Canelo vs. Jacobs Undercard Preview: Vergil Ortiz Jr. is Ready for the Spotlight, More

Canelo vs. Jacobs Undercard Preview: Vergil Ortiz Jr. is Ready for the Spotlight, More article feature image

Golden Boy Promotions. Pictured: Vergil Ortiz Jr.

  • Saturday's boxing card on DAZN features some exciting matchups from two up-and-coming Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Bilal Akkawy.
  • Here's a look a breakdown of two key matches on the Canelo vs. Jacobs undercard.

The undercard bouts on the Canelo vs. Jacobs promotion don’t have a ton of name recognition, but the potential for excitement is certainly there.

There’s a former champion in action, a super middleweight interim title fight, and a budding prospect on a double-digit knockout streak to warm fans up for the main event.

Here’s a quick breakdown of two fights on the undercard to look out for.

*Odds as of Friday May, 3

Vergil Ortiz Jr. (-2500) vs. Mauricio Herrera (+1000)

This fight is billed as the co-main event and based on current trajectory Ortiz is on, it’s certainly warranted. The 21-year-old Ortiz (12-0) is still very early into his professional career, but he has been sensational in every bout, scoring a KO victory in all 12.

The bright lights of Las Vegas shouldn’t be much of a shock for Ortiz. He’s been on the undercard Canelo vs. GGG twice in Las Vegas and fought on the undercard of Canelo vs. Liam Smith at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas as an 18-year-old.

Ortiz has a huge step up in competition across the ring from him in Herrera. Herrera (24-8) is 17 years older than Ortiz, so he has the experience factor. Herrera lost a close fight with Danny Garcia by majority decision in 2014 despite landing more total punches. He very well could have been a title holder as a junior welterweight.

From a style standpoint, Herrera will be very tough to deal with, especially for a guy in his 13th fight. Herrera throws punches from awkward positions, and crowds his opponents’ air space. Ortiz is a powerful puncher with both hands. He jabs well, but has great power for a guy his size. In his last fight he was very aggressive fighting on the inside and countering punches, which he’ll need to do here as well.

Another interesting aspect to this fight is Ortiz will be officially moving up from the 140-pound limit to the 147-pound limit. To his credit, he’s already knocked out two guys who weighed-in over 140 pounds in his career.

With all of that said, betting Ortiz to win at that price is pointless at -25000. He’s scored a stoppage win before the sixth round in all of his fights, but I’m not sure that streak will continue. Herrera’s awkward style, experience and pride will make it tough for Ortiz to get the quick finish. I like over 6.5 rounds at -125.

John Ryder (-175) vs. Bilal Akkawy (+145)

This fight is very intriguing in part because Akkawy is a late replacement for David Lemieux who injured himself in late April.

Akkawy (20-0-1), who is from Australia and has Lebanese roots, hasn’t been a 12-round fight to this point in his career. He’s also only fought in the United States twice prior to this bout.

Ryder has significant advantages in fight experience and obviously has been preparing for this interim title fight, while Akkawy had less than two weeks to get mentally ready.

Akkawy hasn’t faced nearly as many top tier fighters as Ryder has, but he’s been sparring with the best middleweight in the sport, Canelo Álvarez and he’s been in camp for five months leading up to this bout.

Ryder ended up on the wrong side of decisions in his most notable fights: split-decision loss to Rocky Fielding (who was KO’d by Canelo in December) and unanimous decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders (former WBO middleweight champion).

Ryder is on a three-fight KO streak, while Akkawy has two consecutive stoppages entering Saturday. Akkawy’s odds actually dropped from +275 to +145 since Wednesday morning, which gives him a 39% implied probability of winning, but most of that is based on the fact that he’s fought in Australia for most of his young career. I like betting Akkawy here as the underdog.