Saturday night on Showtime, Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy will enter the ring for the third time this year as he stays busy meeting and beating the best super middleweights that will accept his challenge.
Accepting a fight with Lacy, 20-0, is not for the faint of heart and Scott “The Sandman” Pemberton is getting his shot because an injury to Danny Green washed out a proposed eliminator bout with Pemberton, just around the same time a weak heart (or was it a bad left hand?) did the same to possible Joe Calzaghe-Lacy matchup.
A 2000 US Olympian, Lacy has been trying to make world-class fights with the top 168-pound fighters around, but thus far has done so with little global success. Between WBC champion Markus Beyer, WBA kingpin Mikkel Kessler, and WBO ruler Calzaghe, none of them has either willing or able to make a date with the IBF champ they call “Left Hook.” Most of the problems in attracting other champions to face Lacy center around economics; the European champions often do quite well financially fighting on their home turf, as they have been doing, and in front of packed houses.
In North America, the depth at super middle behind Lacy is embarrassingly thin, and that makes it tough to judge just how good Lacy may be. Other than Scott Pemberton, the stateside super middleweights offer little more than Canadians Eric Lucas, a 34-year-old former champion, 37-yea- old Montreal resident Otis Grant (who cheated death in a car accident to give his career a second life after a 5-year hiatus), and the already beaten Omar Sheika. With all due respect to the untested young Americans Chad Dawson (19-0, 13 KOs) and 17-0 (12 KOs) Joey Spina, well, they are basically untested.
So in comes 38-year-old Scott Pemberton, an 11-year professional pugilist with good power, willingness to trade, but also a suspect defense and chin that has failed him before. This will be the first “true” title opportunity for the Massachusetts native, as Pemberton has only fought for pseudo titles such as NABF, IBO, EB, and AOK belts (wait, that last one isn’t actually a governing body, not that I’m aware of at least) despite campaigning almost exclusively at 168 pounds for his entire career.
More than a title bout, this is a fight for fight fans. Pemberton isn’t what one might call a “boxer” and is definitely a “puncher” as his 24 KOs in 29 wins can attest. The beauty of “punchers” is that they often know one way to fight and that makes for exciting fights and spectacular finishes. In his three career losses “The Sandman” has been put to sleep by knockout each time. Combining Pemberton’s knockout victories with his KO losses translates to 82% of his bouts ending before the final bell. In his losses, Pemberton has never been past seven rounds, and that sheds some light on how we will play this bout from a wagering perspective. Remember, Lacy has stopped 16 of 20 opponents for an 80% KO mark.
Oddsmakers have “Left Hook” as a huge -800 to -900 favorite to win, while those backing the dog in this fight can get Pemberton for around +600. The Total Rounds have been set at 8.5 with Under bettors laying -150 for the fight to end before the halfway point of the 9th round. The people who make the lines are strongly suggesting that Florida native Lacy will win, and also that he will win by knockout. I agree.
As a result, I have taken the rubber band off the bankroll and put some spare change on the Exact Outcome Proposition for this fight: Jeff Lacy to win by KO, TKO or DQ -240.
And “Good Luck” never hurts.
(For entertainment purposes only.)