The boxing this weekend is likely to leave more people out cold than a Siberian wind in winter.
We’ve got the heavyweight title clash between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz in Alabama and Kell Brook’s come back against Sergey Rabchenko in Sheffield, with Gamal Yafai versus Gavin McDonnell and Lenroy Thomas’ rematch with David Allen on the undercard.
In Glasgow, hot prospect Josh Taylor takes on short notice opponent Winston Campos and New York is hosting the dual light heavyweight contests of Sergey Kovalev against Igor Mikhalkin and Dmitry Bivol versus Sullivan Barrera.
Wilder v Ortiz – Bet Now
With a combined record of 67 wins, 62 inside the distance and zero defeats you would expect this weekend’s big event to be explosive, but if there is one fight that is going to be light on the pyrotechnics it’s the heavyweight bout between Wilder and Ortiz.
‘The Bronze Bomber’ is the biggest hype merchant in boxing today, making Chris Eubank Jr look considered and humble.
The unbeaten world champion of three years has power, speed and reach, but Wilder’s CV couldn’t stand up to a breath of wind. His last three opponents include a guy who fought once in three years, one failed NFL player and a has-been with a recent record of 1-1-1.
Those opponents had an average age of 36 and this week’s opponent, though cut from a classier cloth, turns 39 at the end of March. Ortiz is a very good operator but he doesn’t have great speed, work rate or conditioning. Cuba’s ‘King Kong’ has never stopped anyone after round 8, but four of Wilder’s last six wins have come in round 8 or later.
It’s time to settle this once and for all.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) February 25, 2018
The Alabama banger is known for his wild attacks, but he starts patiently throwing straight shots at range until he wobbles his opponent. Betting on the champ to win in rounds 7-12 is good value at 13/8, while if you fancy the challenger don’t look past the 7/1 for Ortiz in rounds 5-8.
The Cuban is by far the best opponent Wilder has faced and I reckon the American will approach with extreme caution. I can see Wilder jabbing his way to victory on the judges cards and the price on that outcome is huge.
Bet of the bout: Wilder to win on points – 9/2
Brook v Rabchenko – Bet Now
It’s only a few days shy of two years since Brook last won a fight and in that time he’s been mugged for his title, his unbeaten record has been vaporised and both his eye sockets have been caved in. But, that doesn’t mean ‘The Special One’ is finished.
Brook is making a fresh start in the super-welterweight division and the first step on the path back to glory is former European champion and certified slugger Rabchenko.
FIGHT WEEK ??
Sometimes you need to take time out to reflect long and hard…
Being Reflective was Effective ?
— Kell Brook (@SpecialKBrook) February 26, 2018
The Hatton-trained Belarusian is a decent test but the division’s champions are all bigger and much better than him.
Rabchenko has lost twice, once by KO and he’s odds-on to lose again by KO. Brook is at his most dangerous in the middle rounds and that’s the gamble in this one.
Bet of the bout: Brook to win in round 5-8 – 13/5.
Chief support on the Brook-Rabchenko bill is that rare thing in boxing, a non-title domestic dust-up between two fighters with a lot to lose. Yafai and McDonnell are knocking on the door of world honours, but they are risking it all for a British grudge match.
Styles make fights and this one promises to be a blast.
Yafai is the young, slightly raw boxer-brawler and McDonnell is the experienced volume fighter. It’s talent versus pressure.
Birmingham’s Yafai is favourite to win and if he can handle the pace he will. McDonnell represents a big step up, however the Yorkshire super bantamweight doesn’t really have the power to dent Yafai. Back Birmingham’s ‘Beast’ to win on points at 11/8.
Earlier in the night Allen gets his shot at revenge and the nifty Commonwealth belt all in one contest. The Doncaster heavyweight has packed in his uni-lad diet and he’s in the condition to end the fight early. Take the 7/4 for Allen to stop Thomas inside the distance.
Up in Glasgow Taylor is a massive favourite to make it 12 wins from 12 in his short, but stunning career. The Scot is ready to step up to the big time and although Campos is tough this contest should be a casual walk in the glens for Taylor. You can get ‘The Tartan Tornado’ to win in rounds 4-6 at 6/4.
Andre Ward unified the light heavyweight division against ‘Krusher’ Kovalev last year and promptly retired, allowing the chastened Russian to win back one of the vacated belts almost immediately against fringe contender Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in a two round pound-down.
Next up for Kova is a 10 year pro but first time title challenger. Mikhalkin isn’t great and he doesn’t have the power dissuade one of the pound-for-pound biggest punchers from trying to ice him. Get behind Kovalev in rounds 1-6.
The next big bout for Kovalev could be the winner of Bivol-Barrera. Power punching Russian Bivol is like a young ‘Krusher’ and Barrera is world-class despite being a bit chinny. I don’t think the Cuban gets off the hook if Bivol hurts him so I’m betting on a Russian win by KO at 4/6.
- Bet summary: A double on the Wilder and Brook punts pays out at approximately 18/1 with Paddy Power.
* All odds correct at time of posting.