This weekend, boxing is returning to national television. Once the biggest sport in the United States, the fight game is responsible for producing the country’s first superstar athletes and million-dollar sporting events. Even after a century of malfeasance by promoters and sanctioning bodies, prizefighting still has a way of attracting attention like no other pastime.
Betting on boxing has also played a huge role in the sport since those primitive years of sanctioned boxing.
For the sake of tradition, what follows is your guide to betting on boxing in the second weekend of March. This includes two premium picks, categorized into “dime” and “nickel” plays.
The dime play is the premium play of the week: picking out the biggest miscalculations by the bookies for almost guaranteed outcomes. Nickel plays are less valuable and should not be wagered on as aggressively.
Porter-Ugas fight the entire distance (-350, 5dimes) and Efe Ajagba in under 4.5 rounds (-130, 5dimes)
Together, a $50 bet wins $64 ($114 payout)
Going the distance
Set to air on FOX, Shawn Porter (29-2, 17 KO) and Yordenis Ugas (23-3-, 11 KO) are headlining the biggest fight of the weekend. Picking a winner is difficult as world-level matchmaking should be. But no matter who gets the better of the other this weekend, smart money is on this one going the full 12 rounds.
Porter is remains the betting favorite, currently -250 after opening at nearly twice that (-625). Ugas’ recent string of victories have convinced the betting public to push those odds closer, now +265 to pull one over on the defending welterweight champion.
In 2018, Ugas became the first man to stop Ray Robinson, but he’s recorded just 11 knockouts in his 26-fight career. A 2016 loss to Amir Imam forced the former Olympian to inject some venom into his game so he is no longer the standard Cuban prizefighter, proving he can not only sit on his punches but also turn in a tear up like he did against Thomas Dulorme. He still doesn’t have the clubbing ability to take out Porter. Nobody has ever knocked out the American.
Interestingly enough, Ugas stepped in for Porter against Dulorme. That night Ugas survived a late charge so he won’t be so easily taken out either. Porter’s only stopped two men in his last seven fights, in his career hearing the final bell nearly as many times as he hasn’t.
Hands of time
In 2018, Efe Ajagba (8-0, 7 KO) was the talk of the town after his opponent tucked tail and ran out of the ring immediately following the opening bell. But the dropout had good reason as Ajagba is a killing machine in leather gloves. After an appearance in the 2016 Olympic games, only one opponent has made it out of Round 1. On the PBC on FOX undercard, he will look to add Amir Mansour to his growing resume.
At this point, the 46-year-old Mansour is used to being fed to heavyweight upstarts. He was chewed up and spit out by Filip Hrgovic last year, lasting all of eight minutes. The three-round beating was so bad it looked like the end of the road for a man pushing 50 years old.
Surprising as it is that a fight between Mansour and another colossal hitter was even sanctioned, a price of -130 for Ajagba to take care of business in under five rounds is more unbelievable.
Duboi inside the distance (-385, 5dimes) and Yarde inside the distance (-450, 5dimes)
Together, a $25 bet wins $13.50 ($38.50 payout)
This parlay relies on the powerful hands of two dynamite hitters.
To start, Yarde (17-0, 16 KO) and Duboi (9-0, 8 KO) are Frank Warren’s hottest prospects. There was no question the young Englishmen would help bolster Queensberry Promotions’ return to the Royal Albert Hall. Both may be gigantic betting favorites—each coming in at -10,000—but banking on impending knockouts drive that price way down.
Between the both of them, just two fights have gone the full distance.
Yarde is just -450 to score a KO. Note, his opponent Travis Reeves is being drastically underestimated. The 38-year-old American can fight both outside and inside, takes and receives a punch well, and is constantly improving after a really late start to the game. But Yarde is still a ferocious puncher. If a future title fight with Sergey Kovalev hasn’t swayed his focus, a knockout here will send a strong message and line some pockets.
Dubois’ opponent is also against steep odds. Razvan Cojanu is more recognizable than Yarde’s dance partner, receiving airtime on Showtime and ESPN+ against the creme da la creme of the heavyweight class. But he’s already been finished twice in his career. Dubois certainly has the pedigree and devastating fists to do the same. A deal like -350 to win inside the distance is too sweet to pass up.