On Saturday, January 2nd, Golden Boy Promotions in conjunction with Matchroom Boxing will present a night of boxing action from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, live via DAZN.
The main event of the card will see Ryan Garcia take on Luke Campbell for the WBC interim lightweight title. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for the WBC lightweight title currently held by Devin Haney.
This event was originally set to take place on December 5th, in California, but Luke Campbell tested positive for covid and the entire card was rescheduled for January 2nd.
The co-main event of the evening is a WBA junior lightweight title fight as Rene Alvarado defends his belt against Roger Gutierrez. Rene’s twin brother Felix Alvarado will also be on the card as he defends his IBF junior flyweight belt against DeeJay Kriel.
In total, there are seven fight scheduled for this card. Boxing betting sites have released their odds for some of the bouts. Let’s examine the available odds and KO our predictions.
There’s very little betting data for either fighter. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if Felix Alvarado is listed as a large betting favorite for this title fight.
Alvarado is the world champ, has fought tougher competition, and has been a massive favorite in fights over the past few years. Kriel has yet to fight someone the caliber of Alvarado and should be a huge underdog when boxing betting sites release their odds for this world title bout.
Alvarado vs Kriel Preview
DeeJay Kriel has gone undefeated since his first pro fight, which he lost nearly seven years ago. Since then, he’s unbeaten in his last 17 contests.
Kriel last fought 14 months ago and defeated Jesus Aguirre via 1st round KO. It was a keep busy fight for DeeJay who fought nine months prior and won via KO in the 12th round against Carlos Licona.
This will be Kriel’s 4th fight scheduled for 12 rounds. He’s 3-0 in his previous three 12 round fights which includes one KO and two decision outcomes.
Kriel will give up at least an inch in height and reach to Alvarado. Despite what should be a large underdog label, Kriel is confident in his chances this weekend:
“I’m ready to become a two-time, two-division world champion after I beat Felix Alvarado. This is my time to showcase my skills. 2020 was a difficult year for everyone, but I can’t wait to get 2021 started on the right foot. Make sure to catch the action live on DAZN!”
Felix Alvarado has won 17 straight fights as he enters this weekend’s title defense. The Nicaraguan captured the IBF world junior flyweight title in October 2018 by defeating Randy Petalcorin via 7th round TKO. The belt was vacant at the time.
Alvarado would then defend his title in May 2019 against Reiya Konishi and win via unanimous decision. Felix hasn’t fought in 20 months due to the pandemic. It has been a long layoff for the champ and one that he commented on:
“This year has been very difficult for the world. Personally, it’s been difficult because I haven’t been able to make my debut as an official Golden Boy fighter and defend my world title. But this January 2, I’ll have the opportunity to do so alongside my brother. This fills me with a lot of pride and joy. I hope to deliver to all a great fight to start a new year that will without a doubt be better for everyone.”
Alvarado has an 81% knockout rate. In his 35 fights, he’s scored 30 KOs. That’s an impressive number for a light flyweight. I expect Alvarado’s power to be the difference in this bout as well.
I doubt his moneyline will offer any value at all, once it’s released. The value will most likely be with a prop bet like the method of decision.
For this contest, I expect Alvarado to score the TKO/KO victory prior to the championship rounds. He’s the better overall fighter, will have the height and reach advantages, and Kriel just hasn’t fought anyone of this caliber.
Felix Alvarado vs DeeJay Kriel –Alvarado (NA)
Rene Alvarado vs Roger Gutierrez
Rene Alvarado (NA)
Roger Gutierrez (NA)
For this rematch, I expect Rene Alvarado to be the betting favorite. However, I don’t see the odds being as large as his brother Felix. Instead, this fight will probably have closer odds as Alvarado was a big underdog in his last contest. Gutierrez will be the underdog, but how big of one is the question.
Alvarado vs Gutierrez Preview
This world title contest is a rematch as the two men first fought in July 2017 where Alvarado won via 7th round KO as Gutierrez’s corner threw in the towel. Gutierrez was outclassed and also suffered a bad cut over his right eye.
Since his loss to Alvarado, Gutierrez has gone 9-2. He enters this WBA super featherweight title fight having won five straight bouts. His last contest came about 12 months ago where he defeated Andres Tapia via unanimous decision. This will be his first bout since that Tapia fight.
Gutierrez will have a 2.5 inch height advantage, but he’s giving up nearly 3 inches in reach. He has a 71.43% knockout rate as Gutierrez has 20 KOs in his career.
For Alvarado, he’s gone 6-0 since the first fight against Gutierrez and has seen a resurgence in his career. He last fought in November 2019 and defeated Andrew Cancio for the WBA title. He pummeled Cancio so badly that they stopped the fight at the conclusion of the 7th round.
Alvarado avenged his 2015 loss to Cancio and showed that he’s truly upped his fight game since the loss to Gamboa in March 2017. After his loss to Gamboa, Alvarado states that he gained more confidence in himself:
“Gamboa was the hardest person I had ever faced, a man who had been an amateur and professional champion who overshadowed me a little. I had a lot of respect in that fight. I needed to be more aggressive. Maybe if I’d risked the outcome, I would have been someone else. After that fight I started to believe more in myself.”
Alvarado’s confidence has shown since that fight. He looks like a new fighter. I believe his winning streak will continue on Saturday.
Where Alvarado has trended upwards since their first bout, Gutierrez has had a few ups and downs. Alvarado looks like a champ where Gutierrez doesn’t look like he belongs in the same ring right now.
I expect Alvarado to go into this fight and dominate it from the opening bell. The 25 year old Gutierrez has never competed in a 12 round fight before and I highly doubt he will make it to the championship rounds in this contest.
Take Alvarado to win via TKO/KO before the end of the 10th round. Two of Gutierrez’s three losses have come via TKO/KO and I see him picking up his 3rd this Saturday.
Rene Alvarado vs Roger Gutierrez –Alvarado (NA)
Ryan Garcia vs Luke Campbell
Ryan Garcia (-380)
Luke Campbell (+315)
Ryan Garcia enters this main event fight as a sizable betting favorite with odds ranging from -350 to -440. The unbeaten 22 year old has grown accustomed to being the favorite with online betting sites. It’s been several years since Garcia sniffed an even moneyline, let alone be an underdog.
Over the last four years, Luke Campbell has been the betting favorite for most of his fights. This weekend’s contest will mark the third time that Campbell has been an underdog during that span.
The Brit was a large underdog to Vasyl Lomachenko in 2019 with odds as high as +1300. He was also an underdog against Jorge Linares in 2017 in the range of +270 to +330, which is about the same as his current range of +250 to +325 against Garcia.
Garcia vs Campbell Preview
Luke Campbell steps in the ring for the first time since his unanimous decision loss to Vasyl Lomachenko in August 2019. It was the third loss of his pro career. However, all three losses have come via decision as he’s never been stopped in a fight.
Campbell is a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, but he’s failed to capture a world championship in his pro career. His other world title shot came against Jorge Linares and he lost via split decision.
Despite the two losses, Campbell looked good against Lomachenko and Linares. He can admit that Loma did enough to win the fight, but he still feels to this day that he beat Linares by at least two rounds. Some pundits and fans will agree with Luke’s opinion.
Campbell has had some difficulties securing a fight since the loss to Lomachenko. He’s had two fights scrapped along the way and this bout Garcia pushed back. Yet, the 33 year old remains confident and believes that he will start off 2021 in style:
“It’s been a frustrating year with everything but I’ve had two fights planned that have been pulled which was frustrating. What that means is I have been through two training camps this year already and now this one, so I’m in great shape and the fact I’ve not fought since 2019 is not a problem. I’ll be ready for him and I’m ready to start the New Year in style.”
Is This Fight Too Soon for Garcia?
One thing that fans and critics have been saying about Garcia is that this fight against Campbell has come too soon in his career. Some believe he should’ve fought another ranked opponent as he’s not ready for a fighter with Campbell’s pedigree.
When looking over his undefeated career, Ryan Garcia has not fought anyone the level of Campbell. His most impressive win was probably his 1st round KO over Romero Duno. Garcio then followed that up with a 1st round KO win over Francisco Fonseca 11 months ago, which was his last fight.
Yet, despite looking good in the ring, there are still doubters as to how the 22 year old will hold up against Campbell in a 12 round contest.
With all of the doubters and critics buzzing over this fight, Garcia is ready to prove his doubters wrong and make a statement this weekend:
“The only chances he had is if I didn’t work hard, so I guess he has none. They obviously think I’ not 100% focused, but in reality, I’m so focused and I’m ready to prove to everybody I’m here for a long time. That’s the statement I’m making in this fight. I don’t care about looking pretty for this fight, I don’t care about the looks. I don’t care about anything other than hurting Luke Campbell. All I want to do is hurt him. I got into a zone where I don’t care about how I look.”
Who Will Win the Interim WBC Lightweight Title?
Campbell is a live dog in this fight due to his experience. Campbell will come forward and, as a southpaw, that could cause trouble for the Brit. Garcia has a dangerous left hook that could put Campbell to sleep if he hits him cleanly with it.
Campbell needs to take this fight into the deep waters of the 12 rounds. Additionally, if he can take away Garcia’s left hook like Morales did in 2018, Campbell could win this bout.
With that said, I am still going with Garcia to get the victory and earn a mandatory title shot against Haney in 2021. Garcia is going to become the sport’s next big star if he can beat Campbell and then Haney.
Ryan Garcia vs Luke Campbell –Garcia (-380)
Over/Under 9.5 Rounds
Over 9.5 rounds (-115)
Under 9.5 rounds (-105)
The O/U is set for the middle of the 10th round and it really is an interesting point in the fight. Garcia has never gone past the 10th round before. Yet, Campbell has gone the full 12 rounds in three of his last five fights. The longer this fight goes, the more it favors Campbell due to his experience.
For this prop bet, I really like the Over 9.5 rounds (-115) as I just don’t see Campbell getting stopped early in the fight. This has the makings of a 12 round physical game of chess.
Over/Under 9.5 Rounds –Over 9.5 rounds (-115)
Will This Fight Go the Distance?
As stated above, I believe this fight will go Over 9.5 rounds, which means it should definitely go into the championship rounds. From there, you have to ask yourself whether or not these two men will go the distance.
Combined, these two world class athletes have gone the distance in 10 of their 43 pro fights. So, the odds aren’t in favor of it happening this weekend.
However, despite the stats, I do see this bout going the distance. Campbell has never been stopped in a pro fight and he’s gone the distance in three of his last five contests. Garcia has gone the distance in two of his last six bouts.
For either man to win this bout, they’re going to need to go the full 12 rounds and win on points as both appear to be too tough to knockout.
Will This Fight Go the Distance? –Fight goes the distance (+135)
Who Wins Via Decision?
Luke Campbell (+650)
Ryan Garcia (+245)
Since I believe the bout will go the full 12 rounds, it now comes down to which fighter to take via decision. The odds listed above are for each fighter to win via decision. As you can see, they both offer value especially with Garcia who is a -380 betting favorite overall.
I’m taking Garcia to win this fight and I believe he will do so via unanimous decision. In his last two losses, Campbell was knocked down in both fights. I see Campbell getting knocked down two times in this contest, but answering the count both times.
However, the knockdowns will help Garcia pull away on the scorecards and win via unanimous decision.
Who Wins Via Decision? –Ryan Garcia wins via decision (+245)
Will Haney Be Next for Garcia?
The WBC has already come out and declared that Haney has two mandatory title defenses this year. The first title defense would most likely be against the winner of Campbell vs Garcia.
What’s interesting about a Garcia vs Haney fight is that the two fought as amateurs and Haney won. However, the two have also taken to social media and interviews to trash talk each other. Haney made the following comments about Garcia:
“Who has he (Garcia) fought if I was so easy. If I fought so many easy, guys. I was so easy. I must be easy. Come get me, it’d be really felt like that. If that, if that really was how you felt? Then you would just come get me beat me take my belt, get the easy money and you know walk off or what an easy night. If that’s really how you feel.”
For Garcia, he definitely wants the Haney fight along with other champs like Gervonta Davis. Yet, his main goal is to fight these champions while in their primes. The 22 year old wants to beat all of the champs in his weight class while they’re in their primes so that he can be the best lightweight of all-time.
With both fighters interested in a matchup. It’s clear that this bout is going to happen in 2021. The WBC has ordered it and neither Teofimo Lopez nor Gervonta Davis is looking to fight Haney or Garcia next?
Full Garcia vs Campbell Card
(c)Ryan Garcia vs Luke Campbell in a 12 round WBC interim lightweight title fight
(c)Rene Alvarado vs Roger Gutierrez in a 12 round WBA junior lightweight title contest
(c)Felix Alvarado vs DeeJay Kriel in a 12 round IBF junior flyweight title bout
Franchon Crews-Dezurn vs Ashleigh Curry in an 8 round super middleweight clash
Raul Curiel vs Ferdinand Kerobyan in a 10 round welterweight contest
Blair Cobbs vs Issouf Kinda in a 10 round welterweight bout
Sean Garcia vs Asa Stevens in a 4 round bantamweight fight
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …