Emanuel Navarrete and Liam Wilson will go head to head on Friday night on ESPN and ESPN+ to win the vacant WBO 130 lb title.
Navarrete has won titles in 122 and 126 (and still holds 126 titles) and has had an impressive run in recent years. Will he be able to keep the momentum going and clinch another world title, or will Australia’s Wilson pull off a shocking result to take his maiden win?
Note: On Friday morning, we’ll be making Matchroom Card Predictions this Saturday on DAZN.
Scott Christ (5-5)
Wilson has a chance to jump in and he’s taking it. Even in an age when there are so many “world titles,” you don’t easily build a solid career and get called up for a world title fight. He’s not a bad fighter, but he’s clearly not up against Navarrete’s plot to move up to fight Oscar Valdez.
But it’s really more about ability level than size.On paper, the Navarette has enough size to carry a 130. Wilson is a little taller (as stated) and has a decent jab and a pretty good left hook. Wilson has some habits that I’m not sure would work well at this level. won. Navarrete TKO-8
Will Esco (6-4)
With Emmanuel Navarrete gaining weight, I think this first fight with Liam Wilson will be something he should be able to handle fairly easily. Navarrete can have a habit of tinkering in the early rounds to find his direction. In this fight, Liam thinks we’ll see more of it before he dials up on Wilson to add some heat. Wilson had never faced an opponent of this level before, but in time I think he understood exactly why this sport has levels. I’m going to take Navarrete to win the stoppage early in the second half. Navarrete TKO-7
John Hansen (9-1)
I’m not proud that Jessica Simpson, back in her days as Tony Romo’s girlfriend, put out a song called “Never Not Beautiful.” But she did and I do.
As a serious boxing man and analyst, from what I’ve read about Wilson, he switches stances instinctively rather than strategically, opening himself up in very dangerous ways available to championship-level opponents. Wilson also gets more counters than I’d generally like to see from a top-level guy.
A terrible scout report for an opponent of Emmanuel Navarrete. The Navarrete has a reach advantage that makes it comfortable for angling at great distances or neutralizing bulldog fighters. It all shapes up for a fight where Wilson, despite being a naturally heavy guy, falls apart and gets beaten for most of the fight until a corner or referee decides enough is enough.
But while Wilson may not have a clear edge in a fighting matchup, what he does have is the stone-cold sexiest haircut ever to grace his scalp. On the other hand, his achievements in hairstyle couture probably don’t mean much among Bells. Navarrete TKO-7
Patrick Sternberg (7-3)
There is a weight-neutral style out there, one that, within reason, can function in the higher weight classes without requiring major adjustments. I doubt the game is in it. To be clear, this is not a criticism. An unconventional style designed to maximize one’s advantage is as admirable as anything pulled straight from a textbook. It will be interesting to see if it can compete with naturally larger men.
At least you should beat Wilson. The Aussie’s static guard and willingness to trade his shots to the body on the inside should be a good fit for Navarrete’s more dynamic hands. As long as Navarrete can withstand Wilson’s punches, this seems like a safe assumption, but he beats him for a late mercy stoppage. Navarrete TKO-9
Arnold Barbosa Jr. vs Jose Pedraza
- Scott: Barbosa SD-10
- Will: Barbosa UD-10
- John: Barbosa UD-10
- Patrick: Barbosa UD-10
- Odds: Barbosa -525, Pedraza +360 (DraftKings)