Canelo vs. Smith: Boxing Preview

Boxing megastar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) returns to action this Saturday night. He looks to take the WBA and Ring Magazine super-middleweight titles from undefeated Callum Smith (27-0-0, 19 KOs.) Alvarez will be defending the WBA World Super Middleweight Championship for the first time in an attempt to unify the belts.

Ahead of the big bout at the Alamodome in San Antonio, below are the talking points to factor in before you place your bets.

We usually discuss power in these previews in the form of knockout percentages and this preview is no different. Despite the massive experience gap in favor of Canelo,Smith comes out ahead in this category 70% to Canelo’s 68%.

This isn’t too much of a disadvantage though as Canelo is the favorite for good reason [Canelo: -650, Smith: +425]. This is due to some of the same things discussed in our last boxing preview for Triple G’s return–experience and quality of Canelo’s opponents.

Also, whatever power he gives up to Smith he makes up for by being one of the greatest combo punchers of all time. His answer to Smith’s power should come in the form of body shots but he is a threat to your body and head regardless. 

Smith has the edge in height (6’ 3 to 5’9) and long arms meaning we should see some things from odd angles. His jab and right straight are expected to win him some rounds, but this one should be more in Canelo’s favor as the fight goes on. 

Tom Gray told The Ring magazine, “Canelo will have to work to get inside Smith’s rangy jab and take the risk of being hit by something massive from both sides. If he’s pedestrian with his pace, as he was against Kovalev, then he could fall behind and be forced to play catchup. 

The issue I have is that this fight was confirmed very late. Smith will have been training for it physically, but could he really be 100-percent locked in for the biggest fight of his life before it was officially signed and sealed? A Smith knockout is a possibility, but Canelo has looked bulletproof under fire, so I see this one going the distance.”

Other sites are predicting this fight ends in roughly nine rounds, but we think the youngSmith will at least hear the final bell.

Prediction: Canelo defeats Smith by unanimous decision

Joshua vs. Pulev Boxing Preview

This Saturday night marks the return of one of the best boxers in the world, Anthony Joshua. Three of the four major heavyweight titles will be on the line as Joshua faces Kubrat Pulev. As one might expect, Joshua is the heavy favorite (Anthony Joshua -1000 vs. Kubrat Pulev +650). OddsUSA will tell you why.

One reason Joshua is favored is because of how well he rebounded in his rematch with Andy Ruiz. The bout went to a decision but Joshua dominated all night, redeeming himself before Ruiz even had one title defense.

Looking at the physical stats of both men, Joshua is eight years younger than Pulev, who has to be nearing the end of his road. Joshua also has both a two-inch height and reach advantage. Joshua also has experience training with Pulev’s opponents.

“I’ve known Kubrat Pulev for many years. I was in the training camp when his brother (Tervel) was sparring Warren Baister. I was in Wladimir Klitschko’s camp when he was preparing for Pulev. I understand some of the tactics that need to go into beating Kubrat Pulev. I’m prepared for it to go the full 12 rounds… I feel like I’m a 15-round fighter,” Joshua told The Ring magazine.

Additionally, Pulev has the tendency to draw fights out. He’s boxed 203 total rounds according to Box.live for an average fight length of seven rounds. He is “batting 500” so to speak when it comes to putting opponents away, having a KO percentage of 50. Meanwhile Joshua is at 91 percent and usually gets things done in just over four rounds.

Box.live described Joshua as follows:

“As a boxer, Joshua is the total package. Despite starting late, he has sharp technical skills, and he boasts superb athleticism. And, of course, the fans love a knockout puncher, and he has shown that he possesses that kind of brutal, fight-changing power.”

Other previews have mentioned not to expect fireworks because of how tactical Pulev is and while Joshua is a finisher he won’t run into anything. 

Top Rank’s Bob Arum said more bluntly, “I believe Kubrat will be able to match Joshua with boxing ability and will have an opportunity to catch Joshua and knock him out. Pulev is very strong and has good pedigree, so Joshua won’t be able to run and do what he did to Ruiz in the rematch.”

Prediction: Anthony Joshua def. Kubrat Pulev by decision

Can Errol Spence Jr. Retain His Titles Against Danny Garcia?

As another weekend approaches, there are more fights to look forward to. The boxing world will have its eyes on Errol Spence Jr. and Danny Garcia’s title fight this Saturday night. The action goes down at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas but until then, educate yourself with our preview.

The defending champion should be the favorite, and Spence Jr. is – he’s currently sitting at -500. “The Truth” is unbeaten at 26-0 with 21 knockouts. However, there is concern as Spence Jr. is returning to the ring after a car accident that he says nearly cost him his life.

“I think angels were with me. I didn’t break any bones. Doctors couldn’t believe it. For someone to get ejected from the Ferrari, and land on the concrete. The only thing that was hurting was my neck, my hip, and both my shoulders. My shoulder was scraped up, and my leg was scraped up. I should have lost my life that night, he told the “All The Smoke” podcast.

While Garcia might be underestimated in this fight because of the two losses on his record, SB Nation mentioned both bouts were competitive. According to Box.live “Swift” last entered the ring roughly 10 months ago while Spence Jr has been sidelined for over a year. He also has the experience edge, debuting in 2007 while Spence Jr. debuted in 2012.

When it comes to how they fight, again we refer you back to SB Nation’s Scott Christ.

Christ wrote, “Garcia was not an opponent to take lightly. Never has been. Yes, he’s got two losses, but both were very competitive, and he has held belts at 140 and 147. He’s a crafty, smart boxer who doesn’t get himself in trouble often, has some pop — particularly in his counter left hook — and has been on the world title level for nearly a decade now.

Also of note is that statistically, southpaws like Garcia are at an advantage.

Per ExpertBoxing.com, “The orthodox fighter will always be at a disadvantage against a southpaw because he doesn’t train his offense and defense regularly to mimic southpaw opponents. In contrast, the southpaw is far more comfortable against orthodox opponents. His offense and defense has always been tailored for orthodox opponents.”

Spence Jr. has the better knockout rate (81 percent compared to 58 percent via Box.live). This means he also has the shorter average fight time (4.6 rounds to Garcia’s 6.8 rounds.) That’s something OddsUSA can’t ignore. He also views the pandemic as extended recovery time.

“This pandemic really [has] been helping me out a lot. Basically, recovery, taking my time and getting back. I’m already back; I’m 100%…No restrictions in my training except sparring. I can’t spar yet because I got my teeth knocked out, and they put three posts in my mouth. Once they heal, I get my permanent teeth, and then I’ll be able to spar,” Spence Jr. said previously.

Spence may look a little rusty perhaps and it will take time to get momentum going, the champ should still pick up another ‘W’.

Prediction: Errol Spence def. Danny Garcia by KO TKO to retain his titles

Crawford vs. Brook Betting Prediction: Does Crawford Stay Perfect?

This Sunday one of the current pound-for-pound best boxers in the world, Terence Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) defends his WBO welterweight championship against Kell Brook (39-2, 27 KOs). The action goes down at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Crawford is the favorite, but why? Let’s take a deep dive!

Crawford Betting Preview: Crawford’s Body of Work

Not only is Crawford undefeated with 27 KOs, but he has also not had a fight even go the distance in more than four years (a win over Victor Postal). He is currently riding a four-fight KO/TKO streak (winning the title plus three defenses.) He has also won titles in three weight classes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 Crawford’s least active year in terms of fights on record but if he had any minor, nagging injuries (all combat sports athletes fight hurt to some degree) he’s had time to deal with them and be rested.

Brooks Betting Preview: Brooks’ Rough Patch

Brook has been stringing wins together between 2018 to February 2020 (3-0, 2 KO/TKOs) but these aren’t reflective of the last time was at welterweight. As far as this division, Kell is the underdog and should be. He’s coming off the only losses of his pro career and consecutive losses at that (with one at middleweight to Triple G).

Boxing Scene’s Keith Idec wrote, “In Brook’s previous appearance, his trainer, Dominic Ingle, threw in the towel to stop his fight against Gennadiy Golovkin in the fifth round. Brook suffered a broken right eye socket during that brutal bout, for which Brook admirably moved up from welterweight to middleweight.”

His lone loss at welterweight cost him a belt against Errol Spence Jr. and he didn’t look good at the end of it. 

Edic wrote, “Brook, bothered by a fractured orbital bone around his left eye, took a knee in the 11th round versus Spence. The former IBF welterweight champion didn’t answer referee Howard John Foster’s count in time and was stopped in a second straight bout.”

In the boxing world of slowly building up records (or padding them depending on your perspective, every loss matters. Even with only a few on your record, you can get written off. On top of those defeats, Brook has been a welterweight for three years.

Will Brooks’ New Trainer Alter the Outcome?

On fight night Brook will be without Ingle, his usual trainer, as Ingle does not wish to travel during the pandemic. It’s hard to say what impact this could have but it’s something to keep in mind as this doesn’t seem like a one-time change but rather a relationship ending.

“Realistically, Kell doesn’t need to be anywhere else but Sheffield. Why would you take the risk? During these times, why would you take the risk to go abroad? He’s in a big fight with Crawford,” Ingle told IFL TV.

“Whether it’s an exercise in saving money or whatever it is, that’s down to him. I don’t know who is training him. We haven’t fallen out. We’re never going to fall out. He does his own thing. Like I say, he’s 34, he has three kids, he’s made his money. We’ve had a good run,” Ingle said

Brooks is now working with trainer Carlos Formento. He is, to quote Brook, “He’s a guy I followed on Instagram because I like his style. The first day, I knew that we gelled unbelievably. He is basically obsessed. He is passionate. And that’s everything I need in this fight.”

Regardless of how well the duo are gelling, Brook’s relationship with Ingle spanned years and I believe he is now at a disadvantage.

Crawford vs. Brooks Betting Prediction: Terence Crawford defeats Kell Brook by KO/TKO

Since Crawford was 24-0 in 2014, he’s had several 12-round fights, as this next one will be on Sunday. He’s earned ten stoppage wins at roughly the midway point or beyond if you include a win over Hank Lundyin Round 5 of 12. Expect finish but it may come late.

FanDuel Odds for a Crawford Win by KO/TKO: -210

Haney vs. Gamboa Betting Prediction: Why Haney Will Drop Gamboa

Combat sports media personality Luke Thomas said on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience that fighting is a sport in which “the elderly get eaten.” That appears to be the situation that 38-year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa is walking into.

Gamboa faces 21-year-old undefeated WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (24-0-0,15 KOs) on November 7 and OddsUSA expects Haney to earn his next knockout. Why? Well, more than just Gamboa’s age. 

Boxing is a sport so oversaturated with championship titles that the fact Gamboa is fighting for one this weekend is misleading. He is fresh off a stoppage loss to Gevonta Davis. “What’s the big deal? That fight was almost a year ago in December 2019” some of you might be saying.

Gamboa has been declining for the last seven years. As ProBoxing-Fans.com notes, he won his debut at lightweight in 2013 but gave up a year of his career to legal issues. When he fought again in 2014, Terrance Crawford stopped him in nine rounds after four knockdowns.

He earned 3 victories before being dropped twice and retiring (in the case of a single fight this means a fighter or their corner ending a fight between rounds for newer fans) in seventh against Robinson Castellanos. 

Gamboa would win another three before facing Davis, during which Davis put him down three times before the stoppage, in part due to an achilles tear. Haney is the heavy favorite (-2400) and for good reason as this bout is meant to showcase or further develop Haney prior to facing Teofimo Lopez.

Haney Betting Prediction: Why Haney is Such a Heavy Favorite

Haney, who has a six-inch reach advantage over Gamboa plus a KO and two retirement winsin his last six bout has been respectful to Gamboa. This seems to be a tactic to make him appear more of a challenge than he is to increase the number of event buys. 

“Yuriokis Gamboa is a dangerous and experienced fighter,” Haney said. “He’s a former unified world champion, and he has been in the ring with some of the best. He hurt Terence Crawford with a big shot, so his power is not to be ignored. He beat Orlando Salido who beat Vasiliy Lomachenko. 

Less than a year ago he took Gervonta Davis into the 12th round, something no one has ever been able to do. Gamboa is a true warrior and I’m not taking him lightly…”

Place your prop bets on the number of knockdowns against Gamboa now! We at Odds USA expect this one to end in Round 7 or 8.

Prediction: Devin Haney def. Yuriorkis Gamboa by KO/TKO