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Top Rank Boxing

Top Rank Boxing presents a major light heavyweight fight in Las Vegas on Saturday when former world champion Eleider Alvarez faces off with Joe Smith Jr. at the MGM Grand (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+). The fight was originally scheduled for July 16 but became one of many Top Rank bouts to fell apart during the promotion’s first attempts to hold shows from within “the bubble” in Las Vegas. 

Alvarez suffered a shoulder injury ahead of the originally planned date but now looks ready to get back on the path to regaining a world title as the fight serves as one of two semifinal title eliminators for the WBO light heavyweight championship briefly held by Canelo Alvarez. Maxim Vlasov vs. Umar Salamov is the other matchup in that mix, though there’s no date set for that clash.

Both Alvarez (25-1 13 KOs) and Smith (25-3, 20 KOs) are talented light heavyweights with significant stopping power, though Alvarez holds the edge in technical boxing skills.

Alvarez scored an August 2018 knockout of Sergey Kovalev to win the IBA and WBO light heavyweight titles, scoring three knockdowns in the seventh round to get the finish. He also has notable wins over Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute in his career. A unanimous decision loss to Kovalev in their rematch ended Alvarez’s short reign as champion, but he rebounded by beating Michael Seals in January to get back in the win column while picking up a tertiary WBO belt in the process.

Smith has scored his own significant wins in his career, including beating Andrzej Fonfara, Jessie Hart and being the final man to ever step in the ring with Bernard Hopkins, knocking out the legend in his final fight. Smith has been outworked by more technical fighters in his career, losing decisions in recent years to Sullivan Barrera and Dmitry Bivol. But Smith’s big power keeps him a threat in any fight as long as he is on his feet.

Read on below for the full card and odds via William Hill Sportsbook.

Alvarez vs. Smith card, odds

Eleider Alvarez -220

Joe Smith Jr. +180

Light heavyweight

Julian Rodriguez

Anthony Laureano

Super lightweight

Rob Brant

Vitalii Kopylenko

Middleweight

Wendy Toussaint

Isiah Jones

Super welterweight

Clay Collard

Maurice Williams

Super middleweight

Robert Rodriguez

Abel Soriano

Bantamweight

Adrian ValdovinosIsrael MercadoSuper featherweight
Duke RaganLuis AlvaradoFeatherweight

Prediction

As mentioned, Smith can be — and has been — beaten by fighters with better technical chops. There’s great potential for some hard-hitting action in this fight. Neither is big on movement but both are big on throwing hard shots. Alvarez could fight a bit smarter and engage less, allowing Smith fewer openings, but any little mistake could change the fight for either man. Alvarez is just faster and has better movement, even with two guys who don’t move a ton, so those edges should be enough to favor him. While a Smith upset wouldn’t be a shock, I like Alvarez to work well until finally finding a home for a right hand that has become increasingly dangerous. Pick: Alvarez via TKO8



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LOOK: Logan Paul and Sharks’ Evander Kane continue war of words over potential boxing match

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YouTube star Jake Paul defeated former NBA player Nate Robinson, and turned him into a meme, in Saturday night’s boxing match. Following the victory, athletes were volunteering to be next to get in the ring and attempt to take down Paul.

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane believes he could embarrass Paul if given the chance. While Kane is not a boxer by trade, many have caught his hands on the ice.

He initially tweeted that he would “wreck” Paul, saying, “Easy to beat up guys with no experience and much smaller.”

Kane even gave a date for the potential fight.

Kane also posted a video on social media saying, “I’ll take the mop of your head and wipe the floor with ya,” tagging Paul.

Now Logan Paul, Jake’s brother who is no stranger to celebrity boxing matches himself, says he’s ready to step into the ring with the Sharks’ enforcer.  

He started with what seemed like his attempt at a roast, saying, “Evander Kane? San Jose Sharks? Now what is that exactly? Some sort of fish? An aquatic animal? Who lives in San Jose?”

After reading the message from Kane he said, “Put him on the list. I’ll do it. That’s my question. The first thing I asked was ‘Jake Paul vs. Evander Kane, is that a headline fight?’ How many buys does that get?”

He then asks more about Kane, questioning if he’s an active NHL player and wondering, “When is he gonna train boxing?”

Frustrated, Paul said he’ll put a quarter of a million on the fight.

Whether we see this fight or not is very much yet to be said, but it would likely look a lot different than the Robinson bout.



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Australia vs India, 1st T20I, Fantasy Pick, team predictions

December 4: Australia vs India, 1st T20I, Canberra

Pro Tip: The average score batting first at this venue in the last five T20s is 171. Only once in these five games, the chasing team has emerged victorious. So pack your team with the batsmen from the side batting first.

Our XI: KL Rahul, Aaron Finch, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, Hardik Pandya, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Jasprit Bumrah, T Natarajan

Substitutes: Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Adam Zampa, Marcus Stoinis

Player availability: David Warner and Pat Cummins are not available. Mitchell Starc, Ashton Agar and Marcus Stoinis are in doubt due to their respective injury concerns. For India, Navdeep Saini might be the only unavailable player. Also, expect both teams to rest some of their key players.

We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.

Captain: KL Rahul

IPL 2020’s Orange Cap winner and India’s top-ranked T20I player, Rahul is a completely different player when it comes to T20 cricket. Among the top ten ranked teams, no one has scored more T20I runs than Rahul in the last two years. Don’t forget that he will be back to his favourite batting position as an opener.

Vice-captain: Glenn Maxwell

Maxwell had one of his worst IPL seasons a month back, but his form in the ODIs makes him a strong contender for vice-captain. The last time he played a T20I against India, he smashed an unbeaten 55-ball 113 which helped Australia chase down India’s 190. He has scored more T20I runs against India than any other team – 353 runs in 12 innings at an average of 35.30 and a strike rate of 145.86.

Hot Picks

Virat Kohli: The India skipper’s numbers against Australia are simply mind-boggling: 584 runs at an average of 64.88 and a strike rate of 147.10. In Australia, he has 317 runs in seven innings at an average of 79.25. He has scored 96 runs in 60 balls without getting out even once against the pace attack of Josh Hazlewood, Starc and Andrew Tye.

Aaron Finch: We are backing the highest run-scorer in the ODI series to extend his form in T20Is too. Australia’s captain is the highest-ranked Australian batsman in T20Is (No. 3) and rightly so, having scored the most runs for Australia in the last three years with 982 runs at an average of 39.28 and a strike rate of 162.58.

Hardik Pandya: Pandya has been in fantastic form ever since landing in Australia. He was the highest run-scorer for India in the ODI series, scoring 210 runs in three games at a strike rate of 114.75. He has been nowhere near his best with the bat in T20Is so far, but is expected to make a telling impact on this tour.

Differential Picks

Ashton Agar: In the last two years, no Australian has taken more wickets than Agar in T20Is – 20 wickets in 12 games at an economy of 6.31. His performance has peaked in the last six games where he took 13 wickets. He is also handy with the bat lower down the order.

T Natarajan: India’s newly-found yorker specialist is coming off a brilliant IPL season where he picked up 16 wickets in 16 games. Although he was a bit expensive on his ODI debut, he picked up a couple of wickets and also bowled a wicket maiden.

Alternate Scenarios

  • If Rahul is rested, make Kohli the captain of your side. Rahul’s place in the XI can be filled by Sanju Samson.

  • Hazlewood can replace Starc depending on the playing XI.

  • If Stoinis is playing and opening the batting, he can replace Shikhar Dhawan.

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Shotzi Blackheart attempts to take down Raquel Gonzalez in WarGames Advantage Ladder Match

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