Let’s get right into it, this week’s Betting Boxing picks.
As usual odds are courtesy of SugarHouse Casino unless otherwise noted.
Andy Ruiz vs. Chris Arreola, 05/01/2021
Former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) makes his first return to the ring since losing his titles to Anthony Joshua in December of 2019 to face long time contender Chris Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs). This fight will take place at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA and headline a FOX PPV event.
As of this writing Ruiz is listed as a very sizable favorite coming in at -2000. Arreola can be had for the underdog price tag of +900. The over/under is set at 6 ½ rounds with the over sitting at -110 and the under at -125 (per William Hill).
First off, let’s get this part out of the way. Ruiz is coming off an unmotivated and uninspired effort his last time out against Joshua. There is no world in which I would lay -2000 on a fighter coming off such a performance regardless of opponent.
So the question here is whether or not Arreola is worth a flyer at +900?
Here is how things look on paper. Ruiz is the fresher fighter. Arreola has been involved in numerous ring wars throughout his 17 plus year career. There is no doubt Arreola has seen his better days. And I didn’t even mention yet the many battles with the scale Arreola also encountered during his career.
Ruiz has the quicker hands and the better defense. Arreola frankly has never learned how to slip a punch whereas Ruiz has at least some semblance of an ability to do so. As far as chins go, I think Ruiz’ is much sturdier than Arreola’s. Punching power wise is also probably a slight edge to Ruiz.
So essentially all the boxes check in favor of Ruiz. This is why he is such a big favorite. So am I staying away from Arreola? Well, not necessarily.
There is one key intangible that is tough to quantify but in which Arreola probably holds the edge. And that is the will to win. We know Arreola has heart and brings it every time even if outgunned in the ring. He is going to fight to win until either he is out on his shield or the final bell rings.
Ruiz is coming off receiving two huge paydays in his pair of fights against Joshua. Where is Ruiz’ motivation? Yes, he is saying all the right things but if this turns into a fight how willing will Ruiz be to bite down on his mouthpiece and go to war? As someone once said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.
There is some historic precedence to what I am thinking here in regards to Ruiz’s mindset. Remember the comeback of James “Buster” Douglas? Ruiz’ performance against Joshua in their second fight drew plenty of comparisons to that of Douglas’ when he lost his heavyweight title against Evander Holyfield. When Douglas returned all was well and good until he faced just the least bit of resistance. He looked bad in a fight against journeyman Louis Monaco and then was utterly destroyed in a fight he was expected to coast against Lou Savarese.
Despite the fact that all the boxes check in favor of Ruiz I will have a small play on Arreola in case we see a repeat of Douglas-Savarese. As for the over/under I am going to pass as I simply do not have a strong feeling one way or the other.
Abel Ramos vs. Omar Figueroa Jr., 05/01/2021
Abel Ramos (26-4-2, 20 KO’s) will take on Omar Figueroa Jr. (28-1-1, 19 KO’s) in a pivotal welterweight crossroads fight on the PPV undercard of Ruiz-Arreola. The bout is scheduled for twelve rounds.
As of this writing Ramos checks in as the -175 favorite whereas Figueroa can be had for +135.
A few things stand out to me when initially breaking down this fight. First, Ramos has been the much more active fighter. Since 2015 Ramos has had 20 fights compared to just 5 fights for Figueroa.
It’s good to be active and even better to be having success while having an active ring career. Prior to dropping a split decision his last time out to Yordenis Ugas, Ramos had been on an eight fight winning streak.
Figueroa is also coming off a loss to Ugas. Frankly Figueroa was not competitive in that fight. Going back some time, Figueroa had also struggled with the likes of Ricky Burns and Antonio DeMarco. Yes, both Burns and DeMarco are solid pros but much more was expected out of Figueroa in those fights.
In a roundabout way what I am saying here is that Ramos appears to be getting better while Figueroa appears to be headed on a steep downward trajectory in his career.
Second point to mention is Ramos is naturally the bigger man. He fought the first part of his career at 140 before moving to welterweight. Figueroa fought the majority of his career at lightweight before just recently moving up to 140 and later welterweight.
This is important to note because Figueroa must get Ramos’ respect to have a chance in this fight. Ramos is a pressure fighter and will keep coming if he has nothing to fear from his opponent.
If Ramos, who has shown to have an excellent chin, feels the smaller Figueroa can’t hurt him there will be nothing Figueroa can do to keep Ramos from pressing forward throwing hard punches. And we all know Figueroa’s defense is nonexistent.
This fight screams a one sided beat down in favor of Ramos. I love the price at -175 and won’t be afraid to toss him in a parlay or two as well.
Joseph Parker vs. Dereck Chisora, 05/01/2021
In a crucial heavyweight crossroads fight, former WBO heavyweight belt holder Joseph Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) will take on long time contender Dereck Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs). The bout will take place at the Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom and be broadcast by DAZN in the United States.
As of this writing Parker is installed as the -182 favorite whereas Chisora can be had for +150. The over/under is set at 10 ½ rounds with the over coming in at -167 and the under at +125.
I am going to put my handicapping skills on display for a moment. If this fight were to take place in Parker’s home country of New Zealand I’d guess he’d come in north of -300. If this fight were to take place in say the United States I’d guess Parker settles in somewhere between -230 and -265. But with the fight taking place in Chisora’s backyard the odds are certainly tilted.
My first instinct when I heard about this fight was that Parker could coast using just his left jab alone. Parker possesses a very solid well timed left jab and does have a height as well as reach advantage. Chisora must find a way to navigate inside that left jab of Parker’s and well that will be much easier said than done.
We all know Chisora wants to go to “War.” That is of course his nickname. But he has been out boxed by fighters who frankly do not have near the skillset of Parker’s. Anyone who doubts me just needs to go back and watch Chisora’s performance against Agit Kabayel in 2017.
Parker also has not been thru the multitude of ring wars that Chisora has in his long career.
So is there any concern with Parker getting a fair shake in the eyes of the judges? I have to mention it but it’s not a big enough of a concern to sway me off wagering on Parker.
Chisora does have a puncher’s chance. But that’s about it in my opinion. The pick is Parker for me and I do also like the over 10 ½ rounds.
There is a lot of boxing this week. I don’t want to write a novel covering all the fights so here are some quick thoughts on some other key bouts.
Michael Conlan (-400) vs. Ionut Baluta (+300) – Baluta can best be compared to that pesky hitter in baseball who hits a lot of singles and draws a lot of walks. This is not a walk in the park for Conlan and I can see Baluta frustrating him in spots with his awkward style. Ultimately though its Conlan is the much classier fighter and should figure out a way to win.
Moruti Mthalane (-152) vs. Sunny Edwards (+125) – This is a tricky one. First off I like Mthalane here but worry about the judging in Edwards’ backyard. Yes I know earlier I said I wasn’t worried that as much in Parker-Chisora but this one could be different. Edwards could keep the rounds close enough to sway the judges into giving him some rounds that maybe they shouldn’t. I am going to stick with my gut here though on Mthalane (see him in action below).
Katie Taylor (-560) vs. Natasha Jones (+400) – Jones is solid but Taylor just does everything better. She makes for an intriguing parlay piece with Conlan.
Arreola win – $5 (would win $45)
Parker win – $10 (would win $5.49)
Ramos win – $10 (would win $5.71)
Mthalane win – $10 (would win $6.58)
Parker/Ramos parlay – $5 (would win $7.17)
Parker/Ramos/Taylor/Conlan parlay – $6 (would win $16.23)
Last Week's Wager: As always in an effort to maintain full transparency I will recap the results from last week’s picks. Below was the final ticket.
Navarrete-Diaz Under 9 ½ rounds – $16.50 (would win $15)
Berlanga Win Rd 3 – $7 (would win $49)
Berlanga Win Rd 4 – $5 (would win $80)
Felix Cash Win – $15 (would win $6.61)
Felix Cash Win/Navarrete-Diaz Under parlay – $5 (would win $8.75)
Sigh. It was a close call for a couple of picks but only Felix Cash netted us a win.
I really thought Navarrete had Diaz on a couple occasions for that under to cash. First in the fourth round when Navarrete scored a vicious knockdown and later in the 8th round when Navarrete had Diaz on the canvas on two occasions. But “Pitufo” was as tough as they come and just wouldn’t give up. All credit to him as he fought inspired and gave those who watched a night we’ll never forgot despite falling short in the end.
Berlanga had Nicholson in trouble in the second and I thought when the bell rung to end that round that we’d have a winning ticket one way or the other. But Nicholson proved to have a sturdy set of whiskers and did what most thought he couldn’t in going the full eight with Berlanga. In hindsight I should have gone the more conservative route here with the over 1.5 rounds instead of trying to juice things up with the round props.
Felix Cash is good and getting better. That was a much more dominating performance than I anticipated. Get him on your radar now because he has a bright future.
So we started the week with $964.55 and dropped another $26.89. That takes the new total to $937.66. I am extremely confident things will turn around but also this is a good time to remind everyone to manage strict bankroll management when wagering.
Good luck to everyone.