On Saturday night, the world’s best heavyweight, Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), takes on journeyman Carlos Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs) at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. It is Joshua’s first fight since his scintillating victory over Wladimir Klitschko back on April 29.
At the moment, Joshua is the biggest star in boxing, so it was a disappointment when Kubrat Pulev had to pull out of this fight with a strained pectoral muscle. Rather than scrap Joshua from the card entirely, his handler Eddie Hearn made a deal with Takam’s side to get a huge payday in return for getting his teeth punched in.
The odds, as expected, are astronomical. Joshua is listed as a -5000 favorite with Takam priced at +1300. Even though Takam and his team will do their best to remind everyone that one punch can change everything, there’s no reason to get out of hand by backing either fighter.
Where there is action to be had, however, is on the over/under. Right now, the O/U is set at 4.5 rounds, which is extremely low for a title fight. Of course, this isn’t an ordinary fight. We are talking about one of the best boxers on the planet fighting a 36-year-old also-ran on 12 days notice.
For the over to cash, Takam needs to be able to last 13 minutes and 31 seconds in the ring against Joshua, and I think he can do that. Even though the Cameroon-born Takam hasn’t defeated anyone of note, he has lost to a pair of good heavyweights in Alexander Povetkin and Joseph Parker.
Takam lost to Povetkin, who you may remember from failing multiple drug tests in the build up to his scheduled fight with American heavyweight Deontay Wilder, back in 2014. The fight took place in Povetkin’s home country of Russia, and Takam was able to hang in against the roided up Russian until the 10th round.
Even though that fight took place during Povetkin’s prime, he’s nowhere near the fighter that Joshua is. Still, Takam hung in there with a guy who was considered one of the best heavyweights in the world at the time.
After collecting three more wins over nobodies, Takam was slated to fight the much-hyped prospect Joseph Parker of New Zealand. Like Joshua, Parker is a young slugger of a heavyweight without a loss. Not only did Takam take Parker the distance, but he closed some rounds well during the fight.
Once again, it is important to mention that Joshua is a much better fighter than Parker, but this was a fight set up for Parker to put Takam to sleep in front of his home fans, and he couldn’t do it. It was a gutsy effort from the underdog.
This fight is clearly set up for Joshua to rack up his 20th knockout in 20 professional fights. Neither he nor his promoters would take a short-notice opponent if that wasn’t the case. But Takam and his team know that. They know Joshua is going to be hunting the show-closer from the opening bell. They won’t have much time to prepare for the fight, so Takam will be in survival mode from the onset. If he is conservative and doesn’t try something crazy like go for a KO himself, we could be well into the third round before Joshua even comes close to breaking him. At that point, we’d be in good shape to cash the over.
Pick: Over 4.5 rounds -115