Treated by the finest luxury in Monaco, Eddie Hearn will watch as his latest step towards creating a global brand in Matchroom Boxing unfolds, with Luis Ortiz vs Malik Scott topping the bill this weekend.
Luis Ortiz joins the stable, competing on the show that also sees both Jamie McDonnell and Stephen Smith in world title action, while Martin Murray looks to revitalise his career.
For Ortiz, this is a stepping stone towards a contest with IBF Heavyweight star Anthony Joshua, a meeting that now looks a guarantee in the next 12-18 months.
But one also feels that Ortiz has not just been swooped up by Hearn to simply be a future opponent of Joshua’s.
Ortiz 25-0(22KO’s) is a proven Cuban amateur, and his unpaid style has bared no effect on his professional career.
A huge puncher, Ortiz is compact at 6’4”, his physique is intimidating, and the spindly Malik Scott will certainly feel that intimidation on Saturday night.
Scott 38-2-1(13KO’s) is a good opponent on paper for a fighter on the cusp of a world title shot.
And with the WBA Inter-Continental title up for grabs, you would certainly fancy Ortiz to capture the official title when he gets his shot at the winner of Lucas Browne-Shannon Briggs – a fight for the vacant WBA title.
But in truth, Scott never really has fulfilled his early promise. A well-skilled boxer, but Scott often flounders in deep waters, coming unstuck in contentious fashion against both Dereck Chisora and Deontay Wilder.
A recent points win over faded Tony Thompson has enhanced his confidence, which must be at a high if he is to make this a contest. But still the odds are heavily stacked in Ortiz’s favour, and rightly so.
Following a cautious start, Ortiz will find his range, break Scott down to the body before levelling his opponent between rounds 5 and 7.
Stephen Smith’s close call with IBF Super Featherweight champ Jose Pedraza has earnt him a second world title crack just 7 months later.
This time Smith 24-2(14KO’s) will challenge recently crowned WBA ruler Jason Sosa 19-1-4(15KO’s), a hard-hitting, no-nonsense American fresh off a stunning come-from-behind stoppage of Javier Fortuna (TKO 11).
Sosa also earnt a surprise draw with Nicholas ‘Axe Man’ Walters, proving his chin is up there with the best in the division.
But it was an extremely contentious draw, and Walters could certainly produce a lot better as he showed previously against Nonito Donaire.
But while Sosa may have caught Walters and Fortuna on bad nights, it does not take away from the fact that this is a very dangerous fight for Smith.
However, the Liverpudlian is a deceptively strong puncher at the weight, and Sosa’s come-forward style should suit him far more than Pedraza’s counter-punching did in April.
Sosa will be rattled on more than a few occasions, but he should see it out until the end, and may even have his moments in the closing stanzas of the contest.
But after 12 rounds, Smith will add his name to the list of British world champions.
Jamie McDonnell 28-2-1(13KO’s) must be wary of complacency as he continues to wait on the big fights in the Bantamweight division.
His opponent this Saturday is the experienced Liborio Solis 25-4-1(11KO’s), a Venezuelan fighter that has fought some of the top names in the lighter weight classes.
During the best spell of his career from late 2011-2013, Solis outpointed Rafael Concepcion, Jose Salgado, Kohei Kono and Daiki Kameda, winning the WBA and IBF Super Flyweight titles along the way.
But two years of fighting at a lower level seemed to have robbed Solis of his prime years at world level, and in spite of scoring a brace of knockdowns against Shinsuke Yamanaka in March, he was clearly outpointed and dropped twice himself in that WBC Bantamweight affair.
Now at 34, Solis seems to be in a last chance saloon to re-capture his previous form. And a rising McDonnell is far from the ideal opponent to do that against.
Solis will be dangerous early on, and competitive throughout this WBA Bantamweight clash. But after 12 rounds, McDonnell will emerge as the winner by 5 or 6 rounds.
Finally, Martin Murray has been forced to swap a second crack at Arthur Abraham for a contest with the young and dangerous Dmitrii Chudinov.
Murray 33-4-1(16KO’s) may be close to the end of the road following a comprehensive points loss at the hands of the heavier George Groves.
Here he faces arguably the lesser of the two Chudinov brothers. Dmitrii struggled to a draw with Patrick Mendy in 2013, before succumbing to a 12th round stoppage at the hands of Chris Eubank Jr.
But a victory over Patrick Nielsen suggests that Chudinov has promise that could at least take him to a world title shot in the future.
Just how much Murray has left will undoubtedly have a huge influence on the result.
If Murray is still capable of mixing at the top level then he can emerge with a gruelling points win, but the pick is for the fresher Chudinov to enjoy a strong start before closing out with a second wind to narrowly take victory on the judges’ scorecards.