The June slate of boxing matches gets underway this weekend with notable bouts around the world, starting in the U.K. with a heavily-favored Mikkel Kessler versus Mehdi Bouadla.
Kessler is the reigning WBC Super Middleweight champion emeritus, but his title won't be on the line when he faces Bouadla. Judging by the odds on the fight at 5Dimes Kessler is expected to roll over Bouadla, who the oddsmakers don't think has a chance. At 5Dimes Kessler is a -1800 favorite, while Bouadla is a +1150 longshot.
Kessler is stepping into the ring for the first time since defeating Carl Froch by unanimous decision in April 2010. It has been so long between fights because Kessler was plagued by an eye condition that forced him to take at least nine months off. Now that he's back in fight shape he'll look to add another W to his record of 43-2 with 32 wins by KO.
Bouadla has won his last 11 fights and last fought in January when he defeated Pavels Lotahs by unanimous decision. He's a lifetime 22-3 with 10 wins by knockout and will likely need another KO to shock Kessler.
The top fight for boxing fans this weekend is likely the Middleweight showdown between WBC belt holder Sebastian Zbik and challenger Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Zbik will be making his third title defense, but it will be his first as the underdog. That's right, Zbik may be the champ but he's a +180 underdog in the fight at 5Dimes while Chavez Jr. is a -220 favorite.
Both fighters enter the bout undefeated. The champion, Zbik, is 30-0 with 10 wins by KO. He last fought Jorge Sebastian Heiland last July and defended his title with a unanimous decision victory. Chavez Jr. is 42-0-1 with one no-contest and 30 wins by KO. He last fought a few months ago in January when he got past Billy Lyell by unanimous decision.
Before Zbik and Chavez Jr. square off, on the same fight card is a Light Middleweight title bout between Saul Roman and Vanes Martirosyan for the vacant WBC Silver Light Middleweight title.
Martirosyan is a heavy favorite in the bout at -1500 on the 5Dimes boxing odds. He's undefeated in the ring at 29-0 with 18 wins by KO. He last fought in March versus Bladimir Hernandez and dropped him in the second round to win by TKO.
Roman isn't being given much of a chance in the bout as a +700 underdog. He's 34-8 with 29 wins by KO lifetime and last fought in January when he defeated Michael Medina by TKO in the second round.
Rounding out the weekend's big fights is a semifinal bout in the Super Six World Boxing Classic between Super Middleweights Glen Johnson and Carl Froch.
Froch, the reigning WBC Super Middleweight champion, is the favorite at -460, while Johnson is a +365 underdog. Froch has been one of the favorites to win the tournament despite suffering his first professional loss against Kessler in the round robin. He won his last fight against Arthur Abraham by unanimous decision to stand at 27-1 with 20 wins by KO.
Johnson got into the tournament as a replacement for Kessler, who had to withdraw due to his eye problem. In his first tournament fight he defeated Allan Green by TKO in the eighth round. Before the win over Green, Johnson had lost two of his last three fights and is a lifetime 51-14-2 with 34 wins by KO.
Here's a rundown of the other notable fights on the calendar in June and their odds from 5Dimes:
June 11 – Heavyweight title eliminator
John McDermott +250
David Price -300
June 18 – WBC Light Middleweight Championship bout
Ryan Rhodes +525
Saul Alvarez -750
June 25 – IBF Light Heavyweight Championship bout
Yusaf Mack +500
Tavoris Cloud -900