This weekend’s boxing is about battles more than belts and sluggers over slicksters.
With Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder distracted, Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker have decided to duke it out for the number three spot in the heavyweight division.
Katie Taylor is bringing her titles on Saturday, but she’s going to the ring to dish out a pummelling to American duffer Kimberly Connor.
The card in London also features the fight to stay relevant on the heavyweight landscape for battle-hardened former contenders Dereck Chisora and Carlos Takam, and the rematch of the 2017 barn burner between Conor Benn and Cedrick Peynaud.
Over in America there is a unification title contest worth mentioning, with pound-for-pound star Mikey Garcia facing fellow champ Robert Easter in what we hope will be a brawl of the more educated variety.
Whyte v Parker – Bet Now
While Joshua and Wilder were squabbling over percentages and entourage numbers, Whyte and Parker quietly and quickly agreed to a bout that puts the winner in pole position to take on either champion.
Both heavyweights have suffered their only defeats to AJ, but Whyte went down in a thrilling shoot out while Parker got ‘out-tacticed’ in a boring 12-rounder. Parker is the slight favourite for this one at 4/5 on Paddy’s book.
The Kiwi also failed to thrill on the UK shores in 2017 when he did just enough to get the judges decision against Hughie Fury. Parker has promised to bring the action in this bout and he has the rapid hands required to do it.
Whyte has more or less one fighting mode: War. The Brixton beast went toe-to-toe with big hitters Chisora, Lucas Browne and Dave Allen and beat them all into submission.
Whyte’s power is concussive and he can wobble anybody in the division, including Joshua. The Brit is 7/2 to win by KO, but I believe Parker’s footwork will diffuse most difficult situations and his chin will hold up.
For Whyte to win he’ll have to use his telescopic reach and underrated jab to score on the outside and slow Parker down with body work when the fight is up close.
Parker now has the experience of dealing with ram-rod jabs, frightening power and arenas filled with mobs of Brits. I think the visiting fighter’s superior hand-speed and stamina will be the deciding factors on the judges’ cards.
Bet of the bout: Parker on points at 6/4.
Taylor v Connor – Bet Now
Taylor’s biggest challenge this weekend isn’t beating Connor, it’s entertaining people enough so they can’t wait to see her take on women’s lightweight number one Delfine Persoon or mix it with former Olympic rival and Brit Chantelle Cameron.
Connor lost to a woman Taylor has schooled and at 37 years of age she isn’t getting any better.
Ireland’s unified champ has 10 rounds to dispose of her American challenger, but I reckon she can impress with an early finish.
Bet of the bout: Taylor in rounds 5-6 at 4/1.
Weighing in at top of the undercard is the heavyweight bout between division gatekeepers Chisora and Takam. Realistically neither is a threat to one of the belts, but the winner will surely get another crack at a big fight and big money.
Both men have built a career on bringing the action and durability, so we should expect a bloody battle over 12 rounds. Takam is always fit to fight, but the result depends on Chisora’s preparation – if he’s in shape he can win on points at 10/3, but the best bet is on the draw at 20/1.
The night in London is set to go off with a bang when Benn meets Frenchman Peynaud for the second time in 12 months. In the first fight the Brit was dropped twice in the opening session, but he came back to knock down Peynaud twice and take the win via decision.
Peynaud has completed a full training camp this time and he’s won five of his last seven contests, yet you can still get a whooping 10/1 for him to win. Probably a safer bet is to back Benn to win on points at 7/4.
Easter v Garcia – Bet Now
The cream of the crop on Saturday night has risen all the way to the 4am slot, but if you stay up you can see multi-weight world champion Mikey Garcia put his belt and his unbeaten record on the line against boxing’s Stretch Armstrong Robert Easter.
Easter, also a lightweight champion and also unbeaten, will have a massive height and reach advantage but Paddy still makes him a tall 7/1 outsider because Garcia is so good.
The Mexican-America has incredible skills and lots of power but his recent KO record at the higher weights reads two from four – and those two were against one guy with dodgy chin and one smaller opponent.
My money is going behind Garcia to win by decision at 11/10.
* All odds correct at time of posting.