IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston looks for the betting value in tonight’s huge heavyweight fight between unbeaten Londoners Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce.

After postponements and uncertainty, it’s finally happening: Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce meet in the big British heavyweight showdown today.

Dubois opened as the clear favourite. He’s still the favourite but at slightly wider odds.

Going by the betting line, the sporting public clearly likes Dubois to win. He is seen as the more polished boxer and the more explosive puncher. Dubois has one of those thudding left jabs. He puts punches together in an educated manner. “He doesn’t waste anything,” as they say in the trade. Dubois lets his shots go in a deliberate manner. And Dubois is the younger man.

Joyce has the amateur pedigree. He fought at world level in the amateurs, winning an Olympic silver medal that many felt should have been gold. So Joyce’s deep amateur background has to be considered. Joyce is a big, strong man who keeps coming forward. He has a good jab and he keeps the punches flowing. At times, he seems willing to take two to give four. He is difficult to discourage. Joyce is taller than  Dubois and will outweigh him (258lbs 14oz  to Dubois’ 244lbs 6oz).

Those who like Dubois’ chances in the fight see him as being too skilled and packing superior firepower. Joyce backers will point out that “Juggernaut” Joe has faced the tougher opposition,  that he is more seasoned (factoring in his amateur experience), the bigger man and that he has shown he can tough it out in what old-time New York writers would describe as “You hit me, I hit you” fights.

But it’s an inescapable fact that Joyce does get hit a lot. Attack is his best defence. Will Joyce be able to absorb Dubois’ bombs and keep piling on the pressure? And will Dubois start to wilt if he is unable to take Joyce out or slow him down — if Joyce is still there and still bringing the fight to him as the rounds go by?

These are the questions fans and bettors are asking. The widely held view is that Dubois’ best chance is to do damage early and make it a short fight, while a long, drawn-out war of attrition favours Joyce. That seems a reasonable way to look at this fight.  But in so many instances a boxing match doesn’t play out according to the script, especially when heavyweights are in the ring.

I favour Dubois. I think he is the more “balanced out” fighter (to use an Emanuel Steward term). Dubois’ jab will be a key weapon, I believe. But do I want to lay the price of 3/10 (Betfred)? I don’t think so.

This leaves us trying to find a way to bet on the fight that has the promise of a winning wager but without serious exposure.

Dubois by KO TKO DQ is priced at 8/15 (-187) at Betfred. That’s a good bet if you have your mind made up that “Dynamite” Dubois is going to live up to his nickname.

If you like Joyce to win the fight, you basically get +300 (3/1) across the betting board. That’s a nice price for a fighter of Joyce’s calibre. If you feel Joyce can wear down Dubois and belabour him to defeat inside the distance, Joyce by KO TKO DQ at 11/2 (+550) at Betfred is going to be appealing. 

Not quite sure who will win? Well, there are propositions worth considering. I doubt the fight goes the full 12 rounds. So do the oddsmakers. A bet on “fight not to go the distance” has an entry price of 2/7 (-350). That’s an expensive ticket although I personally feel pretty sure it cashes.

For a more reasonably outlay, we look to the “total rounds” market. There are two plays here that I really like. There is the “over 5.5” rounds at 4/6 (-150) and the “under 7.5” at the same price. I believe these bets have equal merit. 

Neither man figures to get blown out early. But at some point, one feels, one of these fighters is going to “go”. I personally see the finish coming between the fifth and eighth rounds.

It’s a toss-up which of these bets to choose. I lean towards the fight ending inside seven and a half rounds. But this is one of those fights where anything can happen. Unless you have a rock-solid opinion on the outcome, it’s probably best to tread lightly. 

As a straight pick, with the big fight almost upon us, I’ll guess at Dubois TKO7.

Main image: Queensberry Promotions.