Everyone wants to give a shit. Everyone wants to care.
But unfortunately boxing sucks and everyone knows. It’s not a sport that has a team playing 162 games a season or every Sunday for 16 weeks; boxers need to be entertaining in and outside of the ring. 12 rounds a handful of times a year isn’t going to keep the attention of American fans or keep them invested over the course of a career. The Heavy Weight division has been under the reign of the Klitschko brothers for over a decade with it’s media coverage fading as quick as it’s fan base. The American fans need a fresh face to bring boxing back to barber shop and water cooler talk. The door has been cracked ajar with the Mayweather vs Mcgregor fight looming over the summer; can it be swung open this weekend with the knock out power from the handsome Englishman Anthony Joshua?
Bettors think so. Joshua -250 favorited in most shops and laying -110 to win via TKO/KO like he has in every one of his 18 professional fights. I admit when the line opened up for Joshua -220 my first inclination was to jump on the number before it moved and figure out if I was going to hedge at a better price or let it ride. So far my decision has been made for me with little to no line movement in almost five months. I’ll say this now before you figure it out while reading the following few paragraphs… I’m no boxing expert, but watching Joshua turn god given athleticism and power into crisp technique and experience is exactly what boxing needs. Kids don’t give a fuck about Klitschko. The 41 year old veteran has just 184k instagram followers to Joshua’s 2.2 million. MILLION. Who do you think Showtime and HBO are rooting for?
Maybe I’m caught in the hype and I want it to be so. Maybe my “just for the hell of it” bet on Tyson Fury vs Klitschko in 2015 has me pushing the old Ukrainian into retirement before he’s done. This is a pick based way more on timing than on technique. I do think it’s a close fight stylistically; Klitschko looked a little worn from the opening bell in his last fight. Rumors of hand injuries, family issues, and maybe just not taking Fury all that seriously may contributed to that. His speed wasn’t there and he never turned up the volume even while being down on the cards. That being said his chin hung in there and never showed signs of being finished. It’s hard to count him out because he can absolutely use his experience and his jab to dictate a slower pace and to keep Joshua from putting combinations together. I have to wonder how much better he can look at 41 years of age than he did in his last fight two years ago. If the Wladimir that showed up vs Fury shows up for Joshua I think it’s an easier fight to call.
Joshua on the other hand has showed all the promise in the world. Finishing 16 of 18 opponents inside of three rounds is alarming regardless the level of competition but Klitschko is light years better than anyone Joshua has had the joy of sharing the ring with. Watching him stagger fighters with combinations and pour it on when he smells blood is just what the boxing community needs and “you can only beat who they put in front of you.” AJ has said in interviews that he’s “looking for the knock out.” It’s a lot easier said than done when you consider kind of competition Wladimir has stood in front of his entire career. AJ does a great job of using half speed single shots to measure distance and lull fighters into thinking they can take a breath. This is where he plants his feet and lands his two and three strike combos. His power and accuracy is so violent that shots that are blocked still seem to stagger and hurt opponents. What he lacks in defense he makes up for in offense. This isn’t going to last forever but while he’s young and in his prime he’s going to be real trouble for anyone standing across from him.
After the end of 12 rounds I think you’re going to see two tired and beat up men. I like Joshua to get his hand raised on points.
After finishing my tape study and going back and forth I see too many ways Joshua can finish. There’s a lot of talk about not seeing AJ fight into the later rounds and how Klitschko has been doing it forever so he’s comfortable there. At 41 I see that as a detriment. What I was the most impressed with in my tape study was Joshua’s accuracy and speed in the clinch. Wladimir is going to want to slow the fight down and drag out the pace. He is going to want to tangle up AJ and force the ref to break them up. He’s going to have a hard time bullying AJ. I see this fight being close thru the first half but I think when Klitschko tries to get in close and hug up on Joshua in rounds 6, 7, or 8 he is going to get caught with his hands up/out reaching for a clinch only to get ripped up the middle by an upper cut from the young athletic English heavyweight.
I was going to say +550 for a decision victory for Joshua is a nice return on investment but I think you’re better off laying -110 for the KO/TKO.
Pick: 7th round KO for Anthony Joshua
Bets: 2 units Anthony Joshua -250 for game
1 unit Anthony Joshua by KO/TKO -110