IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston surveys a busy weekend of betting action featuring the heavyweight collision between WBA heavyweight belt holder Trevor Bryan and Londoner Daniel Dubois.
So many fights, so little time to break them all down.It’s another heavy schedule. Let’s get to it.
I like Daniel Dubois by KO against Trevor Bryan in tonight’s heavyweight title fight in Florida. Dubois is the more powerful fighter and the superior physical specimen. Bryan might be able to box well enough to be somewhat competitive for a while but he’s never faced anyone with Dubois’ power.
Unfortunately, Dubois is now a prohibitive favourite (1/14 at Betfred). I don’t think a challenger has ever been this huge a favourite in a heavyweight title bout in ring history.
So, we can’t lay the price on Dubois as a money line bet. What of the proposition market? The over/under has been set for 3.5 rounds with an admission price of 5/6 (-120) pick ’em. There might be some value there. Bryan seems like a fairly durable sort. He has some boxing ability. While Dubois has knocked out a lot of opponents quickly, Nathan Gorman did take him into the fifth round. And I think we’d probably rate Bryan at least a little higher than Gorman.
With heavyweights, anything can happen, at any time, especially with a puncher like Dubois in the ring, but I don’t think we’ll see an early blowout. Dubois is likely to be patient, knowing he has 12 rounds to work with, and Bryan is on home ground. I think Bryan has enough ability and pride to stay in there for three-and-a-half rounds although if you are on the “over” proposition you will have your heart in your mouth every moment the fight lasts.
Richard Riakporhe should punch too hard for Fabio Turchi in tonight’s 12-round cruiser bout in London. The southpaw Turchi is a strong, gutsy fighter but he is hittable and Riakporhe can really crack with the right hand. Turchi was a bit busted up in his loss to Tommy McCarthy but he hung in there and kept trying to win. I believe he will give it a good effort. Some outlets offer Riakporhe to win in rounds 7-12 at 2/1 (+200). That could be worth a look.
And, back in the US, we have Edgar Berlanga in action in a fight that should tell us a lot about whether or not he can rise to the status of contender..
Berlanga once looked like a veritable KO machine — but not so much lately. He faces a tough veteran in Roamer Alexis Angulo at Madison Square Garden’s downstairs theatre.
It’s difficult to have a lot faith in Berlanga after recent showings but this looks a winnable fight for the New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage. Angulo came in 1.6lbs over the 168lbs weight limit for the bout and apparently declined to try to lose the excess. What’s all that about?
Betfred offers Berlanga at 4/11 (-275). That’s not a bad price when you consider that Angulo is 37 years old and hardly won a round in step-up fights against Zurdo Ramirez and David Benavidez.
Berlanga has a new trainer in Juan De Leon, and he prepared in Puerto Rico for this fight, away from distractions at home in New York. So it does seem that Berlanga is focused.
There will likely be big support for Berlanga at the Garden, as the fight ties in with the Puerto Rican Day parade. And the shrewd matchmakers at Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing don’t make many mistakes.
If Berlanga sticks to sound, basic boxing and doesn’t try too hard for the KO I think he can win rounds against the slow, one-paced Colombian veteran. Although Berlanga’s last three fights went the distance he has the power to keep opponents boxing warily even if he doesn’t actually get them out of the fight.
We have two British title bouts on the same show at Telford, with 122lbs champion Marc Leach defending against local boxer Liam Davies in the main event. In the chief supporting contest, old rivals Quaise “Kaisy” Khademi and Ijaz Ahmed meet for the vacant British 115-pound title.
Leach, impressive when outclassing Chris Bourke, is offered at 1/3 (-300). Davies is boxing on home ground and he’s a competent stand-up boxer. But this is a huge step-up for him.
However, Davies is unbeaten and as always with an undefeated boxer we can’t really be sure of the level he can reach. At 11/4 (+275) I think Davies could be considered as an underdog play but he’ll have to box above and beyond anything he has shown before.
As for Khademi and Ahmed, they’ve fought twice now and each bout was extremely close — a narrow and somewhat debatable win for Ahmed, and a 12-round draw. The oddsmaker sees Khademi as the better fighter and he’s favoured at around 8/13 (-160). I think Khademi’s superior skills will likely get him over the line this time, but Ahmed is the sort of gutsy over-achiever who will be in there giving it all he’s got and I don’t like betting against this sort of tenacious battler.
Main image: Bryan (left) and Dubois (right) contest a WBA heavyweight title belt tonight. Photo: David Martin-Warr/DKP.