They don’t come bigger than heavyweight unification fights between unbeaten boxers.
Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker headline a huge card in the Welsh capital’s 75,000 seater stadium this Saturday night.
Elsewhere on the undercard, controversial Russian Alexander Povetkin takes on Liverpool’s BFG David Price in a bout that is almost guaranteed an explosive start and an early finish. Belfast’s supremo Ryan Burnett defends his world title against Yonfrez Parejo, and the uber-talented Josh Kelly and Joe Cordina face the first significant tests of their careers.
Joshua v Parker – Bet Now
Boxing’s star attraction might be able to sell out stadiums and generate millions from pay-per-views, but not everybody is sold. The doubters question Joshua’s chin and the detractors dismiss his skills, and some give Parker more than a puncher’s chance of winning.
The Kiwi, motivated by Graham Norton calling him “The King of Pies”, has got himself into the shape of his life. Paddy is not convinced that a hint of abs is going to be enough to beat AJ and our bookie makes Parker a 9/2 underdog.
For every attribute Parker has – solid amateur pedigree, fast hands, a big frame – the 2012 Olympic champion has the edge, except for possibly in the chin department.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) March 22, 2018
Josh is just 4/11 to win by KO and it’s only 1/6 the fight doesn’t go the distance. Surely Parker’s only chance of winning is by knocking the Brit out and even heavyweight greats like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko suffered stoppage loses when they looked untouchable.
If you smell an upset and you’re looking for some serious bang for your buck, then don’t miss out on the gigantic 66/1 for Joshua to be knocked down in rounds 1-3 and Parker to win in rounds 4-5.
Paddy has been responding to your #whatoddspaddy requests and the best of the bunch are Parker to have a point deducted at a generous 16/1 and the solid 2/1 for either fighter to get knocked down in rounds 1-3.
If Parker had rocks for hands I would think about backing him at long odds, but the reality is that his last three fights have gone the distance. Don’t buy the hype that the South Aucklander will punch twice as hard now he’s had elbow surgery, he won’t.
Upsets come against bigger underdogs than Parker and when champions are less focused than AJ. Parker’s jaw has never been tested and if it’s made of granite he could take this the distance, but if he’s made of flesh and blood like the rest of us Joshua will take him out.
Bet of the bout: Joshua to win in rounds 5-8 at 21/10.
Povetkin v Price – Bet Now
There was a time not that long ago when heavyweights jabbed and held, and if it was a really exciting round a right hand might get thrown. But since Tyson Fury and Klitschko left the scene all that remains are gunslingers with suspect chins.
No one embodies power and vulnerability quite like 6 foot 8 nice guy David Price. Pricey has huge power in his long levers but the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and the Scouser has fallen very hard four times.
In the opposite corner is former Olympic champion, world title challenger and dodgy drug taker Povetkin.
The Russian has only lost to Klitschko and he’s beaten a raft of fringe contenders. It shouldn’t be a close contest and Paddy makes the likeable Liverpudlian a 9/1 underdog.
The hope for Price is that the Russian’s age – he’s 39 in September – is showing and that his two most recent wins on points are a sign that the drugs have exited the body and his power has plummeted.
Bets of the bout: My heart says back Price at 22/1 to win in rounds 1-3, but my head says load up on Povetkin to win in the same group of rounds at 10/11. I will probably bet on both.
At the opposite end of the weight spectrum – where you have to work harder to get to the top and get paid a fraction of the money – is Burnett’s bout with Venezuelan Parejo.
Aged 25 and with only 18 fights as a pro, Burnett has already cleaned up two of the bantamweight baubles. Parejo is a solid, rangey fighter, however this should be a minor interlude for Burnett before he attempts division domination.
If there is one question mark over the Northern Irishman, it’s about his power. Burnett’s last seven fights have gone the distance and I’m taking the 10/11 money bet that this one does as well.
Amateur stand-out Kelly is attempting to make Burnett’s ascension through the pro ranks look pedestrian. This Saturday is the welterweight’s sixth bout and he’s already taking on former champion Carlos Molina.
‘King’ Molina is past his best, but at 34 he’s hardly ready to collect his pension. The Mexican has always been a powder puff puncher, however he’s experienced and ‘Pretty Boy’ Kelly’s speed and skill might only be enough to get the win on points. Kelly to win by decision at 6/4.
The main Welsh representative on the Cardiff bill is Cordina and the local lad is facing one of Belgium’s finest lightweights. Hakim Ben Ali has never been KO’d, but he has lost to some woeful opponents. Back Cordina to force a middle rounds stoppage.
* All odds correct at time of posting.