If you were with us last weekend, you cashed as Carlos Takam impressively took Anthony Joshua into the 10th round before the ref stopped the fight. Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) may have underwhelmed, but he suffered a broken nose from an accidental head butt early in the fight and didn’t seem to find a real rhythm until Takam wore down.
Joshua’s win means he held up his end of the bargain as the boxing world awaits a showdown between the young British champion and America’s heavyweight champion, Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), who will defend his WBC title against Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs).
This wasn’t the fight that anybody wanted, as Wilder was originally slated to face Luis "King Kong" Ortiz on this card, but the Cuban failed another drug test and was removed from the card. It was a huge blow to the division, as boxing fans had long hoped that Ortiz, who was avoided like the plague by his fellow heavyweights, would get a shot at Wilder and the winner would take on Joshua.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and Stiverne, who inexplicably was the WBC mandatory challenger and accepted a $675,000 check to step aside for Ortiz vs. Wilder, was added to the card for an undeserved rematch with Wilder, who dismantled Stiverne in a unanimous decision win in January, 2015.
One thing that Stiverne can use to instill confidence ahead of this upcoming clash at the Barclays Center is that he is the only man to go the distance against Wilder. But that is some snake oil. In fact, you could argue that Wilder’s performance against Stiverne was a stepping stone for the 32-year-old American. The Tuscaloosa native often is criticized for a lack of polish in the ring and that he is a one-trick pony with career-changing power in his right hand, but in that fight Wilder dismantled a lethargic Stiverne from bell to bell to win the WBC belt.
Since then, Wilder has earned five straight stoppage wins, albeit against less than stunning opposition. On the other hand, Stiverne has fought just once since his loss to Wilder, an unimpressive showing against journeyman Derric Rossy almost two years ago to the day.
Unsurprisingly, the odds are out of this world with Wilder listed as a -2000 favorite and Stiverne a +1000 underdog at BetOnline. The over/under has been set at 9.5 rounds, but the under is juiced at -315 with the over paying out +255.
It is hard to argue against the under, even at that juice, but aside from that there is one prop being offered that caught my eye, and that is Wilder to close the show in the opening round at +1200.
It may seem counterintuitive given how the first fight went, but this is a completely different scenario. Stiverne took the fight on short notice and is already severely overmatched. Wilder isn’t here to drag him along and give the fans a show. He wants to get past this fight so he can grab the microphone after it’s over and call out Anthony Joshua.
Picks: Under 9.5 rounds -315, Wilder to win in Round 1 +1200
[Photo: Marvin Gentry, USA Today]