IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston seeks the betting value in tonight’s heavyweight encounter between Daniel Dubois and Bogdan Dinu and Sunday’s high-profile exhibition featuring Floyd Mayweather against Logan Paul.

Daniel Dubois’ return to the ring against Bogdan Dinu in the UK today is the big fight of the week while for many the big “event” will be Floyd Mayweather’s eight-round exhibition against YouTube personality Logan Paul in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Sunday.

Let’s look at Dubois vs Dinu first. This is a scheduled 12-rounder for the vacant WBA interim heavyweight title, with Telford the venue.

When last seen in the ring, in his much-anticipated bout with Joe Joyce, Dubois suffered a severe swelling over the left eye and took a knee after Joyce landed a left jab directly on his eye.

Although Dubois was in front on points on two of the judges’ cards he did seem to be tiring and would probably have lost even without his eye injury.

It was a bitter experience but also one from which Dubois should have learned. After 15 wins in a row (14 KOs) he discovered what it was like to be in with an unyielding opponent who could stand up to his best punches and come back banging.

True, Dubois lost the fight, but he can gain solace from the fact that he won most of the completed rounds. Also, he landed the sort of punches that might have wilted a lot of big men. But Joyce has an excellent chin and tremendous staying power. He just wouldn’t go away.

While Dinu is nowhere near as formidable as Joyce, he’s a big man at 6ft 5ins and 240 pounds, he has a respectable record (20-2, 16 KOs), and he was a top-level amateur, representing Romania in the European and World championships. Given that Dubois is coming into the bout after a KO loss, I believe Dinu is acceptable as an opponent.

However, Dubois is obviously a prohibitive favourite. Dinu doesn’t have what we now call a “signature win” on his record. He’s beaten opponents he was heavily favoured to defeat. Both of his losses were by KO.

Dinu is 34 and I think we’ve seen the best of him. Dubois is only 23. He feels he has improved under the direction of his new trainer, Shane McGuigan. Dubois talks of wanting to produce a “devastating” performance.

I’m taking Dubois at his word. I believe he will come out looking to hurt Dinu and get him out of the fight. Dinu might be able to jab, land some right hands and use movement for a while, but it seems inevitable that Dubois will catch up with him sooner or later. 

Dinu isn’t a durable, strong, heavy-handed fighter with a thudding jab like Joe Joyce. While Dinu might have some initial success, as he did in his KO losses against Big Baby Miller and Kubrat Pulev, I can’t see him keeping Dubois at bay for too many rounds. The oddsmaker feels the same. 

If you want to bet on Dubois by KO TKO DQ you’re looking at a price of 1/5 (-500) at Betfred. An early win for Dubois looks likely, thus the over/under has been set at 3.5 rounds (4/5 for the “over”; 10/11 for the “under”). 

As ever the proposition market is tricky. Dinu lasted into the fourth round against the huge Big Baby Miller and he went out in the seventh against Pulev. Dinu actually looked in with a chance of upsetting Pulev when he landed right hands in the fourth round to have the Bulgarian veteran bloodied from a cut over the eye. 

So, it would seem quite possible for Dinu to take Dubois into the second half of the fourth round.

For instance, Dubois might be working on some technical aspects of his boxing in his first fight with Shane McGuigan in his corner. Dubois knows that Dinu can punch a bit so he might choose to move in carefully behind the jab. 

If Dubois catches Dinu squarely, though, the big fellow from Romania is likely to hit the canvas. Guessing when this might happen is where things get difficult.

Richard Lartey went four rounds with Dubois, and Nathan Gorman went five. But Dubois needed fewer than two rounds to KO each of his last three opponents before meeting Joyce. So, as ever, the total-rounds proposition becomes something of a guessing game.

In round-group betting, Dubois in rounds 1-6 looks enticing but the admittance price is on the high side at 2/5 (-250). Dubois to win in rounds 7-12 is available at 9/2 (+450). But with Dubois pressing forward and looking to do damage, it’s touch-and-go whether Dinu can hang in there past the sixth, and the odds reflect this.

Out of all the proposition bets offered, my preference would be a small investment in the over 3.5 rounds, but this is a best-guess rather than a solid opinion. 

Then we have Mayweather vs Paul. It’s scheduled for eight three-minute rounds, no headguards, 10-ounce gloves. Mayweather is 44. The last time we saw him in the ring he brutally KO’d the much smaller kickboxing kid, Tenshin, in a so-called exhibition in Japan in December 2018. As I remember it, Tenshin broke down in tears. It was an embarrassment, but it was easy money for Mayweather. Before this, Mayweather stopped MMA star Conor McGregor in the 10th round of an official boxing match four years ago.

Mayweather is something like a 1/8 (-800) favourite against Paul at those books that are offering odds. You might wonder how things will work from a wagering perspective. There will be no official decision. Nor will there be an unofficial verdict.

However, a KO or TKO is allowed. So, if there isn’t a stoppage, and the exhibition goes the full eight rounds, all bets will be voided. If either man wins inside the distance, that’s the winning bet.

I think the organisers have missed the boat by not having a decision option as part of the event. Why not have three boxing reporters score the bout and give a decision, as in the old days of “newspaper decisions”? Or even three past or present boxers?

Part of the PPV success of the Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr exhibition, in my opinion, was that people had the betting option of a decision. (If you remember, Vinny Paz, Christy Martin and Chad Dawson scored the event and provided an unofficial verdict.) A decision — even an unofficial one — would have added interest to Mayweather vs Paul, at least as far as the sporting public is concerned.

As things stand, anyone planning to bet on Mayweather vs Paul will basically be betting on their choice scoring a KO.

If you’re a big hitter and don’t mind laying the price on Floyd, it’s a no-brainer. Mayweather would not have agreed to this thing if he felt there was a chance he could get knocked out. 

So, if you bet on Mayweather and he wins inside the distance, you have a winning bet. If this goes the limit, your money is refunded. It all seems too easy, although laying eight to win one has never seemed a good idea to me.

For those who think Paul can use his youth, size and strength to overpower Mayweather, you can find odds of 9/2 (+450). But a strong novice to stop one of the modern era’s greats, even if a 40 something great? Good luck with that.

Main image: Queensberry Promotions.