Matthysse vs Kiram Headline HBO Boxing – HBO Boxing comes to us with their first offering of 2018 this Saturday and two WBA world titles are on the line in the main events. The live event is promoted by Golden Boy at the Forum in Inglewood, California and the fights are seen as “showcases” for a pair of popular Latino fighters on the GBP roster.
The main event sees popular Argentinian veteran Lucas Martin Matthysse (38-4) facing off against Tewa Kiram (38-0) of Thailand with the vacant WBA welterweight world title going home with the winner.
Matthysse returned in 2017 after a layoff of more than a year and he stopped shopworn Emmanuel Taylor in his first official fight in the welterweight division. His previous world title fights came at 140 pounds and there is an open question as to how well Matthysse can hold up against the bigger guns at 147 pounds.
Is Kiram the right guy to push Matthysse? The common thinking is “no.” Kiram’s resume is strictly regional and there is little there that one can compare to Matthysse.
An interesting note is that fellow Thai fighter Sor Rungvisai was a much wider underdog to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez last year when he won the WBC world super flyweight title. For Kiram however, the difference is in the weight classes. In the lower weight classes Thailand has a lot of competition while at welterweight it is a different story. Should Kiram pull off the upset he will be Thailand’s first boxing world champion at 147 pounds. Kiram has a ton of motivation and a blueprint to follow and that may make him dangerous.
The co-feature spot sees Venezuela’s WBA lightweight world champion Jorge Linares (44-3) facing rugged Mercito Gesta (31-1-2) in what will be his third title defense.
Linares is one of the top guys out there on the boxing pound for pound lists and he is in line for some big fights later this year. The bottom line is that Gesta is viewed as more of a “stay busy” opponent while Linares waits to face the likes of Mikey Garcia and Vasyl Lomachenko.
But Gesta may be more dangerous than the line at the books implies. Gesta started his career in the Philippines and he has even fought for a world title once before back in 2012. He has lived in the United States for more than a decade and he has been preparing with well respected trainer Freddie Roach in southern California.
Linares has lived in Venezuela, Las Vegas, Tokyo and London in recent years as he seeks out the highest level of training now for many years. Several years back Linares spent time under the guidance of Roach, and for this fight with Gesta, Roach himself seems to feel he can help Gesta.
And do not underestimate what motivation can do to a guy like Gesta. The lone loss of his career came to Miguel Vasquez in 2012 with the IBF world title on the line. Six years is a long time to wait between title fights.
Below are the lines as they stand today. Check your sports books for the latest lines.
Forum – Inglewood, California – HBO – 1/27
Lightweight 12 rounds –
Mercito Gesta +2500
Jorge Linares -5000
Welterweight 12 rounds –
Tewa Kiram +800
Lucas Martin Matthysse -1250
Matthysse vs Kiram Headline HBO Boxing / Check out more boxing news and features at The Sweet Science.
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