As boxing fans, we are always on the lookout for the best upcoming events. June has already been kind to us, but there is more great action coming up this month, and into July.
Obviously, all eyes are going to be on Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Martin Matthysse. (But we’ve heard whispers which talk about wondering whether that clash will actually come off. I guess we will just assume it’s a GO, for now.) Under radar for now, but maybe not rightfully so, is Regis Prograis vs. JJ Velasco. And what about a sleeper pick, in Hanna Gabriel vs. Claressa Shields?
Matthysse vs. Pac-Man
Here we have a fight where both fighters are veterans and legends in their own right. But both Pacquiao and Matthysse are past their prime as fighters. Neither is a spring chicken and Pacquiao at 39, is pushing the conventional ‘age limit’ when it comes to top-tier boxing. He’d disagree with that assessment but we will be seeing for ourselves.
This is going to be an interesting fight. Matthysse, age 35, still has a lot of power left in his punches. I believe at this point he has the stuff to beat Pacquiao. But it seems like he’s lost his hunger. The way the last couple of his fights have ended, the way he lost, it seems like, maybe, he is just waiting on retirement.
Pac-Man stated some months ago that he is the underdog in this fight. But when we check the best online sportsbooks, we see that he is a -175 favorite (1.75 to 1). I agree with this. If there is one thing Pac-Man has still got, it’s fighting spirit and a lot of heart. He hasn’t mentally checked out of this thing yet as Lucas Matthysse might have.
Prediction: Pacquiao by decision
Hanna Gabriels vs. Claressa Shields
I have a feeling that this fight is going to be one to watch. So get your eyes on Showtime boxing on June 22nd. Top sportsbooks have Shields as an overwhelming -4000 favorite (40 to 1) against the Costa Rican fighter. But Hanna Gabriels has a lot of experience so she could test the younger fighter.
That said, Gabriels isn’t the fighter she used to be. She is 35 years old now and slowing down. Her 18-1-1 record shows otherwise, but her last few fights have not been against top contenders — except for her win against the tough Dominican, Oxandia Castillo.
Shields at 23 is much younger. She is known for punching in volume. Her speed and punching volume could and should give the older fighter some trouble. But Shields can’t afford to overlook Gabriels. She has a lot more professional ring time, and she can use her experience to grind Shields down. Ultimately, I think Shields will win by points based on her ability to relentlessly throw punches. That said, I would not at all be surprised if Hanna the Amazon Gabriels found a way to win.
Prediction: Shields by decision
Regis Prograis vs. Juan Jose Velasco
Prograis is a sleeper for making it into the pound for pound top ten by the middle of next year. He is a throwback sort, who wants to put a hurting on his foe. Fans liked that then, and they do now. Velasco has a record that is more gleaming than principally sound.
Prediction: Prograis by nasty KO