping and snarling this fight wouldn’t really capture the imagination of the public. If these two were to play nicely, would people be parting with their hard-earned to watch it?
Unless Bellew really catches him, I can’t see what chance he has got and that is also assuming that he can transfer his power up a weight division.
Bellew is a screamer and shouter who likes to bully and intimidate his opponents, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts when someone like Haye really puts it back on him.
Bellew appears to be basing his hopes on the fact that Haye hasn’t been tested for a number of years or that his party lifestyle will catch up with him.
Haye is simply a showman who knows how to play the game.
I have seen him a couple of times in the gym and he is fit and firing. Forget about his Miami vices, he will have done what he needs to do to be in top condition.
Haye is no mug and the big thing about him is, if he fancies the job, his opponent has got a big problem.
It is not like he is shopworn either or has had the stuffing knocked out of him in any of his fights. He has got enough left in the tank to cater for the job in hand.
For me, there is only one winner, who will then be ready and more than able to resume heavy duties.
Coming up next in Hubbard’s Cupboard: Time the Board showed some control