This weekend offers one of the most exciting weekends of boxing action since the COVID-19 pandemic began! Brent Hedtke – internationally-renowned boxing writer and our resident Professor of Pugilism – is here to break down the fights ahead and provide his picks and analysis to help you make better bets.
Brent will be giving his analysis for Total Sports Picks on a regular basis, so make sure to check out our Boxing Betting Picks page for updates!
Boxing Betting Picks, Saturday August 22
Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin
Whyte and Povetkin both live and operate in the heavyweight division’s upper-middle class, though admittedly heading in slightly different directions. Povetkin will be 41 years old in a matter of weeks whereas Whyte is nearly a decade younger at 32. Between the two they have a combined three defeats in almost 25 years of professional boxing, each suffering a loss to British superstar Anthony Joshua coupled with a Povetkin KO loss to future hall of famer, Wladimir Klitschko. Point being, these are two equally matched fighters who only lose to the best of the best.
Age is going to be a factor here, as it always is in boxing. You’re in your prime right up until the moment you aren’t, and then the bottom falls out. I don’t anticipate that happening to Povetkin in this fight but a Whyte victory feels pretty assured here. He’s younger, stronger and has more to gain (and lose) from this fight. However, neither are what you’d traditionally refer to as homerun hitters. Whyte and Povetkin share nearly identical KO ratios of 64% and 63%, respectively. Anything can happen in heavyweight boxing but the chances of a stoppage here feel unlikely. Expect this to go the distance with Whyte’s hand being raised at the conclusion. The fact that it’s in the UK won’t hurt either.
Eleider Alvarez vs Joe Smith Jr.
Anything can happen when Joe Smith Jr. is in a boxing ring. He can send your mouthpiece helicoptering into the tenth row or he can be outboxed for every second of a fight. He flattened respected Polish tough guy Andrezj Fonfara in one brutal round, sent the legendary Bernard Hopkins through the ring ropes and into retirement while also losing near shutout decisions to Dmitry Bivol and Sullivan Barrera. He’s boxing’s corporeal box of chocolates.
Eleider Alvarez is the favorite to win here and that feels right. Alvarez is more skilled, more experienced and has a higher ceiling than does Smith Jr. As we said earlier though, all bets are off (no pun intended) when Joe Smith Jr. is in the ring. He’s always in shape, always works hard and if he catches someone right, they go. This may turn into a glorified sparring session, and we’ll know right away if it’s going to, but a Smith Jr. KO here is very possible given his history and punching power.
Katie Taylor vs Delfine Persoon
When these two first fought in June of 2019, it was far closer than most fans were anticipating. A majority decision was awarded to Taylor but there was a large, and very vocal, subset of fans who felt Persoon may have gotten shortchanged. There’s no doubt she has earned this rematch and a chance to set the record straight.
Unfortunately for Delfine Persoon, that first scrap felt like one of those nights where she had to fight the fight of her life while Taylor may have been just slightly off. That’s not a knock on Persoon either, just a testament to the vast skill set of Katie Taylor. Like Whyte and Povetkin, neither of these women are power punchers in the traditional sense, with each sporting sub-40% KO ratios. If Taylor is on her game – there is nothing to suggest she won’t be – we can expect her to cruise to an easier victory than last time with both women once again finishing upright.
Tim Tszyu vs Jeff Horn
Classic crossroads fight, and an all-Australian one to boot! The jury is still out on young Tim Tszyu as far as where he truly stands in the sport. Sensational knockouts and highlight reel performances have reminded many of his legendary father, Kostya and it’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of another Tzsyu dominating boxing’s lower weight landscape. The problem is, in boxing, all things are relative. All 15 of his professional contests have taken place in Australia against competition that aren’t exactly household names. How he’ll fare against a true professional is the giant elephant in the room here.
That elephant comes in the form of fellow Australian Jeff Horn. Most famous for a largely disputed victory over Manny Pacquiao back in 2017, Horn is no stranger to being the underdog. Losses to pound for pound star Terrence Crawford and Michael Zerafa (since avenged) have given Horn invaluable experience at or near the top of this division. It’s hard to see Tszyu showing him anything he hasn’t seen before. A full-on blitzing at the hands of Tim Tszyu is a possibility but expect Horn to remain solid and steady, if unimpressive on his way to victory.
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