News in Boxing Boxing news, schedule, fight dates, previews, odds, predictions and results. We celebrate the legacy of all things boxing and provide health & fitness coverage Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:33:20 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Pacquiao vs Horn: Would it be the biggest fight in Australian history? Pacquiao vs Horn: Would it be the biggest fight in Australian history?
Manny Pacquiao's next fight against Jeff Horn won't be in the U.S. or Macau, China.

In stark contrast to his previous bouts the last 10 years, the fight legend will likely defend his WBO welterweight title in Australia or The Middle East. And according to, the new 52,500-capacity Suncorp Stadium in Horne's native Brisbane is a strong candidate for the venue should it land 'Down Under.'

“Jeff Horn against Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium can showcase Brisbane to the world," Dean Lonergan, head of Duco Promotions, recently told

"It is a truly global sporting contest pitting one of the greatest boxers in history against a young clean-cut Queensland kid who is a qualified schoolteacher and a great role model for all young Australians."

Jeff was selected as Pacquiao's opponent for one reason... He's Australian, and promoters on both sides are optimistic PacMan would be a big hit 'Down Under' should the fight take place there.

Would Pacquiao vs Horne be the biggest fight in Australian history?

From a revenue-generating perspective, it certainly can be. And if Horn pulls off the upset, it would likely be one of the top two fights in Aussie history based on sheer significance.

Let's not forget about the legendary Jack Johnson's knockout of then heavyweight champion Tommy Burns in 1908 in Sydney. Johnson would become the world's first black heavyweight champion and help pave the way for the acceptance of people of color in all professional sports.

... But back to Pacquiao vs Horn.

It certainly makes business sense as Manny's stock appears to be tapped in the U.S.

Despite his awesome performances in 2016 against Tim Bradley and Jessie Vargas, the 38 year old Pacquiao, as a fighter, is seemingly down on his luck these days as those bouts generated little interest Stateside.

As the old saying goes: "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

While Pacquiao vs Horn would tank in the U.S., regardless of its location, it would be a big deal in Australia (and possibly New Zealand) if the fight took place 'Down Under.' 

Hence, that part of the world rarely hosts fights with a legitimate, international star on the card. Moreover, Pacquiao vs Horn would have tremendous historical significance given Manny's stature in boxing and the sports world.

Jeff Fenech, David Tua, Danny Green and Joseph Parker are certainly big names in the Australia/New Zealand region but Manny Pacquiao is on another level. He's a mainstream international icon who would be on Aussie soil to face one of their own.

How often does something like that happen in Australia?

Answer: Almost never

Novelties sell, and Pacquiao vs Horn would be a novelty of sorts to Aussies.

If promoted well, it could be the most significant fight in modern-day Aussie history, and the most lucrative Aussie bout ever.

]]> (Lee Cleveland) News Sat, 21 Jan 2017 06:49:08 +0000
Canelo vs Chavez Jr odds: Julio will be facing two opponents? Canelo vs Chavez Jr odds: Julio will be facing two opponents?
On May 6, Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) faces Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (50-2-1, 32 KOs) in a bout that might be one the biggest of the year.

According to, Canelo is a sizeable favorite, as of January 20. The smaller Alvarez sits at (-850) while Jr is positioned at (+550).

The odds shouldn't surprise anyone... Or should they?

Although he's the naturally smaller warrior, Canelo is considered by most a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter and has sizzled in the ring the last several years.

Chavez Jr, on the otherhand, was red hot until he tasted defeat for the first time against Sergio Martinez in September 2012. Since then, he's had problems getting in top shape, and has subsequently underperformed in the ring. Julio is 4-2 in his last six bouts but could arguably be 3-3 as his first win against Brian Vera was highly disputable.

Moreover, Chavez has had only 6 fights in the last 4/12 years and hasn't scored a knockout since Summer 2012 (Andy Lee).

The odds are reflective of a fight between a star on the rise and a star on the decline. But do they reflect the fact Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will be fighting two opponents?


Despite boxing's middleweight limit of 160 lbs, middleweights Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez will fight at a negotiated limit of 164.5 lbs.


Typically, the A-side fighter will use his leverage to negotiate a catchweight when facing an opponent his size or, in most cases, naturally bigger.

In cases where one fighter has a clear size advantage, the proposing team will insist the catchweight makes the match-up more even. However, what they are really doing is using their leverage and attempting to gain the upper hand before the fight even starts.

The Canelo vs Chavez catchweight limit of 164.5 pounds stacks the odds heavily in Canelo's favor because Julio's weight problems are well-known. If he couldn't make 164.5 lbs three years ago at 27, how is he going to do it, comfortably, at 30?

Hence, Chavez will not only be fighting Alvarez, he'll be fighting his weight all during training.

When a fighter Chavez must enter the ring extra light, he is forced to make "weight loss" a primary focus in the weeks leading up to the bout. As a result, it can disrupt the flow of his normal training regimen and shift the focus from his opponent.

Should Chavez Jr manage to make the weight limit, he's also likely to be weak and drawn during the bout. Given his height and frame, he should really be fighting at 168 or 175 lbs.

Catchweights, like the one imposed for this bout, give a bigger fighter with less leverage than his opponent something else to worry about during training and, in many ways, can act as a second opponent.

Incidentally, should Chavez be unable to make weight, there will likely be a major fine imposed, forcing Julio to relinquish part of his purse to Canelo.

]]> (Lee Cleveland) News Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:28:01 +0000
Boxing Schedule 2017 Boxing Schedule 2017
Here's your first boxing schedule for 2017, covering HBO, Showtime, BoxNation, Sky Sports and PBC.

Compared to the dramatics of 2013, 2014 and 2015, 2016 wasn't exactly a banner year for boxing.

Will 2017 be much better? So far, it's looking that way.

Our boxing schedule, which will be updated every 72 hours, showcases the high-profile remaining in December and confirmed fights for 2017.

Are you excited about 2017?

Will we see Manny Pacquiao vs Vasyl Lomachenko or Terence Crawford? What about Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko, David Haye or Deontay Wilder?

Gennady Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez anyone? How about Amir Khan vs Kell Brook? And will boxing produce its own Ronda Rousey.

Will Floyd Mayweather come out of retirement?

And what's next for Andre Ward? Will he rematch Kovalev or is Adonis Stevenson on the horizon?

And will 48 year-old fight legend Roy Jones Jr finally hang 'em up in 2017?


High-Profile and Semi High-Profile Fights Only *
For a more in-depth schedule that includes lower-profile bouts, visit the ESPN Boxing Schedule

Updated January 21, 2017

Trenton, N.J.

Zab Judah vs. Jorge Luis Munguia
10 rounds, welterweights


Las Vegas

Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz, rematch
12 rounds, for Frampton's WBA featherweight title
Ahh yes!

Dejan Zlaticanin vs. Mikey Garcia
12 rounds, for Zlaticanin's WBC lightweight title
Remember when Garcia, who is still undefeated, was being touted as a potential top pound-for-pound fighter? He has the tools!


HBO Boxing
Indio, Calif.

Francisco Vargas vs. Miguel Berchelt
12 rounds, for Vargas' WBC junior lightweight title

Takashi Miura vs. Miguel "Mickey" Roman
12 rounds, junior lightweights


Johann Duhaupas vs. Carlos Takam
12 rounds, heavyweights



Adelaide, Australia

Anthony Mundine vs. Danny Green, rematch
10 rounds, light heavwyeights
This should be interesting....


London, England

Renold Quinlan vs. Chris Eubank Jr.
12 rounds, super middleweights

David Price vs. Christian Hammer
10 or 12 rounds, heavyweights

Kid Galahad vs. TBA
12 rounds, featherweights

Adam Etches vs. John Ryder
10 or 12 rounds, middleweights


Toledo, Ohio
PBC on Bounce TV

Robert Easter Jr. vs. TBA
12 rounds, for Easter's IBF lightweight title

Rau'Shee Warren vs. TBA
12 rounds, for Warren's WBA bantamweight title


Miami, Okla

Ivan Baranchyk vs. Abel Ramos
10 rounds, junior welterweights

Trey Lippe-Morrison vs. TBA
6 rounds, heavyweights



Adrien Broner vs. Adrian Granados
10 or 12 rounds, junior welterweights
Once boxing's fastest rising star, can the charismatic Broner, a forgotten man of sorts, become red hot again.

Marcus Browne vs. Thomas Williams
10 rounds, light heavyweights

Jermell Charlo vs. Charles Hatley
12 rounds, for Charlo's WBC junior middleweight title


Wilmington, DE

Roy Jones Jr. vs. Bobby Gunn

12 rounds, cruiserweights (minor title)
Will this be the last hurrah for an all-time great?



Quebec City

Eleider Alvarez vs. Lucian Bute
12 rounds, light heavyweights


HBO Boxing PPV
Frisco, Texas

Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland
12 rounds, junior middleweights

Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Moises Flores
12 rounds, for Rigondeaux's WBA junior featherweight title

Birmingham, Ala.

Deontay Wilder vs. Andrzej Wawrzyk
12 rounds, for Wilder's WBC heavyweight title

Dominic Breazeale vs. Izuagbe Ugonoh
10 rounds, heavyweights

Travis Kauffman vs. Amir Mansour
10 rounds, heavyweights




Tony Bellew vs. David Haye
12 rounds, heavyweights
Is Bellew biting off more than he can chew?



Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia, 12 rounds
WBA/WBC welterweight unification
Easily one of the best match-ups in boxing in the last decade



New York 

Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs
12 rounds, for Golovkin's WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight title

David Lemieux vs. Curtis Stevens
12 rounds, middleweights


Manchester, England

Jorge Linares vs. Anthony Crolla, rematch
12 rounds, for Linares' WBA lightweight titlte


Dortmund, Germany

Mairis Briedis vs, Marco Huck
12 rounds, for vacant WBC interim cruiserweight title




Joseph Parker vs. TBA
12 rounds, for Parker's WBO heavyweight title




Glasgow, Scotland
Ricky Burns vs. Julius Indongo
WBA/IBF junior welterweight unification




Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn
12 rounds, for Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title



Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
12 rounds, for Joshua's IBF and vacant WBA heavyweight title

Dominic Breazeale vs. Artur Szpilka
10 rounds, heavyweights

Travis Kauffman vs. Amir Mansour
10 rounds, heavyweights

Adonis Stevenson vs. TBA
12 rounds, for Stevenson's WBC light heavyweight title



Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
12 rounds, super middleweights



]]> (Lee Cleveland) News Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:00:00 +0000
How Top Rank helped Golden Boy land ESPN deal How Top Rank helped Golden Boy land ESPN deal
Your enemy’s enemy is often your best ally.

On Thursday, it was announced that Golden Boy Promotions landed a 2-year 42 event deal with ESPN. The deal starts March 23.

The series will air on ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes, as well as ESPN3. According to ESPN, there is an option for a third year to air more events.

A lot of people thought this was not a possibility given Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions series had an exclusive deal with ESPN.

Quite quietly, that exclusivity provision was waived by the PBC last May as part of a settlement with Top Rank Promotions. Top Rank filed an 100 million dollar federal anti-trust lawsuit against the PBC in 2015 for alleged monopolistic practices as well as allegedly violating the Muhammad Ali Act.

This provision being eliminated allowed Golden Boy to partner with ESPN. This is quite ironic given the rivalry Golden Boy and Top Rank had for a number of years, but they have seemingly patched things up as of late.

The new "Golden Boy Boxing" series will likely feature a lot of up and coming talent as opposed to the big names on the Golden Boy roster such as Canelo Alvarez, Jorge Linarez, and Francisco Vargas. Those fighters will likely fight on HBO.

"You will definitely see competitive fights and fighters who are ready to be tested; fighters who will grow up on the ESPN platform and then be ready to move to the HBO platform."- Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said in a press release.

"We will have our top, top prospects going up against ex-world champions or prospects against prospects and contenders against contenders. This is not going to be by any means a series for us to use for fighters who just want to get a win. It'll be a series where our young fighters are ready to take on tougher challenges."

For Boxing, this is good news. The PBC has damaged the sport with there gorilla tactics of aquiring deals with almost every single sports network in the US.

HBO has slowed down considerably given their budget cuts and new PPV strategy.

When the PBC had the exclusive deals, there was almost no outlet for promotions like Golden Boy and Top Rank to air upcoming talent. They only had HBO and, as stated, the network is not as financially invested in boxing as it once was.

With the provision gone, that outlet now exists.

]]> (Mark Weber) News Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:17:51 +0000
'Tank' Davis: First big star of the post Mayweather-Pacquiao era? 'Tank' Davis: First big star of the post Mayweather-Pacquiao era?
In the post Mayweather/Pacquiao era, boxing is currently missing a mainstream superstar.

Some suspect that Terence Crawford may fill that void but there may be someone even better on the horizon, Mayweather Promotions' super featherweight Gervonta “Tank” Davis (16-0-0 15KOs).

The 22 year old is managed by Al Haymon and mentored closely by Floyd himself.

When an aspiring, young fighter has arguably the best business mind in the sport managing his career and arguably the best fighter in recent history co-signing on his behalf, he undoubtedly has tremendous potential.

Despite being a super featherweight, Davis often draws comparisons to Mike Tyson for his aggression and the monster power shots he employs. And stylistically, Davis is actually a cross between Adrien Broner and Floyd Mayweather.

The young fighter has excellent defensive skills, utilizes the shoulder roll well and unleashes crackling power shots. In fact, he's stopped 15 of 16 opponents inside the distance.

Davis also has tremendous speed and strength for the division, similar to Broner when he campaigned at super featherweight. One wonders if Davis can maintain those advantages as he moves up in weight.

One criticism of Davis is that he seemingly too often relies solely on his power shots instead of utilizing a jab. Will that be an issue against elite opponents? It certainly has boded well for him so far.

Tonight, Davis fights for the IBF Super Featherweight world title at the Barclays center in Brooklyn against the unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-0-0 12KOs) in a bout to be broadcast live on Showtime. It will serve as Davis’s first opportunity to shine on the big stage and show the world exactly why Floyd Mayweather has taken such a great interest in this young fighter.

I suspect Davis will produce and action packed fight with plenty of fireworks for those attending and watching at home.

]]> (Dion Hall) News Sat, 14 Jan 2017 21:00:01 +0000
DeGale vs Jack prediction: You don't know Jack DeGale vs Jack prediction: You don't know Jack

Born Johannes Gabriel Badou Nyberg from a Gambian father and Swedish mother in Sweden, Badou Jack, now living in the U.S., may have fans all over the globe watching his presumed foray into boxing stardom.

(Image courtesy of Sky Sports)

Currently the WBC Super Middleweight Champion, Jack will face his IBF counterpart, James DeGale, a former Olympic Gold Medal winner from the United Kingdom, on Saturday.

The winner of DeGale vs Jack, of course, will be heralded as the unofficial ruler of the division.

Oddmakers list DeGale as the favorite but most of the indicators suggest Badou Jack has the clear advantage. He possesses a deadly jab and can bang to the body well. Moreover, Jack's professional resume is as good if not better than his opponent's, despite the fact the former was knocked out several years ago on an off-night. 

A southpaw, DeGale has a lunging style that is tailor-made for an orthodox fighter with a potent jab like Badou Jack's.

Look for Jack to neutralize his foe with his amazing left jab.

DeGale is a worthy champion but are fans underestimating Badou Jack?

The Swedish-born fighter has good conditioning and has shown a lot of heart in fights past. And while he recently parted ways with Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, his previous longtime trainer, don't expect Jack to be ill-prepared or lack confidence. In fact, Eddie's absence may serve Badou well in the ring.

Prediction: Jack wins via a wide, unanimous decision in an entertaining bout.

Share your forecast.

Badou Jack highlights

]]> (Bernard Campbell) News Wed, 11 Jan 2017 22:27:05 +0000
James DeGale vs. Badou Jack odds James DeGale vs. Badou Jack odds
Next Saturday, super middleweights James DeGale (23-1, 14 KO) and Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12KO) collide for division supremacy.

At this moment, most oddsmakers have DeGale as a rough -300 favorite and Jack the +250 underdog. Hence, a Jack win certainly wouldn't be a major upset.

(Image courtesy of SkySports)

Those who favor DeGale believe the Brit has faced and beaten deep opposition than Jack. Moreover, DeGale is unbeaten is the eyes of some because his only loss is a controversial majority decision verdict to George Groves. Jack, on the other hand, drew against Lucian Bute last April and his last three bouts have been split or majority decisions. In addition, he was surprisingly knocked out in 2013.

DeGale is believed to be the more well-rounded, more consistent, less emotional fighter than Jack who is believed to be the more vulnerable defensively.

All-star fight trainer Ronnie Shields told FightSaga in 2015, "When a fighter heads into a crucial match-up at this level, emotion is usually your enemy and will often result in mistakes in the ring."

DeGale vs Jack
Date: Saturday, January 14, 2017
Location: Barclays Center, NYC
TV: Showtime

The Brit was an even slimmer favorite heading into his May 2015 bout with Andre Dirrell which was broadcast on national TV. According to most Race and Sports Books, DeGale was the slight betting favorite, coming in at (-110), while Dirrell sat at (+100).

In that bout, DeGale floored Dirrell twice in the second round, each time with overhand lefts, en route to a close but unanimous decision win. Without that emphatic Round 2, however, the fight would have been a draw or Dirrell would have won as two of the three judges scored it 114-112 for DeGale. The third had DeGale winning more comfortably at 117-109.

Regardless of who is victorious on Saturday, the winner should receive a tremendous career boost, and may be in-line for a high-stakes superfight with unbeaten middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.


DeGale vs Dirrell 2015 Highlights (3.09)

]]> (Lee Cleveland) News Tue, 10 Jan 2017 04:00:00 +0000
Jack vs DeGale: Super middleweight supremacy on the line Jack vs DeGale: Super middleweight supremacy on the line
In the super middleweight division's post Andre Ward era, James “Chunky” DeGale (23-1-0 14 KOs) will go to battle with Mayweather promotions' Badou “The Ripper” Jack (20-1-2 12 KOs).

The winner will determine super middleweight supremacy.

Jack vs DeGale will take place in the new hot bed for boxing, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Up for grabs will be the IBF, WBC, and RING Magazine (lineal) super middleweight straps.'

A lot is at-stake for both fighters as the winner may become a mainstream star, or take a giant step closer to becoming one.

Not only are multiple belts on the line, the victor will position himself for possible high-profile superfights with the likes of Andre Ward or Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

Back to staus quo

Its has been awhile since a European-born fighter has reigned supreme in the super middleweight division. The weight class was once a European stronghold with Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Welsh fighter Joe Calzaghe, all of which were kingpins at some point.

Given DeGale is from Great Britain and Badou Jack was born in Sweden, the 168-pound division will once again be ruled by a fighter born in Europe.

DeGale, of course, represented Great Britain in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing taking home the gold as a middleweight. He was the first fighter in British history to win a gold medal as an amateur and a world title as a professional. And Jack was a star in Sweden as an amateur, winning Sweden’s national championship five years in a row. And in 2008, Jack qualified for the Olympics at Middleweight representing his father's native Gambia.

Heading into the bout, the fight is fairly even with the fighters possessing nearly the same height and reach as well as comparable amateur and professional experience. This may be as close to a 50/50 fight as it gets.

But unlike DeGale, Jack has been knocked out before. He also has two draws on his record, one of which came against a common opponent, Marco Antonio Periban, who DeGale defeated by TKO.

Jack has a reputation of being a bit slow and methodical. As a result, if DeGale can maintain a high work rate, it would certainly be to his advantage. For Jack to come out on top, he'll need to make good use of a jab and use that punch to good effect to set-up other shots. If Jack allows DeGale to set the pace, he is going to be in for a long night.

Jack vs DeGale will be broadcast on Showtime in the U.S. on January 14th, and the winner will be crowned king of the super middleweights.

]]> (Dion Hall) News Fri, 06 Jan 2017 16:20:38 +0000
Cotto vs Kirkland PPV cost bumped down Cotto vs Kirkland PPV cost bumped down
Fans will be happy to know the cost for Miguel Cotto vs James Kirkland on February 25th will be $15 to $20 USD cheaper than the typical boxing the pay-per-view (PPV) event in the U.S.

Michael Yormark, president of Cotto's promotional company, RocNation, told earlier this week:

“Let me also say that we’ve priced this fight very attractively, very attractively – $49.95 (for Standard Definition)."

"We listened to consumers. We heard what they wanted to see. HBO heard what they wanted to see. And that’s why we’ve priced it, again, at a very attractive $49.95, which is a great value proposition when you think about what this fight is going to be."

Given both fighters lost to Canelo Alvarez in their most recent respective outing and the fact Kirkland has yet to defeat a truly elite opponent, many insist Cotto vs Kirkland isn't PPV worthy.

But Yormark disagrees, telling

"Miguel Cotto has been a pay-per-view fighter for a long time. As I mentioned, this will be his 10th fight. He is a pay-per-view fighter. This fight belongs on pay-per-view."

How manny PPV buys will Miguel Cotto vs James Kirkland yield?

Over the last 18 months, PPV prices have increased while casual fans' interest level has seemingly decreased. Quality match-ups, ever since Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao in Spring 2015, aren't generating the level of interest they deserve.

Below is a list of estimated PPV buys, post Mayweather vs Pacquiao in May 2015, based on various sources for recent fight cards.

  • Ward vs Kovalev - 175,000
  • Canelo vs Cotto - 900,000
  • Canelo vs Khan - 600,000
  • Mayweather vs Berto - 400,000 to 500,000
  • Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 - 400,000 to 500,000
  • Canelo vs Smith 250,000 to 300,000
  • Golovkin vs Lemieux to 150,000

Round 1 of Kirkland vs Alfredo Angulo (2011) - One of the greatest rounds in jr middleweight history

]]> (Lee Cleveland) News Thu, 05 Jan 2017 22:46:09 +0000
Wladimir Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua odds: Perplexing or accurate? Wladimir Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua odds: Perplexing or accurate?
It's confirmed... IBF heavyweight belt holder Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KO) will face 40-year-old former dominant, long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KO) April 29.

Klitschko vs Joshua will serve as Wlad's first bout in 13 months, when his 10-year win streak and heavyweight title reign came to an end in unspectacular fashion.
Taller and with a longer reach, a spry 6'9" Tyson Fury outboxed Wlad over twelve dismal rounds.

Wladimir had been training for an October 29th rematch showdown with Fury but that bout was once again cancelled as Tyson is on a hiatus from boxing to focus on drug addiction recovery.

Given Fury's inactive status and the fact he's been stripped of his titles, the winner of Wladmir Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua will probably be viewed as the consensus heavyweight champion of the world.

So who do you like this fight?

WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder and former champ David Haye think Joshua's youth and athleticism will be too much for the 20-year-old presumably shopworn former champion but trainer Abel Sanchez, Gennady Golovkin's mentor, thinks Klitschko has the edge due to his vast experience iver his 24 year old foe.

What are the oddsmakers saying?

Klitschko vs Joshua odds

As of today (Oct 15) and according to, Joshua is 4 to 5 favorite while Wladimir, for the first time in years, is the underdog at 6 to 5.
Has Klitschko ever been an underdog? Perhaps this will be a first if it holds.

The odds: Accurate or perplexing?

A sure hall of famer, Wladimir Klitschko has faced better opponents and has made a successful living beating up top contenders, fight after fighter, year after year. Although not always entertaining, Klitschko was dominant throughout during most of his long reign as champion. In fact, Wladimir looked every bit of an all-time great in his prime when defeating Alex Leapai and Kubrat Pulev in 2014, not long ago.

Should he be the underdog?

Anthony Joshua is unbeaten and has looked superb but hasn't faced a fighter of Wlad's experience, athleticism and pedigree.

What are oddsmakers looking at?

At this moment, we know a lot more about Klitschko than we do Anthony Joshua. As a result, the odds are more reflective of Wlad than Anthony.

Despite his record of dominance, a 78 percent knockout ration and the fact he's lost only one fight in 10 years, rest-assured oddsmakers are placing a lot of emphasis on Wladimir Klitschko's last two performances coupled with his age.

Klitschko vs Jennings
His April 2015 win over Bryant Jennings was a bout only non-violence advocates and Greenpeace would appreciate. Left jab, hold...Clinch....Left jab, hold...Clinch.... Left jab, right hand, hold.

After being repeatedly by referee Michael Griffin for clinching, Wlad was finally deducted a point in the 10th but it didn't matter because Klitschko's lone jab was more than enough to secure the win because some semblance of offense trumps no offense.

Klitschko vs Fury
And in his most recent bout against Tyson Fury, it was the same ol' story... Hit, hug and hold. Actually, Wlad was far worse that night, landing a dreadful 52 punches and 8 power shots in the entire 12 rounds.

Only in the final round did Klitschko, who had been told by his trainer six rounds earlier he was blowing the match, take a chance and start to unleash some heat on his foe. But Wlad's efforts were too little, too late.

There was little sense of urgency nor creativity, and usually-careful Wladimir Klitschko took caution to another level. Not only did Wlad fall short, the world class hunger and courage showcased by legends like Ali, Marciano and Holyfield was nowhere to be found in Wlad's arsenal that night.

On paper, Wladimir Klitschko should be the favorite. And rational thinking suggests Anthony may not yet be ready for a fighter of Klitschko's experience and polish. But it's obvious oddsmakers think Wlad's dismal performances in 2015 are no coincidence and that they are reflective of a fighter who is on the downslide of his career.

]]> (Lee Cleveland) News Wed, 04 Jan 2017 04:00:00 +0000