Through 2021 we've seen numerous mandatory title challengers scoring notable upsets and dethroning champions in some of the biggest shocks of the year. That includes one just a few weeks ago, when George Kambosos beat Teofimo Lopez. This coming Saturday there will be a champion looking to avoid the same fate, as Filipino John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21) looks to defend the WBO Bantamweight title against mandatory challenger Paul Butler (33-2, 15).
On paper it's a match up that looks interesting, with the two men have similar looking records, but in reality most see this as a complete and utter mismatch. That's not just us, but also the bookies, and as we're writing this preview, Casimero is a 1/20 favourite, whilst Butler is best priced at 11/1 to score the upset. They are crazy odds, and suggest that in the eyes of the bookies this is a foregone conclusion, and not a bout that should have been mandated by the WBO. Especially not given that Casimero had been talking about a unification bout with WBC champion Nonito Donaire and WBA/IBF champion Naoya Inoue. Both of which would have been much, much more meaningful for the sport, and the division, than this one.
Casimero is a 3-weight world champion and a man who has finally started to get respect in the last couple of years, is an enigmatic fighter with brutal power, lightning speed, and a wild man man mentality in the ring. He's the sort of fighter who can both amazing, and terrible in the same fight, but does, consistently, get big wins, often as the under-dog and often on the road. In fact Casimero is a true road warrior, who has fought all over the globe, and this coming fight see him a stamp from the United Arab Emirates on his passport. Amazingly it'll be the 11th country that Casimero has fought in, a staggering number for fighter!
In the ring Casimero has always been a crude puncher. He is technically a very flawed fighter, but he's someone who uses his flaws to his advantage. He's hard hitting, he's quick, he throws from very unorthodox angles, he's tough and he's aggressive. He does give opponents chances, but he's also able to punish opponents who try to counter him, due to his speed. Sadly he can blow very hot and cold, as we saw in 2017 when he lost to Jonas, but when he's on song he's a monster and has a resume that most fighters would be very jealous off. In his 31 wins he has victories over Cesar Canchila. Luis Albert Lazarte, Pedro Guevara, Amnat Ruenroeng, Charlie Edwards, Zolani Tete and Guillermo Rigondeaux, with all those wins coming on the road.
The challenger to Casimero's throne 33 year old Englishman Paul Butler, who was once tipped as a major star for British boxing but hasn't managed to really shine internationally like many expected. He was, for years, built up as a brilliant, slippery, boxer with a bit of spite by those in the UK. On the domestic scene that has, for the most part, been true. Sadly however when Butler has stepped up he's been found wanting. His most notable win to date came in 2014, when he beat Stuart Hall for the IBF Bantamweight title but he failed to defend the title, vacating it just weeks after winning it to move down in weight, to compete at Super Flyweight. The move proved to be a poor one with Butler being stopped in 8 rounds by Zolani Tete in a bout for the IBF Super Flyweight title, in 2015. He would earn another world title fight in 2018, but miss weight, before then boxing dominated by Emmanuel Rodriguez in a bout for the IBF Bantamweight title.
The problem for Butler has always been a simple one, he's not genuine world class. He's very good, but he lacks solid power, he became very negative and although talented there's too many things missing from his boxing to really be a major star. He's sharp, but he's not a particularly big fighter, and he can become very negative at times. Against world class fighters he has really looked a couple of levels below them, with both Tete and Rodrgiuez beating him with ease. And they beat him at his own game, boxing. Agaunst Casimero he's in there with an unorthodox, power puncher, who doesn't mind making things messy when he needs to, and bully fighters around.
Given Butler's lack of power really don't see how he can win here. He won't get Casimero's respect. He won't make Casimero thing twice, and whilst he might take a few rounds early on, there is a sense of inevitability about this contest. At some point one of Casimero's wild, looping left hooks or even loopier right hands will land hard on Butler. We suspect Butler will get up, one thing we can't question is Butler's heart, but he'll then be a sitting duck with Casimero raining down bombs until Butler's either out on the canvas or the referee is forced to interject.
For Casimero, who was last seen beating Rigondeaux in a stinking bout in August, this is a perfect match up for him. He's in there with a challenger who poses no threat at all, and this is a bout for Casimero to look great in, and restart his verbal jousting with the fellow champions. The same champion he should have been facing instead of Butler.
Prediction TKO4 Casimero
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.