IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston seeks the betting value in Sunday night’s cruiserweight attraction between the high profile Jake Paul and former UFC champion Tyron Woodley, and eyes an upset in the 140lbs clash between Montana Love and former IBF champion Ivan Baranchyk.
Novelty fight it may be, but betting odds have been offered and there’s been plenty of wagering action on the meeting between YouTube sensation Jake Paul and MMA veteran Tyron Woodley. Their scheduled eight-rounder in Paul’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, on Sunday will be televised on Showtime PPV in the USA and on BT Sport PPV in the UK.
This will be Paul’s fourth boxing match and his second against a former UFC star. The 190-pounder flattened Ben Askren with a big right hand in the opening round in April. It was easy money for Paul backers. Woodley, though, looks a lot more formidable than the flabby, out-of-shape Askren. However, Woodley is 39. He lost his last four UFC bouts and he is making his boxing debut.
Paul’s first two pro appearances were against novice boxers, both quickly stopped. Askren was chosen in part because striking was his weakness in the octagon. Woodley does seem to have a big right hand and, unlike Askren, he looks the part physically. So there is intrigue here.
In an MMA fight, Woodley would be favoured, obviously. But in a stand-up boxing match, I give Paul the edge. He’s the younger, bigger man, quite athletic, and he can can hit. Paul has been training as a boxer for about four years. I believe he takes his boxing seriously. Paul spars with pro boxers, and his trainer, BJ Flores, was, of course, a world-class cruiserweight.
However, Woodley has been training in Las Vegas, which includes getting tips from Floyd Mayweather, and he has brought a top-level trainer on board in Cuba’s Pedro Diaz. So Woodley, too, is coming to fight and coming to win.
Money has shown for Paul. He opened as a slight 7/5 favourite but we’re now seeing him 1/2 (-200) at Betfred. If you like Woodley’s chances, he is offered at 13/8. The fight doesn’t look likely to go the distance. Betfred offers 5/1 (+500) if you think this match-up goes the full eight rounds. Actually, that might be worth considering because Paul might show Woodley respect and use a moving, boxing style.
Paul has just signed a multi-fight deal with Showtime. He’s the A-side. I believe Woodley has been chosen with care as a significant step-up in competition but someone Paul can beat. I like Paul’s chances and -200 odds aren’t too bad.
On the Cleveland undercard, I lean towards unbeaten 140-pounder Montana Love pulling off the upset against Ivan Baranchyk. Betfred offers Love at 7/4 (+175).
Love is really stepping up in class here but I think he’s ready. He’s 26 years old and it’s time for him to take that major step forward in his career.
We know what we get with Baranchyk. It’s going to be non-stop pressure and lots of heavy hooks and right hands. This is fighter vs boxer. Baranchyk brings it, but Love has southpaw skills. He’s a clever counter puncher.
I think the timing of the fight is good for Love because if ever there was a time to be meeting Baranchyk, it’s now.
Hard fights might be catching up with Baranchyk. He was absolutely flattened in the fifth round in his wild fight with Jose Zepeda last October.
Fighters with a style built on all-out aggression can simply burn out. I’m not sure if Baranchyk has quite reached the “burnt out” stage just yet, but the Zepeda knockout won’t have done him any good.
Love isn’t a puncher but he’s a competent, smart boxer. He had a decent amateur background, boxing in national championship tournaments. Love has never been past eight rounds but I’m sure he’s ready for this bout’s scheduled distance of 10 rounds. He’s boxing at home in Cleveland.
Baranchyk gets awfully wild at times. I think that Love has the boxing ability to make Baranchyk miss and to keep popping him with jabs and left hands. Baranchyk is the puncher in the fight, but if Love can land well-timed shots he can give the Russian-born crowd-pleaser something to think about and perhaps slow him down a bit.
This is going to be like a world title fight for Love, with the home crowd behind him. It’s an intriguing match-up and Love will have to reach a new level if he is to win. I think he can do it.
Main image: Amanda Westcott/Showtime.