It's repeat or revenge in Monaco on Saturday for Jamie McDonnell as he looks to settle the score vs Solis. Betfair's boxing expert Frankie Monkhouse says the Brit wins again, and here's how...
We're off to the glamorous surroundings of Monaco's Casino de Monte Carlo on Saturday as Jamie McDonnell defends his WBA world bantamweight title for a second time against exciting Venezuelan Liborio Solis. The Yorkshireman won on points when the pair met just over a year ago. The challenger wanted some more, the champion happy to oblige.
The rivals boxed out a thrilling contest last time, and there looked to be little in it at the business end of the fight. Both thought they had done enough to get the nod, the judges returning a 116-112, 115-113, 117-111 tally in Jamie's favour. Betfair traders have chosen to side with repeat over revenge.
McDonnell aiming for bigger and better
McDonnell did his best work in the opening rounds of last year's fight, but failed to convince down the home-straight, pushed back by a challenger hungry to cause an upset. It was marked down as an off-night for the 31-year-old from Doncaster, but handlers will know it's one their boy managed to get away with, but only just.
The bout was so close in fact - and there were enough voices screaming robbery - that the WBA agreed a rematch was the only way forward. Great for fans, who'll be hoping to see another nip-and-tuck affair, but it's also a chance for the champion to put things right - beat Solis in convincing fashion, put the fight to bed and move onto bigger and better things. There's plenty of big nights out there for McDonnell if he wants them, including an all-British clash with Belfast's IBF king Ryan Burnett. Personally, I'd love to see that.
Fans will be denied that blockbuster unless Jamie wins here, and wins well. The 5ft 10inch orthodox has gone the distance in three of his last four fights, the spare being a ninth-round stoppage win over Fernando Vargas on his penultimate start. That makes a points cheer worth a second look when putting together your plan of attack, available at 8/13. Those who fancy McDonnell to get this done inside the distance will be delighted to see 11/2 available, or if you'd prefer to keep it simple, 3/10 (sportsbook) makes him winner by any method, 1.34 on the exchange.
Plenty of interest in the upset
McDonnell's 35-year-old opponent Liborio Solis brings a sketchy record of 25 wins against five defeats and one draw, but he asked questions of McDonnell last time, meaning punters have a decision to make. Is the challenger good enough to get it right second time around, now he has a feel for his opponent, or was he simply made to look better than he is by McDonnell, who huffed and puffed his way across the finish line?
The 5ft 4inch orthodox travels from his base in Maracay having lost two of his last four, a points defeat to Japan's Shinsuke Yamanaka for the WBC strap added to that Monaco reverse vs McDonnell 12 months ago. Involved in a thrill-a-minute 12 rounder with Yamanaka, both men were on the canvas, Solis in rounds two and nine, the winner touching down in round three. Despite suffering five career defeats, Solis has never been stopped, but has scored 11 of his 25 wins inside-the-distance.
The challenger to upset the odds by KO/TKO is 15/2, the points revenge a more realistic option at 7/2. Betfair traders make the title changing hands an 11/5 poke, 3.75 if betting on the exchange. Decent offers, and there will be plenty of fight fans who, having sat through the initial encounter, will fancy a shot at the value - but it's not for me.
Champ will box smart to build a lead
McDonnell started well enough last time, and I'm happy to put it down to a bad night at the office. All fighters have them, but with the big nights still out there, I'm having the Englishman to refocus himself and get back to basics.
Solis is a proud warrior, and one that thinks he was harshly treated last year. That means he's best avoided early in the bout, McDonnell is expected to keep it long and bank the first few rounds. A successful defence on the scorecards is the bet for us.
McDonnell on points @ 1.60