BetUS Sportsbook bettors who are interested in professional boxing are already looking forward to the display of offense they will witness this Saturday (September 6) at the Toyota Center in Houston, as two former lightweight champions will go at it, with Michael Katsidis, the former WBO titleholder, takes on Juan Diaz, a former unified (WBA, WBO, IBF) champion. The fight, which is scheduled for 12 rounds and will contested for the International Boxing Organization (IBO) championship, will be televised on HBO in the United States.
BetUS Boxing Betting Odds
Lightweights - 12 Rounds
September 6 - Houston
JUAN DIAZ -350
MICHAEL KATSIDIS +250
OVER 9.5 ROUNDS -155
UNDER 9.5 ROUNDS +125
For online betting purposes, let's take a look at the contestants:
DIAZ (33-1, 17 KO's), the -350 favorite in the BetUS boxing betting odds, won 105 of 110 bouts as an amateur. As he was ruled too young to compete for Mexico in the 200 Olympics, he turned pro instead at the age of 16 in June of 2000. he beat some up-and-comers and/or fringe contenders on his way up the ladder, including the likes of Roy Delgado, Eleazer Contreras, Francisco Lorenzo and Martin O'Malley, but generally avoided a major obstacle before challenging for a world title, which he won in July '04 when he scored a decision over Lavka Sim, with room to spare, to capture the WBA crown at 135 pounds. He defended five times, against lesser lights, then had an opportunity to unify the WBO and WBA versions of the title against Acelino Freitas in April of 2007. Did manage to overwhelm his opponent, and stopped him when Freitas did not come out after the eighth round. Six months later he annexed the IBF title as well when he stopped Julio Diaz (no relation) in nine rounds. But in his last fight, he looked sluggish at times as he was beaten on a split decision by Nate Campbell, in what was a considerable upset. It has now been six months since Diaz last fought.
KATSIDIS (23-1, 20 KO's), the +250 underdog at BetUS, did make it to the 2000 Olympics in Syndey, representing his native Australia, and was eliminated in the Round of 16. He was unknown to U.S. audiences, having stayed in Australia for the first 21 fights of his career, then went to England in February of last year and stopped Graham Earl in five rounds to win the WBO lightweight title, which came on an "interim" basis. He made a successful defense in his United States debut, scoring a decision over Czar Amonsot, but lost the crown on March 22 when he was stopped in the tenth round by Joel Casamayor, in a terrific bout where Katsidis went down in the first round, came back to floor Casamayor in the sixth and then finally went down again in the tenth.
There was a bit of a glove controversy over this fight, as Katsidis insisted on wearing Reyes gloves, known as "puncher's gloves" in boxing circles, and Diaz balked at that for a while until the dispute got resolved. This should be a terrific offensive brawl, between two fighters who lost their last outing and are seeking redemption.
What always worries me about fighters, especially when they lose a fight for the first time, is when they or their handlers have instant excuses after losing. In the case of Diaz, it was that the relationship they had with Don King, who they accused of trying to sabotage the fight beforehand, and influence things against him with the officials while the fight with Campbell was going on. Of course there was the obligatory statement about “Having your own promoter against you it plays with your psyche, knowing he’s a man who can make and break you."
And this time around, Diaz squawked about the gloves. If he loses, will he blame it on that?
Diaz has advantages in a couple of areas. He is better fundamentally, and should be the guy with better defense. He also has more experience than Katsidis, who has not been truly tested that often. However, I like the amount of pop Katsidis has in his gloves, and his "warrior mentality," a little better than that of Diaz.
Well, at least enough to recommend the Australian as a +250 underdog in the BetUS boxing betting odds.
JAY'S PLAY: KATSIDIS TO WIN (+250) *(Graded on a scale of 1-4 stars)
(Charles Jay of www.ebookies.com is a former manager, matchmaker and color commentator in professional boxing. He currently pulls no punches in the BetUS Locker Room)