Fight night flutters
With Amir Khan 1/12 on to beat Julio Diaz, Sky Bet's Jamie Casey finds some better value.
By Jamie Casey - Twitter: @skyjamiecasey
Last Updated: 27/04/13 2:02pm
Both fighters are bidding to use each other as stepping stones back to the top when Amir Khan takes on Julio Diaz in Sheffield on Saturday night, with Sky Bet making the Englishman the 1/12 heavy favourite.
In what will be Khan's first fight in his homeland since he stopped Paul McCloskey in Manchester two years ago, the former WBA light welterweight world champion has promised to display his new defensive style once again.
It will be the 26-year-old's second fight under new trainer Virgil Hunter, who is renowned for coaching Andre Ward into possessing one of the best defences in the sport, and Khan has vowed to build on his comfortable 10th round stoppage of the undersized Carlos Molina in December.
Khan to win in the third round has proved Sky Bet's most popular bet at 10/1 in the individual round betting, but it seems punters have been seduced by the generous odds as this one is likelier to go over six rounds (8/15), if Khan is true to his word.
Having vowed not to be drawn into a brawl, which he was guilty of on several occasions under former coach Freddie Roach, expect the home favourite to jab his way ahead on points in the early stages, biding his time for a big opening.
However, having reinvented himself at welterweight, former IBF Lightweight champion Diaz is a bigger opponent physically than Molina and should prove tougher to wear down than Khan's last victim, but he'll still be naturally smaller than Khan for this catch-weight match-up.
Only should Khan return to his erratic ways will Diaz trouble his chin, but if he can find a steady balance between his newly enhanced defence, combined with the attacking prowess he developed under Roach, then the boy from Bolton will certainly raise his stock a little closer to what it once was.
With the Sheffield support likely to be largely behind him, it's difficult not to see Khan cruising to a comfortable, if far from explosive win. It's a question of how and when - Diaz will do well to take it to the cards, so I'd avoid backing Khan to win on points at 4/1.
The real value on offer is in the 'Either Fighter Wins' market. Whilst Diaz is not considered too much of a threat, you can never be certain with Khan, and as either fighter to win in rounds 1-3 (11/4), 4-6 (11/4) and 7-9 (11/4) are all priced the same as the favourite in the 'Grouped Round Betting', you may as well go with either fighter to cover yourself in the event of an upset.
If it's a long shot win you're after, avoid backing Khan to win in any of the opening nine rounds, each individually under-priced at 10/1, with better value available in the 10th (12/1), 11th (16/1) and 12th (20/1).
Khan to win in rounds 1-12 by any method is too short to back at 1/4, unless you're willing to lodge a sizeable amount on it, with the smart money on the favourite to win in rounds 7-12 at 6/4.
New customers of Sky Bet can claim a free £10 bet on the bout