Boxing Preview: Chris Oliver’s big-fight tips including Tyson Fury v Otto Wallin
The Tyson Fury show rolls back into Las Vegas on Saturday night as he continues his charm offensive on America by taking on Otto Wallin.
It is just over three months since his second-round stoppage of Tom Schwarz and, like the famous casinos in Sin City, Fury has the odds very much stacked in his favour as he returns to the gambling capital of the world. You can’t get better than 1/25 for the so-called lineal heavyweight champion to register a 29th career victory, and you won’t find many people lining up to take 16/1 available about the Swede causing the upset.
‘Otto who?’ was the response from most fans when the fight was announced, and Fury has come in for plenty of criticism since.
Taking the Deontay Wilder fight so soon into his remarkable comeback last December and coming out on top in the eyes of most observers earned the former champion a huge amout of goodwill with the fans, so he was forgiven for selecting the overmatched Schwarz for his Vegas debut in June. However, we were promised a better opponent next time out following his demolition job on the German and, while Wallin is a step up, it is only small one.
While he boasts a perfect 20-fight record, Wallin hasn’t mixed with anyone near world-level and arguably his best win, a 10-round decision over countryman Adrian Granat in April last year, isn’t much to shout about given that the latter was stopped inside a round by Alexander Dimitrenko 13 months earlier.
He also lacks recent rounds, as his sole outing since that victory was declared a no contest in the opening stanza when Nick Kisner was cut by an accidental headbutt. He is a southpaw and stands at around 6’6″, though, so may be tall and awkward, and we are told that is why he was chosen as he will be good preparation for Fury’s slated return with Wilder in February.
This isn’t a straightforward fight to find an angle into from a punting point of view, but it should come down to how, not if, you think Fury is going to win.
The ‘Gypsy King’ will probably be looking to make a statement with that rematch with the WBC champion looming, just as he did when adopting a much more aggressive approach last time out and really ‘putting it on’ Schwarz.
With that in mind, many who fancy him to get another stoppage, which is just 1/3, will be looking at the 7/5 available for Englishman to get it done before the halfway mark.
However, while a Fury win towards the back end of that range of 1-6 rounds is possible, I am not convinced the man who has made his career out of outboxing the big men and making them miss is suddenly going to become a seek-and-destroy type of heavyweight.
Wallin’s left-handed stance could make Fury think enough for this to go a few rounds, and he went the distance when he last faced a southpaw in the shape of limited Italian Francesco Pianeta in the summer of 2018.
The underdog is unlikely to pose Fury too many problems but he looks to have enough about him to make it to at least the middle rounds, so a second half stoppage for the favourite makes more appeal at 15/8.
Thankfully the undercard offers some much more competitive action with two good match-ups at the lower weights raising the curtain before the giants in the main event.
Emanuel Navarrete is expected to justify short odds by successfully defending his WBO super bantamweight title against Juan Miguel Elorde, but the one that really interests me is Jose Pedraza versus Jose Zepeda up at light welterweight.
A two-weight world champion, Pedraza has set his sights on making that three now up at 140lb and a win here should put him in the mix for a title shot. However, Zepeda pushed unified champion Jose Carlos Ramirez to a close decision earlier in the year and brings plenty of firepower to the party.
Both men have two losses on their record and they all came in world title fights, but, perhaps crucially, Pedraza had captured belts before those defeats while Zepeda is still searching for a first strap at world level. The key piece of form here looks to be Pedraza’s defeat to the great Vasyl Lomachenko last December, when the Puerto Rican gave the pound-for-pound king plenty to think about on the way to a points defeat. That fight was very competitive until Lomachenko pulled away late on and picking up a few rounds off the brilliant Ukrainian is considered a success.
In a classic boxer versus puncher contest, it is even-money the pair (best prices) and this could be the fight of the night, but I fancy the skills of Pedraza to negate the power of the Californian. He bounced back from that lightweight title loss with a good stoppage win over Ines Antonio Lozada Torres in May and has the frame to suggest this step up in weight shouldn’t be an issue. A classy switch-hitter, he can keep this long and outbox Zepeda for long periods to pick up a victory on the cards, which makes plenty of appeal at 7/4.
Posted at 0930 BST on 13/09/19