Age has never been the be-all and end-all in boxing. After all, George Foreman and Evander Holyfield have both become world champions in their mid-40s, while reigning WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko is 41.
However, getting too excited about the chances of James Toney for the Prizefighter International Heavyweights event at York Hall may be a tad optimistic.
In his prime, the 45-year-old former middleweight, super-middleweight and cruiserweight champion would have this line-up for breakfast, but in truth he has not impressed much for over a decade.
There is speculation that he has shed some pounds since last being seen in the ring in June, which is a positive, but whether he has the style to be most effective in the faster Prizefighter format is also up for debate.
Toney is 5/1 to win Prizefighter, with Michael Sprott the 3/1 favourite.
Sprott has previously flourished in this environment when taking the 2010 equivalent, but five defeats in his seven fights since does not inspire the greatest of confidence.
Although, as this field doesn’t have a stand-out competitor, the fact that he is a former Commonwealth heavyweight champion and has experience of the format must work in his favour.
Of the remaining candidates, Ian Lewison is extremely interesting as one of the reserves as he would have surely been in the eight-man field were he not scheduled to take on John McDermott, which is a bout that has since been cancelled.
It is 16/1 that one of the two reserves win and this would look a big price if Lewison was called upon as a stand-in.
Like Toney, Damian Wills is also 5/1 in the Prizefighter betting and he believes that he cannot be stopped from winning the tournament.
Given he is only 33, his youthfulness should ensure some type of speed advantage, while he is said to have good footwork for his size in any case.
This extra buzz around the ring could impress the judges, while of his 24 career KO victories, 22 have come inside the opening four rounds, so he is certainly no slouch when it comes to landing some heavy blows early on.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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